The Senior Curator of Social Maritime Histories will be responsible for working on curatorial projects of race, Indigenous histories, ethnicity, and diversity in New England’s maritime activities as it relates to the collections and site of Mystic Seaport Museum. The Senior Curator will work with Curatorial and Museum colleagues to lead a team through the Museum’s and other regional collections, developing contemporary re-imaginings of people’s actions in the past and present, and translating that into content applicable to today’s social environment. The first 2.5 years of this role will culminate in a major exhibition in Fall 2023, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Just Futures Initiative. Thereafter the Senior Curator will continue on new projects related to these and related themes. Additionally, the Senior Curator will lead a curatorial team in the development and educational work related to the Museum’s public and school audiences through the development of in-house and online content.
This position is funded through an award from the Mellon Foundation, with the project titled ‘Reimagining New England Histories: Historical Injustice, Sovereignty, and Freedom.’ The funding supports a partnership among Brown University, Williams College, and Mystic Seaport Museum to engage with Native American and African American histories and legacies surrounding the founding of New England through the present day, using the sea and maritime realm as a lens for investigating issues of freedom and slavery, dispossession and cultural persistence, legacy and memory. A major gallery exhibition opening Fall 2023 is a core project outcome of this initiative.
The Mellon partnership allows us to draw upon the extraordinary MSM collections as well as those of other lending museums, library, and archival collections as well as community practices and collective memories. The exhibition will map a more complex historical frame engaging with questions of race and sovereignty bringing the memory archive into creative juxtaposition with visual and material culture, archaeology, oral traditions, songs, and performance.
It is the Museum’s intention that the Mellon Foundation project lead to a permanent role for the Senior Curator to pursue new and ever deeper re-imaginings, scholarship, exhibitions, and outreach to increase diversity and inclusivity in all future projects at the Mystic Seaport Museum. The 2023 exhibition project will continue to resonate throughout the campus and the Museum’s dedication to the core intention of this effort.