Collections Interpreter (Collections and Exhibitions)


Description :

The Collections Interpreter is a passionate and engaging ambassador to Cranbrook Art Museum. They love interacting with people as much as objects and bringing meaningful stories to life. They will lead tours and experiences in the collections wing, exhibitions, and surrounding outdoor spaces, for a variety of audiences. This may include researching contemporary artists, art movements, and thinking through new ways of presenting information in accessible, exciting formats. Collections Interpreters are expected to be inquisitive, engaging, and professional in their presentation of tour content and management of audiences. Schedules will vary, will require weekend and evening hours, taking place year-round.

Training on Cranbrook Art Museum’s collections, history, and future, as well as best practices for culturally conscious and engaging tours, will be provided to augment your customer service expertise and demonstrated interest in contemporary art and design.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Deliver high-quality programs and tours during weekdays, evenings, and weekends.
  • Delight in co-learning, leading discussions and sharing knowledge with large and small audiences as well as peers.
  • Research and adapt tour content for specialized audiences.
  • Maintain a secure and safe tour experience by both safeguarding Cranbrook buildings and objects, while being alert and compassionate to the physical needs of visitors.
  • Work with Campus Security and Museum staff to maintain security within all Cranbrook properties, when required.
  • Attend Museum meetings and tour training sessions, as necessary.
  • Coordinate and confirm tour schedules through regular email and scheduling software communications with Museum staff.
  • May be responsible for writing up protocols and/or program plans.
  • May oversee a program or part of a program, and be responsible for its development, planning and execution.
  • Keep attendance for all programs.
  • Work special events for the Museum on occasion.
  • Maintain attendance, punctuality, and performance standards set forth in Cranbrook’s employee handbook.
  • Other duties as assigned


The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodation may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


  • Enthusiasm for the subject and an eagerness to share that enthusiasm with learners of all ages. · College-level contemporary art, art history, performance, museum studies, education or other relevant courses is strongly preferred – however, a demonstrated interest in art, along with training in performance, comedy, debate, or public speaking would also be valued.
  • A minimum of one year of experience teaching, a variety of ages, either formal or informally, is strongly preferred.
  • Customer service experience and the ability to work with individuals and groups positively and effectively, with an emphasis on adult audiences.
  • The use of a personal cell phone is required to communicate with Museum staff while conducting campus tours.



  • Ability to effectively convey program content with enthusiasm for the subject, engage with learners of all ages, and respond to questions in an articulate and audience-appropriate manner.
  • Excellent oral communication skills.
  • Ability to work successfully in a group/team setting.


INDEPENDENT JUDGEMENT/PROBLEM SOLVING: Must be able to think and act critically on the spot as issues arise and adapt presentation style to suit the needs of the audience.


WORK COMPLEXITY: Both intellectually rigorous and customer service oriented, this work is varied depending on the programs, but conducted under set procedures and expectations of quality. This position works with the Museum staff to ensure that constituents’ (e.g. visitors, students, parents, funders) expectations of their tour experience are met.


CREATIVITY/INNOVATION: Creativity and innovation are paramount to this position! Must be inquisitive, think beyond dominant narratives of contemporary art and adapt to challenges presented by audiences or circumstances. Proactively work to improve processes and knowledge leading to a welcoming environment and exciting learning experiences.


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 position, such as the ability to see, hear, speak and understand English, distinguish colors, use a computer, ability to speak clearly to be understood in presentations. Must be able to traverse the campus, including its buildings and grounds, and traverse interior and exterior stairwells. While the average tour length is 60 minutes, some tours or experiences may be as long as four or more hours.


WORK ENVIRONMENT: This position operates in the buildings and on the grounds of Cranbrook, with occasional meetings in an office, with exposure to crowds and noise. Campus tours take place during all seasons of the year with exposure to warm and cool temperatures, as well as rain and snow.

RESIDENTIAL CURATORIAL FELLOWSHIP – The Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow

Temporary / Full Time

Description :

Cranbrook Art Museum is accepting applications for a full-time, paid, curatorial assistant in residence as its 2022–2023 Jeanne and Ralph Graham Curatorial Fellow. This is a unique opportunity for an emerging museum curator with a passion for contemporary art to play an important role in the presentation and interpretation of Cranbrook’s collections and exhibitions programs. A major thrust of the Art Museum’s exhibitions, public art projects, and collections over the past seven years has been a focus on diversifying the artists that it presents and collects. This, together with our educational engagements and public art projects, has deepened our connections to the cities of Detroit, Flint, and Pontiac. The Curatorial Fellow will be an essential partner in furthering this important work.

The successful applicant will become a key member of the curatorial team and is actively involved in the research, development, and execution of exhibitions and programs. The intimate scale of the institution ensures that Fellows are exposed to all aspects of museum operations. Since its inception in 1998, the Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellowship at Cranbrook Art Museum has attracted talented new curators who have gone on to lead curatorial programs in major museums across the country.

Responsibilities Include:

Reporting directly to the Chief Curator, and working collaboratively with other staff of the Art Museum including the Assistant Curator of Collections, as well as staff from other Cranbrook units, the Fellow will assist in the research, development, and implementation of exhibitions and publications; conduct research on the holdings of the Art Museum; and help with the display and interpretation of art. The fellowship is a full-time curatorial position that:

  • in collaboration and cooperation with the curatorial and registration staff, helps develop exhibitions, including but not limited to checklist development, loan and contributor agreements, layout of exhibitions, primary and secondary research of artworks and artists for presentation and publication;
  • conducts research on the museum’s holdings and potential acquisitions and prepares related texts and presentations for Cranbrook’s acquisition committees;
  • conducts object and artist research and assists with display and interpretation within the museum’s innovative, open storage Collections Wing;
  • writes interpretive texts for exhibitions, programs, acquisitions, and other projects;
  • conducts public and private tours of temporary exhibitions and the Collections Wing for special guests of Cranbrook;
  • works with the Art Museum Director, Chief Curator, and other museum staff to present the exhibition program;
  • assists in collections-based education programs for students and adults;
  • attends and participates in Art Museum staff meetings;
  • facilitates research requests and inquiries about the exhibitions and collections;
  • assists with cataloging records and representing the collections on the Art Museum’s website;


The ideal candidate should have an M.A. in curatorial studies, art history, material culture, cultural studies, or a related field (completion of M.A. coursework required), with a focus on and interest in 20th– and 21st-century art; demonstrated research and interpretation skills; outstanding speaking, writing, and editing skills; attention to detail; strong working knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel); and collections database experience (TMS strongly preferred). Previous curatorial experience or internships preferred but not required. A commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access is fundamental. Knowledge of aspects of the Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) are helpful, but not required.


About Cranbrook

Cranbrook Art Museum is a leading venue for the presentation of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art, craft, architecture, and design. The Art Museum is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of metropolitan Detroit, on the beautiful 319-acre historic landmark campus of the Cranbrook Educational Community. The Art Museum’s sister institution is Cranbrook Academy of Art, a renowned graduate school of art, architecture, craft, and design. While the collections of the Art Museum span the 20th and 21st centuries, the permanent collection focus is on the achievements of faculty and students of the Academy of Art and of artists in the Detroit metropolitan area. Typically, each summer the Art Museum presents public art programs of contemporary art in the city of Detroit, working with a range of creative collaborators, diverse artists and curators, and various community partners. Each year the Art Museum presents artworks created by the graduating class of Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 2011, the Art Museum completed a total renovation of its original 1942 Art Museum and Art Library building designed by Eliel Saarinen and created a new Collections Wing, a purpose-built, state-of-the-art handling and storage facility for its collections, which allows for a curated and publicly accessible viewing of selections from nearly 7,500 works of art.

Compensation and Residential Housing

The 12-month fellowship begins in July 2022 and continues through June 30, 2023. The fellowship is subject to renewal for a second year, based on performance, allowing for the continued development and realization of longer-term projects. This is a temporary full-time (40 hour per week) position with annual compensation of $35,600 with an apartment (no smoking or pets) on Cranbrook’s campus provided at no cost for the duration of the fellowship. The position is also eligible for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Simply Blue medical plan.


Applications reviewed until position filled with priority given to applications received by April 25. Please send a cover letter (including Fellowship and career trajectory and goals), résumé, writing sample, list of three references with contact information (phone, email), and completed Cranbrook Employee Application (which can be downloaded below) to:

Cranbrook is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to building a diverse staff and encourage applications from underrepresented groups.

Visitor Services Representative

Permanent / Part Time

Description :

To provide enthusiastic customer service to all museum visitors and constituents (in the galleries and on the grounds), create a welcoming educational environment, ensure protection of works on display in the galleries, and support Visitor Service Supervisor roles and museum operations as necessary.

Responsibilities Include:

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

  • Welcome and engage Museum visitors and constituents, orientate them to the Museum facility and introduce current exhibitions and programs. This includes visitors to the museum, campus, public programs, and private groups. Look for opportunities for further engagement, exceeding expectations of routine customer service.
  • Perform the role of gallery educator circulating through the galleries, engaging visitors in dialogue when appropriate, providing information on exhibitions, artists and campus history, while monitoring of security issues pertaining to the artwork and visitor surroundings. Stay current with changing gallery and exhibition information. Know key talking points about artworks and artists featured in the galleries.
  • Go out of your way to be helpful and informative to visitors about facilities at the museum and on campus. This includes institutional history, wayfinding, and information about current and upcoming exhibitions and programming. 
  • Must be comfortable standing and walking in the galleries whenever visitors are present during extended shifts.
  • Help manage visitor engagement and experience for campus events including openings, receptions, programs, seasonal events, fundraisers, field trips and tours – these duties will vary, with the amount increasing and decreasing seasonally.
  • Must be able to perform basic operations through the point of sale at the front desk and perform duties related to shop sales, including the accurate entry of all visitor information and fees collected into the Museum’s admission system.
  • Sell museum memberships, process applications, and be knowledgeable about the levels and benefits of membership at the Art Museum and on campus.
  • Must be physically able to navigate multiple levels and safely move visitors with handicapped restrictions or strollers into and out of the museum through the elevator.


The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:  High School Diploma required (BFA or MFA preferred). Customer service experience required. Ability to work with the public, school personnel, students, and volunteers with ease and enthusiasm! Willingness to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends. Computer experience required; additional training on specialized software is provided. Ability to manage several projects simultaneously.  

COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Ability to understand, speak, and write in English. Requires excellent interpersonal and telephone skills. Ability to communicate verbally with a diverse population of staff, students, visitors, and external constituencies. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from visiting groups and the general public. 

INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT / PROBLEM-SOLVING: Ability to answer inquiries from external customers and disseminate information. Attentive and responsive to a range of visitor needs, adapting to tailored customer service needs. Must have problem-solving skills to deal with emergencies or crises that occur as part of normal museum operations. Must be able to make quick, intelligent decisions that may involve the safety of visitors, staff and art objects. 

WORK COMPLEXITY: Day-to-day work varies, depending on exhibition closures and staffing needs; employees should be able to work well when attendance is booming and when it is very slow. Additional duties when assigned can involve office work, cleaning and organization of storage spaces, assisting with educational programming, seasonal events, retail management, and additional reading when applicable to job responsibilities.

CREATIVITY/INNOVATION: Ability to suggest ideas for change that would improve visitor services operations, policies and procedures, including ideas that would improve the integration of visitor services activities into overall museum operations.  

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: This position requires patience, versatility, and stamina on the museum floor. Requires extended periods of standing at the admissions desk and entire museum and surrounding grounds. Must be able to have audio and visual command of the museum lobby and surrounding area, including the ability to hear, with or without a hearing aid, sounds and voices within a fifty-foot radius of the reception desk or within the gallery in which the person is stationed. Must be able to operate freight elevators and assist visitors with physical disabilities. Must be able to walk up and down flights of stairs without assistance and help move signage and seasonal set-ups in and out of storage. 

WORK ENVIRONMENT: Work is generally performed in a climate-controlled museum environment, with seasonal opportunities outdoors on the museum grounds. Staff needs to be able to assist multiple groups of visitors and activities, which may occur simultaneously.



To apply, download the Cranbrook Employment Application Form.

Download Application

Completed materials should be sent to

Cranbrook Academy of Art Statement of Non-Discrimination:
Cranbrook is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse work environment. Cranbrook Academy of Art does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, sex, height, weight, marital status, disability, veteran status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or any other basis prohibited by local, state or federal law in its programs and activities.