Associate Director of Collections
New York, NY Exhibitions and Collections
Job Type

Department: Exhibitions and Collection

Schedule: Full-time 

Reports To: Senior Curator, Director of Exhibitions and Collections

Job Grade: 6

The International Center of Photography (ICP) is the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture. Through our exhibitions, education, public programs, and community outreach, we offer an open forum for dialogue about the power of the image. Since our founding in 1974, we have presented more than 700 exhibitions and offered thousands of classes, providing instruction at every level. Our new integrated center on the Lower East Side reunites our school and museum in one space to become the cultural anchor of Essex Crossing.

Position Summary

At the direction of the Senior Curator, the Associate Director of Collections has direct responsibility for the management, preservation, and research of the ICP Permanent Collection. The Associate Director of Collections is primarily responsible for managing the collection's care, description, cataloging, and promotion. They will manage the collection’s documentation, digitization, archives, conservation, storage, image rights and reproduction, security, database management, insurance, environmental monitoring of facilities and objects, loans, and other collections-related paperwork. Requires significant interaction with ICP staff, outside organizations, artists, and vendors. This position requires a deep understanding of museum best practices, collection management standards, and a passion for photography, as well as the ability to explore innovative approaches to collections management and access and an eagerness to adapt to changes in the museum and photographic field, technological advancements, and to help evolve best practices. Requires occasional evenings and weekends.

Essential Functions and Duties:

Collection Management

  • Develop and implement policies and procedures for the acquisition, cataloging, documentation, and deaccessioning of museum collections.
  • Collaborate with curators and contract conservators on occasion to ensure collections are accessible for research, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Collection Development and Planning:

  • Develop long-term collection strategies and acquisition plans in alignment with the museum's mission, goals, and areas of focus.
  • Identify opportunities for the collection, including long-term loans, inter-institutional collaborations, and traveling exhibition exhibitions. 
  • With Senior Curator, evaluate potential acquisitions and donations, assessing their relevance to the museum's mission, collections, and ethical guidelines with the overall goal of diversifying the collection.
  • Manage the deaccessioning process, ensuring compliance with ethical and legal standards and transparent communication with stakeholders.

Exhibition and Interpretation:

  • Collaborate with exhibition teams to select and interpret objects for exhibitions, ensuring accuracy, relevance, and audience engagement.
  • Collaborate with the school team on class visits, curriculum development, and course offerings related to the collection. 

Direct Collections management 

  • Maintain the Museum’s collection management system (TMS Collections), which includes creating and maintaining administrative and user documentation for the software, managing user access, and training staff and interns on using the system.
  • In consultation with the Senior Curator, establishes goals for the physical organization of the holdings, manages organizational schema, supervises any interns and others in item and box level organization, and completes item-level inventory.
  • Monitor environmental conditions in all collection spaces, including RH & temperature, and correspond with Facilities concerning problems and/or cleaning needs.
  • Takes the lead in cataloging or supervising cataloging and preparing descriptive finding aids for the permanent collections.
  • In coordination with the Curatorial Assistant, work with outside researchers by answering questions about the collection via written, oral, or electronic correspondence. 
  • Clear requests for major or unusual use of Archive material (such as monograph publications or use in advertising) with the Senior Curator. 
  • Maintain Museum disaster plan, IPM, and facility reports.
  • Responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations pertaining to collections and collecting activities.
  • Facilitate access to collections for ICP curators, staff, and faculty, as well as researchers, scholars, and students, and support scholarly publications and exhibitions.
  • Facilitate and recommend conservation and repair of objects as needed.
  • Manage interns or work-study students working on collection projects, handling research, and digitizing data.
  • Monitor the Museum’s collection budget, including ordering supplies and tools.


In coordination with the Registrar, oversee the following: 

  • Prepare incoming/outgoing loans and condition reports for all collections.
  • Coordinate and manage documentation for deeds of gifts, bequests, and donations.
  • Monitor and maintain all loan documents, including agreements, insurance, facility, and condition reports.
  • Prepare documentation and provenance for new accessions and research documentation for de-accessioning.
  • Responsible for the handling and care of the art collection and loaned art objects

Additional Duties 

  • Conduct research to support budget expense proposals.
  • Codes bills and other invoices associated with collection expenses or income. 
  • Work with the Exhibitions Production Manager and Curators to document and prepare works for Museum exhibitions and loans.
  • Work closely with the Development Department to secure and manage grant funds and other extramural support for the collections.

Supervisory Responsibilities: 

  • Registrar

Preferred Qualifications:

ICP is committed to equal-opportunity employment. We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are values that are integral to offering an open forum for dialogue around photography and visual culture that is open to all. Through this lens, we hope to engage, educate, and inspire our visitors, students, and the 

community at large. We welcome candidates from diverse backgrounds and look forward to receiving your application.

Education Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in art, art history, or museum studies, arts administration, and collection management preferred. 

Experience Qualifications:

  • At least five (5) years of museum experience in curatorial or collections management with a specialization in photography.

Competency Requirements:

Expertise in Collections Management:

  • Demonstrated proficiency in developing and implementing collections management policies and procedures.
  • Ability to oversee the acquisition, cataloging, documentation, and conservation of museum collections.

Strategic Planning and Vision:

  • Strategic thinking skills to develop long-term collection strategies aligned with the museum's mission and goals.
  • Visionary leadership to identify opportunities for collection growth, diversification, and innovation.

Subject Matter Expertise:

  • Knowledge of art history, material culture, or relevant disciplines to contribute to the selection and interpretation of collection objects for exhibitions and educational programs.
  • Ability to conduct research on collection items, provenance, and historical context.

Communication and Collaboration:

  • Excellent communication skills to effectively convey complex ideas and information to diverse stakeholders, including staff, donors, scholars, and the public.
  • Ability to collaborate with cross-functional teams, including curators, educators, conservators, and external partners.

Project Management:

  • Proficiency in project management principles and practices to oversee collections-related initiatives, exhibitions, and research projects.
  • Capacity to manage budgets, resources, and timelines effectively.

Ethical and Legal Compliance:

  • Thorough understanding of ethical standards and legal requirements governing collections management, including acquisition, deaccessioning, repatriation, and intellectual property rights.
  • Commitment to upholding ethical principles and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Innovation and Adaptability:

  • Creative thinking skills to explore innovative approaches to collections management, preservation, and access.
  • Ability to adapt to changes in the field of photography, technological advancements, and evolving best practices.

Problem-Solving and Decision-Making:

  • Capacity to address complex issues related to collections care, access, and interpretation.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI):

  • Dedication to promoting diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in collections practices, exhibitions, and programming.
  • Ability to integrate DEAI principles into all aspects of collections management and museum operations.

Working Conditions

Physical Demands: 

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 25 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. 
  • While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly required to sit and talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand and use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms.

Special Environmental Factors: (Nature of the work environment)

  • This position will work onsite between two ICP locations, the main building at 79 Essex and collection storage at Mana Contemporary, Jersey City. 

Compensation and Benefits

Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

ICP provides its staff with a generous benefits package featuring  medical, dental, life insurance, short- and long-term disability,  pre-tax transit  and flexible spending programs, and 403(b) pension  plan (see benefits summary here).

How to Apply

Please submit a resume and cover letter. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered

By submitting your application, you are agreeing to receive periodic emails from ICP regarding it programs, and exhibitions.

Salary Description
$80,000 to $85,000