Chief Historian, Center for Brooklyn History
The Center for Brooklyn History (CBH) at Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) seeks a collaborative, public-facing leader with a deep knowledge of American, New York, and Brooklyn history to serve as its Chief Historian.
In 2020, the former Brooklyn Historical Society (founded in 1863) and Brooklyn Public Library (founded in 1896) combined their collections. The Center for Brooklyn History is now home to the world’s largest collection of physical and digital primary source materials and artifacts about Brooklyn. A nationally recognized urban history center, CBH is dedicated to preserving, understanding, and collecting the stories of Brooklyn’s many diverse and dynamic communities.
As part of Brooklyn Public Library’s network of 61 neighborhood branches, CBH seeks to democratize access to and engagement with its collection. Through regular high-profile events, exhibits, and educational programs online, at the landmarked Center in Brooklyn Heights, and at branches throughout the borough, CBH will strive to expand its community of students, scholars, and Brooklynites of all ages curious about the civic life and cultural heritage of their borough.
Qualified applicants will have a Ph.D. in history with a focus on American and New York City history and will report to the leadership for the Center for Brooklyn History. Candidates whose research and work aligns with CBH’s interests in immigration, civil rights, slavery, abolition and oral history are especially welcome. Successful candidates must have a demonstrated commitment to inclusive social history and a focus on the stories of Brooklynites who have been omitted from traditional historical narratives.
- Conceive, develop and implement curatorial, interpretive, and original research projects at CBH, drawing upon its collections to create exhibits, digital projects, programs, and special initiatives
- Develop and maintain public ties in the community, and establish an active speaking agenda, promoting CBH as a powerful local and national resource
- Work closely with Library administration, special collections team, education department, and public programming team to engage Brooklyn’s diverse communities
- Implement projects at CBH and throughout its branch library system
- Launch research initiatives that focus on CBH collections, and revisit aspects of Brooklyn history that need fresh interpretation
- Actively pursue mutually beneficial partnerships to help strengthen mission-delivery, community engagement and donor relations
- Manage public history staff as well as contract/special projects team members
- Attend meetings of the Board and its committees as appropriate, and work with the BPL development team to raise funds for ongoing needs and special projects
- Ph.D. in History with published research
- A minimum of 5-7 years of experience; teaching experience is a plus
- Demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Demonstrated experience working with multiple collaborators and stakeholders, including collections staff, designers, and external consultants
- Experience with leading and mentoring staff while fostering a collaborative environment
- Ability to conceive, plan and execute public history projects that involve archival and material culture collections
- Ability to inspire enthusiasm and motivate others
- Superb writing and communication skills, specifically aimed at diverse public audiences
- Adhere to the highest standards of integrity and ethics
- Familiarity with managing and working with budgets
Interested applicants should include a cover letter, resume and a list of 3 references in their application for this position.