The National Horse Racing Museum
Palace House was officially opened by HM The Queen in November 2016. It is the product of a £19 million conversion of the former site of Newmarket Palace and the accompanying former trainer’s yard and paddocks into a major destination tourist venue. Palace House aspires to be a world-class visitor experience, based in the internationally recognised home of horseracing, which provides a showcase for horseracing as well as the finest examples of British sporting art. It seeks to preserve the heritage of horseracing, celebrate the contemporary sport, and safeguard its future by bringing historical narratives to new audiences and racing fans alike. It also introduces visitors to the equine heroes of the sport, places horseracing within the broadest cultural context and unlocks the fascinating hidden royal history of Newmarket.
Comprising a museum, sporting art collection, exhibition galleries, shop, restaurant, flagship yard and arena displaying former racehorses being retrained, it is a major visitor attraction in Newmarket and the east of England, attracting visitors from across the UK as well as internationally.
Since opening, visitor reviews of Palace House have been excellent: the museum was Shortlisted for the 2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year award alongside prestigious national venues such as Tate Modern, won the 2017 Suffolk Museum of the Year award, and in 2018 became an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation.
Palace House is looking for an enthusiastic, dynamic, well-organized, self-directed and motivated Senior Curator to help us exploit the Museum’s considerable potential.The Packard Curator is the senior member of the curatorial team at Palace House and a member of the museum’s senior management team. The post-holder will line-manage the collections team, including the full-time Assistant Curator (Science & Learning), part-time Assistant Curator (Loans and Documentation) and part-time Collections Care Conservator, and with liaise closely with the British Sporting Art Trust (BSAT). The Curator will also line-manage the two-strong (1.2 FTE) Learning and Outreach Team.
The post is funded through the generosity of the Packard Foundation and the Patron of the British Sporting Art Trust, Sir Samuel Whitbread.
The role will be based at Palace House in Newmarket, but the Curator will also be expected, on occasion, to travel regionally to meet current and potential funders and exhibition partners.
The Packard Curator will report directly to, and work closely with, the Chief Executive.
The Packard Curator will be required to:
• In consultation with the CEO, lead and manage the curatorial and exhibitions programmes across the museum’s galleries and displays
• Manage, train and develop curatorial, collections management and exhibitions staff and encourage an environment of collaboration and inclusion
• Ensure that the collections at the galleries are effectively and sustainably managed, handled, stored and made accessible (including the monitoring of all works and archives on display and in storage)
• Champion diversity and innovation in programming, audience development and digital reach, in accordance with the Arts Council’s Cultural Case for Diversity
• Help develop, manage and deliver loan exhibitions, regular gallery display changes and special display projects, in-focus displays and new commissions, including assessing the viability of project proposals
• Manage the budget for exhibitions and collections
• Help secure national tour venues for in-house generated exhibitions
• Ensure that the public offer is coherent and distinctive, appealing to increasingly broad audiences and with a strong public and critical response
• Help cultivate and secure corporate sponsors and individual donors for exhibitions and displays
• Broaden the museum’s position in the sector through leadership in the field, building and leveraging connections with artists, scholars, dealers, collectors, donors and peer institutions
• Building relationships with art researchers, concentrating on those in the sporting art field.
• Represent the organisation externally where appropriate to stakeholders
• Deliver improved public and scholarly access to collections and increase awareness of the collections
• Work with Learning colleagues to develop learning initiatives for collections and exhibitions
• Work with the Community Engagement Manager to devise projects for volunteers and ensure they feel valued and supported with appropriate training where necessary
• Work with the membership organisations of the British Sporting Art Trust (BSAT) and Friends of the National Horseracing Museum to ensure effective communication between all parties.
• Ensure that the museum’s fundraising operation is fulfilling its full potential
The Packard Curator will be expected to have:
• A degree in Art History, Museum Studies or a related discipline – ideally at Master’s level
• A sound knowledge of British art history
• Experience of working in a curatorial role in a museum or gallery environment
• Demonstrable experience of research skills, preparing exhibition text and mediating collections to the public through exhibitions, publication and lecturing/guiding
• Experience of managing project budgets
• Excellent administrative skills
• Good presentation skills for formal and informal groups
• The ability to develop good relationships with a wide range of colleagues, partners and stakeholders
• Sound cultivation and interpersonal skills
• Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
• Good IT skills, including the ability to edit and manage complex documents
• The ability to work well in a team, and with a diverse range of professionals and audiences
• The ability to assess priorities and make decisions, to meet demanding deadlines, balance multiple tasks, make decisions and prioritise key issues
Desirable but not essential attributes include:
• Evidence of interest in, knowledge of and enthusiasm for British Sporting Art
• A working knowledge of the horseracing industry.
Terms and Conditions
Basic working hours, if taken as a full-time post, would be 40 hours a week, 9am-5pm, although the successful candidate will be expected to work flexibly and be able to work evenings and weekends (recompensed with time-in-lieu) as meetings and events dictate.
This role is envisaged as a full-time position. However, we are willing to be flexible in considering alternative proposals for part-time work.
Salary: up to £40,000 pa, dependent on experience.
The successful candidate will initially be offered a year’s contract (including a three-month probation period), with the expectation of renewal on a permanent basis after 12 months if funding permits.
Annual Leave: 28 days (pro rata) including public holidays.
Probation Period: 3 months.
Notice Period: 1 month either side.
Other Benefits: contributory pension scheme.
Palace House is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from qualified candidates from visible and invisible minority group members, indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, persons across the spectrum of sexual and gender identities, and others with the skill and knowledge to engage with diverse communities. We are committed to hiring on merit and to removing barriers in employment policies.
To apply for this role please submit:
• A full Curriculum Vitae
• A letter of application of no longer than 2 A4 pages, explaining your aptitude and experience related to the skills outlined in this job description
• The names and full contact details of 2 referees. References will not be sought without prior agreement
Please indicate if there are any restrictions on you taking up employment in the UK and, if so, provide details.
Please send your application
– by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
– by post to: Jodie Mellor, Palace House, Palace Street, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 8EP
– Deadline for applications: Monday 7th October
– Interview date: Friday 11th October (London)
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