Head Archivist

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The Center will begin to review applications in mid-April 2019 and will continue to accept applications until the position is filled. See below for more information regarding the application process.
Posted On: March 13
Location: Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research
39221 Woodward Avenue, P.O. Box 801, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303
Job Type:
Full Time

Job Description:

The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research is accepting applications for a full-time Head Archivist position. This is a unique opportunity to assume a leadership position at Cranbrook Archives, a department of the Center for Collections and Research, at a time when Cranbrook is developing plans for a new home for the Center. This facility will include the Archives’ public reading room, staff offices, and a state-of-the-art collections wing for the preservation of Cranbrook’s archival collections.

The Head Archivist is responsible for developing and managing Cranbrook’s archival collections and administering the operational activities of Cranbrook Archives, including the supervision of its staff, interns, and volunteers. As a senior staff member of the Center, the Head Archivist is responsible for developing services, programs, and displays that promote awareness of and access to Cranbrook’s archival collections and helping to further the Center’s public-facing mission and goals.

The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research’s new Head Archivist will:

  • be intellectually curious about Cranbrook’s history and eager to develop an in-depth knowledge of the community’s people, places, and events;
  • serve as a portal, not a gatekeeper, to the Archives’ collections with the goal of facilitating new discoveries and knowledge; 
  • have a writing portfolio that gives clear evidence of superlative writing skills that can engage the general public and scholars alike;
  • be comfortable speaking in front of audiences, from students to trustees, and excited about developing public programs that bring Cranbrook’s archival collections to life;
  • be eager to work with the Center’s Director to create a new, permanent, state-of-the-art home for the Archives;
  • have a proven record of writing successful grants and the ability to effectively partner with the Center’s Director and Director of Development to help raise funds for the Archives and its projects;
  • have a deep understanding of the archival field’s best practices and be able to apply them at Cranbrook;
  • keep current on legal, ethical, and copyright issues related to managing archival collections;
  • have knowledge of existing and emerging digital technologies, an understanding of how technology has and continues to transform archives and digital scholarship, and the willingness to work aggressively towards the goal of a digitally searchable and digitally accessible Cranbrook Archives;
  • take a proactive role in seeking out and acquiring new collections, both paper and digital, about key Cranbrook alumni, employees, friends, associates, and events with the goal of creating a permanent record of Cranbrook’s rich and diverse history;
  • take the lead in developing a campus-wide strategy for preserving Cranbrook’s digital records; and
  • be an inspiring team leader among the archivists, a generous collaborator with colleagues across Cranbrook’s divisions and departments, and a respected leader in the regional archival community.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES: The Head Archivist directly supervises archivists, interns, and volunteers. The Archives paid staff currently includes a part-time Archivist (20 hours/week), Associate Archivist (32-hours/week) and a temporary grant-funded Archives Assistant (approximately 20 hours/week).

Preferred Skills:

REQUIREMENTS: The Head Archivist position requires a Master’s degree in Public History, History, Library Science, Information Science, Art History, or a related field with a minimum of seven years professional archival experience and three years administrative experience in an archival setting. Candidates need to have a deep understanding of the archival field’s best practices and their application. The position requires computer proficiency and knowledge of existing and emerging digital technologies, as well as extensive experience with digital database management. Knowledge of current metadata standards (EAD, Dublin Core, DACS, MARC21) and experience with CONTENTdm, OCLC, and Linked Open Data are highly preferred. Candidates also will have strong oral and written communication skills, including a proven record of writing successful grants. A valid State of Michigan driver’s license, a satisfactory driving record, and the use of a personal automobile are required to manage collections at various campus destinations.

This is a full-time, full-year position, with normal work days Monday through Friday. Periodic evening and weekend hours will be required to help the archivists staff the Archives reading room (which currently is open to the public the second Saturday of each month) and help implement programs and special events. Cranbrook offers a competitive salary and benefit package that includes medical, dental, life, and retirement.


Created in 1942 and given more concrete form in the late 1960s by Henry Scripps Booth, the son of Cranbrook’s founders George and Ellen Booth, Cranbrook Archives is the primary research center for the documentation and study of Cranbrook Educational Community's remarkable history. As Cranbrook's official repository, the Archives is responsible for collecting, preserving, and making available community and divisional records of permanent value. In addition, the Archives collects the papers of members of the Booth, Scripps, and Saarinen families; the records of Christ Church Cranbrook and ancillary organizations affiliated with Cranbrook; as well as the personal papers of key faculty, staff, alumni, and other individuals who have been associated with the community since its founding in 1904. In 2011, when Cranbrook established the Center for Collections and Research, the Archives became a department of the Center. With the reopening of the newly renovated and expanded Cranbrook Art Museum, the Archives relocated to the lower level of the museum in 2012, and then the Collections Wing in 2018, where the Archives’ most important collections take advantage of temperature and environmental controls. 


The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, which includes Cranbrook Archives, centralizes Cranbrook’s 115-year story and offers intellectual engagement with its collections and legacy. The Center is charged with overseeing Cranbrook’s three historic house-museums, including Saarinen House, Cranbrook House, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House; its campus-wide collection of Cultural Properties; and the Cranbrook Archives. It provides programming and access to these buildings and collections for visitors and scholars from around the world. The Center’s administrative offices presently are housed on the third floor of Cranbrook House, while the Archives’ staff and the Center’s Cultural Properties Collection registrar are located on the lower level of Cranbrook Art Museum. For more information on the Center, and its Archives, visit the Center’s website at  


The Center for Collections and Research is a part of Cranbrook Educational Community, which also includes its Schools, the Academy of Art and Art Museum, the Institute of Science, and Cranbrook House & Gardens. Located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, twenty miles north of downtown Detroit, Cranbrook’s 319-acre campus is a National Historic Landmark that welcomes tens of thousands of public visitors each year to the Institute of Science, Art Museum, and three historic houses. Cranbrook also is home to more than 1,600 students in grades pre-K through 12 attending Cranbrook Schools and almost 150 graduate Academy students.


For consideration, please submit a cover letter, résumé, writing sample, and a completed Cranbrook Employee Application (which can be downloaded from the Employment page of our website at to: Cranbrook, Human Resources, P. O. Box 801, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48303-0801, or email [email protected]. The Center will begin to review applications in mid-April 2019 and will continue to accept applications until the position is filled. Candidates selected for a campus interview will be required to present an illustrated oral presentation to the Search Committee. Cranbrook is an equal opportunity employer and strives to provide a work environment that welcomes diversity.

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