Albany Institute of History & Art — Public Historian

Public Historian for Albany African American History Project

The Albany Institute of History & Art, a museum and research library with a mission to connect diverse audiences to the art, history, and culture of the Upper Hudson Valley through collections, exhibitions, and programs, is seeking a Public Historian for a newly funded project to document and advance awareness of Albany’s African American history.

The Pubic Historian will focus on the recent history of Albany’s African American community, from the late nineteenth century to the present, and will have responsibility for historical research, collecting pertinent and meaningful objects and archival materials for the Institute’s collections, curating exhibitions, and engaging with community members to document the people, organizations, and events that have significantly shaped Albany’s African American history over the last one hundred and fifty years. The Public Historian will also have opportunities to conduct oral histories and facilitate educational programs.

This Public Historian will work closely with a second project historian who is researching and documenting an earlier period of Albany’s African American history, from the seventeenth century through the end of Reconstruction in 1877.

The Public Historian will report directly to the chief curator. This individual will work closely with the curatorial staff, the librarian, museum educators, and the director of community engagement to achieve the goals of collecting, documenting, and presenting exhibitions and public programs about the history of African Americans and the African American community of Albany, New York.

Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • develop a working outline of the key people, organizations, and events of Albany’s African American history from 1877 to the present.
  • review and assess the collections of the Albany Institute in order to develop a strategic collecting plan to enhance the African American collections.
  • review and compile resource lists for holdings in other area museums, libraries, and historical organizations that relate to Albany’s African American history.
  • curate exhibition(s) about Albany’s African American history.
  • collaborate with museum educators to organize and present public programs, workshops, and lectures that advance public awareness of Albany’s African American history and which stimulate new insights and understandings.
  • work with the director of community engagement to develop and advance relationships between the Albany Institute and Albany’s African American community.


  • the candidate must have an MA in public history, American history, African American Studies, or a related field.
  • the ideal candidate must have a minimum of three to five years’ experience within a museum, historical agency, library, or educational institute employed full time as a public historian, curator, or educator focusing on African American history and culture.
  • the candidate must have a thorough understanding of material culture, American history, and museum practices.
  • the candidate will have experience developing and curating museum exhibitions.
  • the candidate will have exceptional communication skills for both public speaking and writing.
  • the candidate must enjoy working collaboratively with various individuals and departments within the Albany Institute and with Albany’s African American community.
  • the candidate must be organized and self-motivated.
  • Salary Range: $40,000-$45,000

The Public Historian for Albany’s African American History Project is a two-year-funded, full-time position with benefits. At the end of the two-year period the position and accomplishments will be reviewed with the goal of becoming a permanent position.

Candidates must submit by email a cover letter, resume or curriculum vita, writing sample,
and references to: Douglas McCombs, Chief Curator, at Deadline is November 18, 2021

The Albany Institute of History & Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or basis of disability, or any other federal, state, or local protected class.