Research Associate

The Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago, IL (30+ days ago)3.9


The Art Institute of Chicago, founded in 1879, is a world-renowned art museum housing one of the largest permanent collections in the United States. An encyclopedic museum, the Art Institute collects, preserves, and interprets works in every medium from all cultures and historical periods. With a collection of approximately 300,000 art works and artifacts, the museum has particularly strong holdings in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, contemporary art, early 20th century European painting and sculpture, Japanese prints, and photography. The museum’s 2009 addition, the Modern Wing, features the latest in green museum technology and 264,000 square feet dedicated to modern and contemporary art, photography, architecture and design, and new museum education facilities. In addition to displaying its permanent collection, the Art Institute mounts more than 30 special exhibitions per year and features lectures, gallery tours, and special performances on a daily basis

Position Summary

Reporting to the Chair, European Painting and Sculpture, the Research Associate initiates and works independently on research on the permanent collection, including labels, CITI, long-term projects for publication, and works under consideration for purchase or de-accession.

In consultation with curators, undertakes research and writing on the following (1) works in the permanent collection, including preparation of didactic materials, (2) works being considered for acquisition or de-accession, (3) inquiries by scholars and the general public related to the collection. With Collections Manager, maintains up-to-date research to ensure that information pertinent to works in the permanent collection – concerning titles, provenance, iconography, date, and bibliography – is put into permanent collection files and entered into CITI.

With curators or with limited supervision, initiates and carries out research and preparation related to presentations and lectures; such research may include documentary work in libraries and archives.
Coordinates with Conservation, Learning and Public Engagement, Imaging, Publishing and other departments when relevant to research and writing projects.
Works with curators on writing permanent collection labels and wall texts and other didactic material, catalogue entries, brochures, audio tours, website texts, etc.
Assures that justifications and supporting documentation for collections are in order for meetings of the Committee on European Painting and Sculpture and the Board of Trustees.
Researches issues and objects related to the genesis of development initiatives and scholarly projects.
Generates responses to public inquiries and routine scholarly inquiries. Initiates and works independently on research to prepare an appropriate response to more scholarly inquiries.
Together with the Collections Manager, assists visiting scholars and students in storage areas as well as with department curatorial files.
Works independently to track reproductions of works from the Art Institute’s collection in scholarly publications and ensures that copies of this information are put in the curatorial files and that information is transcribed into CITI and other records.
Assists Department Secretary with preparations for meetings of the Committee on European Painting and Sculpture, travel expenses, and managing the department phones when necessary.
Serves as courier as needed.
Manages volunteer projects and supervises volunteers in research and organizational activities for the collection.


Master’s in Art History or equivalent museum experience. Reading knowledge of at least two foreign languages (French, German or Italian preferred) Excellent research and writing skills. Knowledge of technology-based research tools as well as PowerPoint and Photoshop. Must have excellent verbal communication and ability to work with all levels of staff, scholars, and visitors.

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Closing Statement

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace.