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Resident Collections Fellow - Center for Collections and Research

Cranbrook Educational Community
United States, Michigan, Bloomfield Hills
June 07, 2023

Resident Collections Fellow - Center for Collections and Research

Fellowship Focus: Albert Kahn-Designed Cranbrook House and its Collection of Arts & Crafts and Early Twentieth-Century Furniture and Decorative Arts

Founded by philanthropists George and Ellen Booth in 1904, Cranbrook Educational Community is one of the world's leading centers of education, science, and art. Comprised of a graduate Academy of Art, contemporary Art Museum, Center for Collections and Research, House and Gardens, Institute of Science, and more than 1,600 students attending our Pre-K through 12 independent college preparatory Schools, Cranbrook welcomes thousands of visitors and students to its campus each year. Critics have called Cranbrook "the most enchanted and enchanting setting in America" and in 1989 it was designated a National Historic Landmark. The campus is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, about 20 miles north of downtown Detroit. For more information, please visit .

Launched in 2012, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research centralizes Cranbrook's 119-year story and offers intellectual engagement with its legacy. The Center is charged with the management and curatorial leadership of Cranbrook's historic architecture and Cultural Heritage Areas, including Cranbrook's three historic house-museums (Cranbrook House, Saarinen House, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House); its cultural landscapes, including the Cranbrook Japanese Garden; its campus-wide collection of Cultural Properties; the 2.5 million documents that comprise Cranbrook Archives; and providing programming and access to these buildings and collections for scholars and visitors from around the world. By preserving and interpreting the community's unparalleled landscape, architecture, collections, and archives, the Center provides memorable educational experiences and meaningful research opportunities for internal and external audiences.

The Center's offices are housed within both Cranbrook House and Cranbrook Art Museum, where the Center takes advantage of the state-of-the-art Collections Wing. The public operation of Cranbrook Archives, which is a key component of the Center, is located within the Collections Wing of the Art Museum. For more information, please visit the .

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

The Center's 2023-2025 Resident Collections Fellow is a unique opportunity for an emerging museum or historic house curator with a passion for decorative arts and architectural history to play a leading role in the preservation and interpretation of Cranbrook's diverse historic collections and built environment. This post-graduate fellowship, which provides a professional bridge to long-term curatorial careers, includes a modest apartment on Cranbrook's campus in a carriage house designed by Albert Kahn.

Reporting to the Center's Director and working closely with the Center's Curator, while also working collaboratively with the staff of the Center (notably the registrar and archivists) as well as the staffs of Cranbrook's Art Museum, Institute of Science, and Schools, and the volunteers of Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary, the Collections Fellow researches collections and assists with the development of their documentation, accessioning, storage, care, conservation, and inventory, as well as their display and interpretation within the context of Cranbrook House (the founders' 1908 Albert Kahn-designed manor home), Saarinen House (Eliel Saarinen's 1930 Art Deco masterwork), and Smith House (a 1950 Usonian house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright); develops and organizes collections-based educational programs for Cranbrook Schools; develops lectures and tours for regional audiences, including the Center's popular Day Away bus tours; assists with visiting researchers; develops the representation of the Center's collections and programs on the Center's website; writes blogs and works with the Curator to edit the Center's blog ("Cranbrook Kitchen Sink"); assists with fundraisers; and provides private tours of the campus, including Cranbrook House, Saarinen House, and Smith House.

The Center's 2023-2025 Resident Collections Fellow will focus on researching the furniture, decorative arts, and fine art collections housed in Cranbrook House, the original home of Cranbrook co-founders, newspaper publishers and philanthropists George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth. Designed by Detroit-based architect Albert Kahn and built in stages between 1908 and 1920, the Tudoresque home and surrounding grounds are replete with custom-designed furnishings and decorative arts. From entrance gates forged by Samuel Yellin to the oak overmantel in the library carved by John Kirchmayer, the house exemplifies the ideals of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Building on a solid foundation of existing research, the 2023-2025 Resident Collection Fellow's work in Cranbrook House will culminate in a definitive inventory and documentation of these collections and their representation on the Center's new eMuseum website, a Furnishings Plan, an updated tour script for the volunteer docents that work with Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary, and a booklet or similar publication on Cranbrook House and its collections. This work will be enriched by a series of small exhibitions located within Cranbrook House.

The 2023-2025 Resident Collections Fellow also will be involved in several other major Center projects: the development of plans to restore and expand a 1925 Albert Kahn-designed home on Cranbrook's campus into the new home of the Center and Archives; the rehabilitation of Cranbrook's 1915 Japanese Garden; and the continued documentation of the Center's campus-wide collection of Cultural Properties and Cultural Heritage Areas-in particular the Cranbrook House-related collections that George Booth acquired for the original Eliel Saarinen-designed Cranbrook School for Boys (now part of the coeducational Cranbrook Schools Upper School).

The 24-month fellowship begins in August 2023 (although a later start-date may be considered) and continues for twenty-four months through July 2025. The annual compensation is $37,800 based on a full-time work schedule (including periodic evening and weekend responsibilities), with a modest apartment on Cranbrook's campus provided (no pets or smoking permitted). This position is eligible for Cranbrook's Blue Cross Blue Shield Simply Blue medical plan.

General Academic Qualifications:

The ideal candidate should have an M.A. in decorative arts, art history, architecture history, material culture, or a related field, with an emphasis on late 19th- through mid-20th-century art and architecture and a specialty/interest in decorative arts and design.


  • Completion of all coursework for a Master's degree in decorative arts, art history, architecture history, material culture, or a related field (Master's degree preferable, but candidates that have completed all requirements except their Master's paper will be considered);
  • Solid understanding of late 19th-century and early 20th-century decorative arts and design;
  • Demonstrated object-based research and interpretation skills;
  • Outstanding speaking, writing, and editing skills, with attention to detail;
  • Strong computer skills (Microsoft Office, particularly PowerPoint), including comfort with virtual presentation platforms;
  • Collections database experience (TMS preferred);
  • Previous curatorial or registration experience in an art museum, history museum, historical house museum, or collecting museum preferable; and
  • A valid driver's license with a satisfactory driving record.

Communication Skills:

  • Ability to understand, speak and write in English;
  • Ability to write essays in a clear and engaging manner; and
  • Ability to present clear and engaging lectures to the Center's public audiences.
  • Collections Fellow routinely communicates with Cranbrook's faculty, curators, and registrars, and occasionally communicates with Cranbrook's volunteer leadership, patrons, and donors.

Cranbrook offers competitive compensation and a unique environment that values collaboration.

Application Process:

For consideration, please submit the following: In addition to your resume, you must upload a cover letter (including Fellowship and career goals) and a writing sample. Your application will be considered incomplete without these materials. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled, with priority given to applications received by April 17, 2023.