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Archivist, Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL


Under the direction of the Senior Archivist, the Archivist manages and coordinates the assessment, development, arrangement and description, and maintenance of CHM’s archival collections, which include manuscripts, photographic and moving images, audio recordings, and architectural records. The Archivist works with Curatorial Affairs staff to identify, review, and present proposed acquisitions; periodically reassess the collection; and develop and implement deaccessioning proposals to ensure the collection reflects an inclusive history of the city and its diverse citizens. The Archivist collaborates with the other Archives staff to develop strategies and policies governing the development, management, and use of the archival holdings; develops and implements changes and improvements to internal processes and workflow documentation; collaborates with relevant staff to facilitate and expand the discovery and use of CHM’s archival holdings to meet institutional goals and support CHM’s mission; and promotes the collection as CHM’s most unique and significant resource. 


  • Collaborate with the other Archives staff in the day-to-day operations of the Archives unit, including the establishment and documentation of local standards and practices to guide the processing and management of CHM’s archival holdings
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of the scope, strengths, and weaknesses of CHM’s archival collections, including subject matter, material content, overall condition and organization, storage needs, and related documentation
  • Assess potential acquisitions considering historical significance, size, condition, organization, potential access and use restrictions, and relevance to CHM’s collecting goals, which include building a more comprehensive, meaningful, and diverse record of the city’s history
  • Work with Curatorial Affairs staff to inform acquisitions decisions, prepare acquisition proposals and present proposed acquisitions to the Collection Committee
  • Work with the Senior Archivist and other CHM staff to develop project ideas and contribute to grant proposals and other fundraising efforts to secure support for processing, preservation, and access-related activities
  • Work with Curatorial Affairs staff to arrange for the transfer of potential acquisitions to CHM and coordinate the return or disposition of unwanted material, including identifying materials for potential deaccession, developing deaccession proposals, and implementing deaccession and disposal plans
  • Work with Properties and other Collections staff to maintain organization, security, and cleanliness of on-site and off-site collections storage facilities
  • Collaborate with Collections staff and other departments to facilitate use of the collection to meet institutional goals
  • Oversee and track the movement of collection materials for exhibition, research, conservation, and photography
  • Work with shippers, contractors, and appropriate CHM staff to pack and move collections to and from offsite storage and plan and execute large-scale collection moves and storage upgrades
  • Assist in the development of institutional policies, procedures, and strategies governing the preservation, use, and access of CHM’s archival holdings
  • Advise the Senior Archivist and Director of Collections in developing annual departmental goals, objectives, and budget
  • Help train and supervise temporary project staff and interns 
  • Lift, carry, and otherwise move collections objects weighing 50 lbs.; ascend/descend ladders and lifts; drive CHM van to off-site storage facilities or other locations


  • Assess, process, document, and maintain CHM’s other holdings as needed
  • Serve as liaison with digitization vendors to expand visibility and accessibility of collections
  • Participate in the development and implementation of strategies and processes for developing and managing digital collections 
  • Assist with the installation and/or de-installation of exhibited collection materials
  • Conduct tours of storage areas for educational, promotional, and fundraising activities
  • Develop and participate in additional outreach, promotional, and/or service activities to promote public awareness and use of CHM’s archival holdings 
  • Perform other duties as assigned

REPORTS TO: Senior Archivist

WORKING RELATIONSHIPS: The Archivist is part of Archives unit team, which is part of the Collections department. The Collections department includes the Director of Collections, other Archivists, Registration staff, Collection Managers, and Conservators. Archivists also work across departmental lines with staff across the Museum including the Curatorial Affairs, Research and Access, Exhibitions, Education, Communications, Visitor Services, Special Events, and Institutional Advancement departments to facilitate access to and use of the Museum’s archival holdings. Archivists also work closely with the Properties department to maintain secure, safe, and clean storage environments across all CHM facilities. The Archivist also maintains regular communication with donors, researchers, colleagues at other repositories and educational institutions, and the general public as needed.


  • MLIS degree with an archives emphasis and/or certification or comparable academic or professional training
  • Two years of professional experience processing and managing relevant collection materials in a museum, library, or archive setting.
  • Substantive demonstrated experience in the application of current archival methodologies and standards (including MPLP and DACS) for appraisal, organization, and description of archival collections, including a working knowledge of the tools, technologies, and best practices used in the assessment, processing, preservation, and delivery of digital collections
  • Demonstrated experience with relevant technologies, standards, and practices in creating finding aids, including DACS, EAD, and the use of XML editors or other software to create and publish EAD finding aids
  • Demonstrated project management skills and ability to meet production, management, quality control, and procedural requirements in an efficient and effective manner
  • Ability to assist with supervising interns and project staff
  • Ability to balance multiple tasks, responsibilities, and demands for time
  • Strong subject knowledge of Chicago history
  • Familiarity with U.S. copyright law, particularly as applied to cultural heritage institutions
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs. and to ascend and descend ladders and lifts
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Willingness to work occasional evenings and/or weekends
  • Commitment to the mission, values, and programs of the Chicago History Museum


  • Additional academic training in museum studies, American history, American studies, urban history, public history, or related field 
  • Working knowledge of Oxygen XML editor
  • Experience working with CONTENTdm
  • Some knowledge of MARC cataloging standards
  • Familiarity with Airtable 

Salary Range:$53,000.00 To 55,000.00 Annually


Apply with the link below.