Head Registrar (Contractor)
The Smithsonian Institution is a diverse museum and research complex dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge. The National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) is a leading research and reference center for the visual arts of Africa. The Registration Department is responsible for collection management activities in the areas of accessioning, incoming and outgoing loans, object movement, storage, packing and shipping, and care and handling of objects in the Museum’s custody, as well as the ethical and legal documentation issues associated with these activities. The contractor serves as the Head Registrar.
Scope of Work
The Contractor shall provide technical professional, non-personal service in collections management activities that reflect NMAfA’s primary Strategic Goal: A 21st Century Global African Art Museum. For the period of this contract the contractor’s major duties are to identify, develop, and begin the implementation of collections acquisitions and documentation systems that incorporate the epistemologies and ontologies of African descendent communities from which the museum’s collections are derived. The deliverable will be an updated and revised draft of the museum’s Collection Management Policy document.
Statement of Work
In addition to the limited term work identified in the above, the Head Registrar:
(75%) Plans and implements programs of the Registrar’s Office. Ensures short- and long-range planning of registration and collections management activities in connection with the NMAfA and SI goals and objectives. Consults with the Office of the General Counsel as necessary on registration matters.
Implements NMAfA’s collections management policy, continuously monitoring the policy for suitability to both NMAfA and the Institution’s needs and conformance to applicable current laws and statutory regulations, updating and revising as appropriate. These policies and procedures concern such areas as the acquisition and accessioning of objects, access to collection objects, insurance, and annual inventories.
Manages a collections information and management system, both manual and automated. Coordinates responses and suggestions from administrative, curatorial and conservation staff regarding the type of information to be entered and the production of reports.
Manages periodic and ongoing inventory activities in accordance with both NMAfA and Smithsonian policy and procedures. Accounts for and is aware of objects in the custody of NMAfA and devises procedures and documents that provide ready access to the location and condition of all such objects.
Responsible for the movement and security of objects within the Museum. Assures that all objects belonging to the Museum or in its custody are handled with care.
Manages accession, catalogue, and donor records for all objects in the collection.
Manages all registration aspects of the temporary loan exhibition program, which may include exhibitions organized and exhibited at the NMAfA and sent to other museums, as well as exhibitions organized by other museums and exhibited at NMAfA.
Develops NMAfA loan agreements and related documentation, and is primarily responsible for content, compilation, and completion of all incoming and outgoing loan records. The incumbent assures adherence to the NMAfA’s obligations to lenders and that borrowers meet the requirements of NMAfA’ s outgoing loan agreement.
Serves as NMAfA liaison to SI Office of Risk Management and, with approval of the Director, is responsible for obtaining projected valuations for collection insurance renewal.
Assures that objects on loan to the Museum are properly insured and that objects from the Museum’s collection are insured while off the premises of the Smithsonian Institution.
Manages damage/loss records for all objects whether insured or not; and in case of loss or damage, takes appropriate action to process insurance claims. When required, prepares application for Federal Indemnity under the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act and other Federal applications governing ethnographic material.
In collaboration with the Conservation Department, oversees crating and packing and arranges transportation of objects leaving and coming into the Museum. Evaluates special requirements to protect objects while in transit; specifies requirements and monitors packers, shippers, airlines, freight forwarders and customs broker’s provision of proper packing, handling, control and timely delivery of the objects. Ensures that all other Museum standards for security, care and handling of objects are observed both in transit and while objects are in the custody of the Museum. Examines condition of borrowed objects and prepares condition reports including documenting damage or unstable condition. Supervises packing of objects to be returned to lenders to ensure safe transport.
Budget Administration (15%)
Formulates and justifies current and future budgets, including insurance, equipment and shipping. Analyzes workloads, operating procedures and spending plans, and establishes priorities.
Prepares, monitors, and refines budget projections for packing, shipping, insurance, freight forwarding, loan fees, couriers and other expenses for the Registration Office. Responsible for accuracy and accountability of government bills of lading.
Outreach and liaison (10%)
Serves as the NMAfA liaison and contact with U.S. Customs regarding entry into and departure from the U.S. for NMAfA collection items and borrowed objects. Assures that Customs and international (e.g., SITES) regulations are met to ensure the successful and safe movement of items and that the NMAfA does not incur unnecessary customs charges or duties. Represents the NMAfA at professional meetings, conferences and workshops.
This is a non-supervisory contract position. The contractor reports to the Associate Director for Collections and Facilities.
The contractor plans work, makes assignments, and determines priorities for the Registration department staff. Members of the registration staff are supervised by the Associate Director for Collections and Facilities who evaluates work performance, identifies training needs, provides advice on work and administrative matters, resolves problems, and oversees the work of interns, volunteers, and temporary help.
The Contractor shall possess knowledge of standards and best practices in collections management as set forth by the American Alliance of Museums or other international museum organizations, as well as directives set by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Collections Program.
The primary deliverable will be an updated and revised draft of the museum’s Collection Management Policy document. Necessary acquisitions documents such as deed of gift, insurance, loan contracts, annual inventories are executed in a timely manner and within deadlines.
Period of performance
All work under this purchase order shall begin on or about March 15, 2022 and be completed on or about March 15, 2023 with the option to extend an additional year.
Contractor will work 40 hours per week. Due to COVID-19 the contractor’s schedule could change at any time per prior oral or written agreement. Contractor should anticipate working primarily on-site pending a return-to-work initiative announcement from SI administration and implementation by NMAfA senior management. Contractor can work remotely, which include TEAMS, Zoom, or other telecommunication methods.
Contractor is responsible for all commuting, travel, lodging, meals and other expense with the execution and completion of this contract.
Prospective contractors are required to have General Liability Insurance for at least $1,000,000 The SI must be listed as additional insured for the General Liability insurance. Proof of insurance must be submitted with quotes.
If necessary, the contractor is responsible for obtaining necessary authorization to work in the United States.
Inquiries, acknowled/gements, and correspondence pertinent to this order should be directed to:
National Museum of African Art
PO Box 37012 MRC 708
950 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Attn: Steve Mellor