Collections and Research Manager - Fair Lane: Home of Clara and Henry Ford

DEPARTMENT:      Preservation and Operations
REPORTS TO:         Director of Preservation and Operations
STATUS:  Full time

Salary Range: $45,000-50,000


This position will be provide the management and maintenance of the collections and archives at Fair Lane: Home of Clara and Henry Ford. This position will be responsible for managing the cleaning and care of collections pieces (both original and re-created), including the proper storage and use of collections objects. This position will be responsible for establishing new processes and procedures, such as a collections care manual, a disaster plan, and an environmental monitoring program. This person will oversee and manage the Fair Lane archives, including research and accession of archival materials. As part of the ongoing restoration project, this position will take the lead on research and contract management pertaining to the re-creation of furniture and furnishings. This position will coordinate and organize the move of all Fair Lane collections from its current off-site storage facility to a new storage facility, which they will oversee and maintain.

Responsibilities and Accountabilities

-Manage and coordinate facilities and conservation staff on the care and storage of all collections pieces, both historic and re-created
-Manage the Past Perfect database
-Establish, track, and log environmental monitoring system
-Oversee pest control program
-Develop and implement a collections management policy, including a housekeeping manual and disaster plan
-Work with the Preservation and Operations team to establish and implement a comprehensive cyclical maintenance plan
-Manage Fair Lane’s archives
-Oversee research of both institutional and historical archives
-Lead research for the re-creation and re-furnishing of the historic buildings including the Main House and the Garage/Power House
-Work with the Head of Conservation, Restoration Project Manager, and Director of Preservation and Operations to design, contract, and implement custom re-creations and acquisition of market comparables for the restoration and re-creation project
-Conduct research as needed for the restoration project, exhibits, and presentations
-Assist with exhibit development and interpretation
-Assist Development Department on grants and other select opportunities when research is needed
-Assist other departments with research as needed
-Assist with events, including conducting tours and directly interfacing with guests and visitors
-Reports directly to the Director of Preservation and Operations
-Other duties as assigned

Training, Education, and Abilities

-Bachelor’s degree in Museum Studies, History, Historic Preservation, Library Sciences, or closely related field; a Master’s degree with a concentration in collections management is preferable
-3-5 years in a museum or history-related field, preferably in a supervisory capacity
-Proficiency in Past Perfect software, Microsoft Office Suite, environmental monitoring processes
-Must have a strong research background and foundation in research methodology
-Must be organized and detail-oriented
-Ability to collaborate and multitask
-Excellent interpersonal and communication skills; ability to communicate effectively with visitors and staff, comfortable speaking in front of groups
-Shows initiative, good judgement, and the ability to work independently as well as in a team environment
-Must embrace a diverse and inclusive work environment where individual contribution is encouraged and valued

How to apply

Submit resume and cover letter to

Fair Lane is committed to creating a diverse environment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.


About Fair Lane: Home of Clara and Henry Ford

Fair Lane was the beloved home of Clara and Henry Ford from 1916 until their deaths in 1950 and 1947, respectively. The 56-room mansion and six story Power House served as their sanctuary and as their laboratory. Built on 1,300 acres of farmland, just miles from Clara and Henry’s birthplaces, most of the estate’s original structures stand today, including the main residence, the hydro-electric Power House and dam that supplied energy to the estate, the Greenhouse and Potting Shed for Clara’s extensive gardens, the Boathouse, and the stables. The home, one of the first historic sites to be designated a National Historic Landmark, has an eclectic mix of English castle and Prairie Style architecture, combining European grandeur and Midwestern charm. The grounds and original gardens were designed by the esteemed landscape architect Jens Jensen.

After Clara Ford’s death in 1950, Ford Motor Company acquired the estate from the Ford heirs and used it as the company’s first corporate archives and a conference center. In 1956, the company donated the home and 210 acres of land to the University of Michigan for the development of their Dearborn campus. The home was used for meetings, events, a restaurant, and tours until the University closed it in 2010. In 2013, the Estate became an independent nonprofit when the University transferred ownership of the home and 17.1 acres of land to the newly established Henry Ford Estate, Inc. Since that time, extensive restoration and conservation has been underway in anticipation of fully re-opening the estate in the future. Today, nearly 30,000 people visit Fair Lane primarily to enjoy the beautiful gardens and landscape while the buildings are closed to the public for restoration.

Fair Lane’s mission is to illuminate the lives of Clara and Henry Ford for our visitors through the preservation and re-imagination of their beloved estate—Fair Lane. The vision for the organization is to reimagine the role and relevance of an iconic American home. Inspired by the great impact of Clara and Henry Ford, still relevant today, visitors to Fair Lane will engage and connect in a personal and immersive way that inspires curiosity, creativity, innovation, and action.

Posted on 3/2/2020


Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721

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