The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Resident Collections Fellow is a unique opportunity for an emerging museum or historic house curator with a passion for decorative arts and architecture history to play a leading role in the preservation and interpretation of Cranbrook’s diverse historic collections and built environment. This post-graduate fellowship, which provides a professional bridge to long-term curatorial careers, includes a modest apartment on Cranbrook’s campus in a carriage house designed by Albert Kahn.
Reporting to the Center’s Director and working closely with the Center’s Curator, while also working collaboratively with the staff of the Center (notably the registrar and archivists) as well as the staffs of Cranbrook’s Art Museum, Institute of Science, and Schools, and the volunteers of Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary, the Collections Fellow researches collections and assists with the development of their documentation, accessioning, storage, care, conservation, and inventory, as well as their display and interpretation within the context of Cranbrook House, Saarinen House, and Smith House. They develop and organize collections-based educational programs for Cranbrook Schools and develop lectures and tours for regional audiences, such as the Center’s popular Day Away bus tours. They also assist with visiting researchers, develop the representation of the Center’s collections and programs on the Center’s website, write blogs and work with the Curator to edit the Center’s “Cranbrook Kitchen Sink” blog, assist with fundraisers, and provide private tours of the campus, including Cranbrook House, Saarinen House, and Smith House.
Collections Fellows typically hold an M.A. in decorative arts, art history, architecture history, material culture, or a related field, with an emphasis on late 19th- through mid-20th-century art and architecture and a specialty/interest in decorative arts and design. They have experience in object-based research and interpretation skills, as well as outstanding speaking, writing, and editing skills—including comfort with virtual presentation platforms. They often have previous curatorial experience or internships.
The Center’s 2023-2025 Resident Collections Fellow will focus on researching the furniture, decorative arts, and fine art collections housed in Cranbrook House, the original home of Cranbrook co-founders, newspaper publishers and philanthropists George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth. Designed by Detroit-based architect Albert Kahn and built in stages between 1908 and 1920, the Tudoresque home and surrounding grounds are replete with custom-designed furnishings and decorative arts. From entrance gates forged by Samuel Yellin to the oak overmantel in the library carved by John Kirchmayer, the house exemplifies the ideals of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Building on a solid foundation of existing research, the 2023-2025 Resident Collections Fellow’s work in Cranbrook House will culminate in a definitive inventory and documentation of these collections and their representation on the Center’s new eMuseum website, a Furnishings Plan, an updated tour script for the volunteer docents that work with Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary, and a booklet or similar publication on Cranbrook House and its collections. This work will be enriched by a series of small exhibitions located within Cranbrook House.
The 2023-2025 Resident Collections Fellow also will be involved in several other major Center projects: the development of plans to restore and expand a 1925 Albert Kahn-designed home on Cranbrook’s campus into the new home of the Center and Archives; the rehabilitation of Cranbrook’s 1915 Japanese Garden; and the continued documentation of the Center’s campus-wide collection of Cultural Properties and Cultural Heritage Areas—in particular the Cranbrook House-related collections that George Booth acquired for the original Eliel Saarinen-designed Cranbrook School for Boys (now part of the coeducational Cranbrook Schools Upper School).
The 24-month fellowship begins in August 2023 (although a later start-date may be considered) and continues for twenty-four months through July 2025. The annual compensation is $37,800 based on a full-time work schedule (including periodic evening and weekend responsibilities), with a modest apartment on Cranbrook’s campus provided (no pets or smoking permitted). This position is eligible for Cranbrook’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Simply Blue medical plan.
For more information on the 2023-2025 Resident Collections Fellow position, including the application process, please consult the position’s flyer. Please note that serious applicants will need to supply a resume, as well as a detailed cover letter that includes Fellowship and career goals. They also need to supply a writing sample. For additional information, please the Center’s Director, Gregory Wittkopp at GWittkopp@cranbrook.edu.
CURRENT AND PAST COLLECTIONS FELLOWS
Nina Blomfield (2021-2023 Decorative Arts Trust Marie Zimmermann Collections Fellow)
Ph.D. Candidate, Art History, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Kevin Adkisson (2016 – 2019)
Curator, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Stefanie Kae Dlugosz-Acton (2014 – 2106)
Director, CVAD Galleries, College of Visual Arts and Design, University of North Texas, Denton
Shoshana Resnikoff (2012 – 2014)
Demmer Curator of 20th and 21st Century Design, Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin
Dierdre Hennebury, Ph.D. (2011 – 2012)
Associate Director, Museum Studies Program, University of Michigan, Rackham Graduate School, Ann Arbor
Banner photo showing the Cranbrook House Still Room ceiling; Photography by Colton Graub, CK'13, Courtesy Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
Kevin Adkisson in the Cranbrook Archives Reading Room; Photography by PD Rearick CAA'10, Courtesy Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
Kevin Adkisson teaching students in Saarinen House; Photography by PD Rearick CAA'10, Courtesy Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
Cranbrook House Library, 2006; Photogarphy by Jerry Beznos, Courtesy Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
Executive Producer Vincent Chavez of Elkhorn Entertainment and Media prepares to film Center Collections Fellow Nina Blomfield in Saarinen House the film for Room for a Lady: Loja Saarinen at Cranbrook, April 25, 2022; Photography by Kevin Adkisson, Courtesy Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.