The Interpretation Specialist works with the Interpretation Manager and another Interpretation Specialist to play a critical role within the Department of Learning and Interpretation and the museum as a whole to enhance visitors’ experiences of learning and enjoyment in the permanent collection galleries and special exhibitions. Charged with the task of helping to make art at the MFAH accessible and engaging to the broadest possible audiences, the Interpretation Specialist is expected to participate in all aspects of the interpretive process, which includes, but is not limited to, the writing of interpretive plans; the development of content for labels, brochures, audio guides, in-gallery interactives and other new interpretive tools and technologies, and online platforms; and the assessment of those interpretive resources.
- Works with the Interpretation Manager and a collaborative team of curators, educators, conservators, and other museum staff to identify and create content for in-gallery interpretation of the permanent collection, in text, audio/video, and digital formats.
- Works with the Interpretation Manager and staff in Curatorial Graphics and Publications, Marketing, and other departments on interpretive materials for selected special exhibitions, including in-gallery texts, audio and other digital interpretation, and live dialog.
- Evaluates visitor experience in permanent collection and special exhibition galleries using a range of methods including timing and tracking, interviews, and review of analytics data.
- Works with a collaborative team to develop new ways for docents and other educators to interpret art for visitors in the galleries, especially those visitors with special needs.
- Assists with docent training for the Access Docent program.
- Brings expertise in an area of the collection to the department; offers teaching in the galleries as available.
- Keeps abreast of best practices in the field of museum interpretation, and represents the MFAH at regional and national conferences.
- Assists the Interpretation Manager with other initiatives, as needed.
Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
- Must possess a comprehensive knowledge of the history of art as well as interpretive theory, museology, and evaluative practices
- Demonstrated excellent writing, public speaking, and verbal communication skills
- Excellent organizational skills, follow-through, and attention to detail
- Excellent interpersonal skills and willingness to work collaboratively across museum departments
- Willingness to innovate and experiment with new modes of interpretation and visitor engagement
- Ability to develop effective work processes, and coordinate multiple projects.
- Familiarity with new and emerging technologies in interpretation is highly desirable.
- Experience with digital media production is highly desirable: audio or video production, web design, user experience design (UX), graphic design, or another area of interest.
Education and Experience:
- M.A. in art history or humanities required; or a B.A. in these fields with experience in the field of art museum interpretation
- 2-3 years museum or related experience
- Proven experience working successfully in collaborative environments
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