The Eiteljorg Museum has received a planning grant from the Lilly Endowment’s Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative. The grant includes funding for a temporary contract position (through August 31, 2020) to assess and determine religion-related initiatives that will advance the museum’s strategic plan; develop program and interpretive goals incorporating religion; and identify potential partnership opportunities that extend the museum’s capacity to share meaningful and relevant programs with diverse audiences. Specific project, program, and exhibit outcomes will be determined as part of the planning process.
The Eiteljorg Museum tells amazing stories of the diverse cultures of the American West and Native America. Religion and culture are an integral part of these stories. Religion shaped Americans’ thinking about the frontier and the possibilities it offered as the nation expanded westward. The West became a refuge for those persecuted for their religious beliefs, while at the same time; Native peoples were being dispossessed and physically displaced from their sacred homelands. With its dual focus on Native America and the American West, the Eiteljorg Museum is particularly well positioned to employ the lens of religion to investigate conflict in the American West; to consider issues around cultural contact, exchange, and migration; and to explore the impact of religious practice on the art of the West and Native American art and objects.
The museum’s 2016-2021 strategic plan identifies six primary goals including: reimagining and reinstalling the core museum galleries; building on the institutional commitment to cultural diversity in exhibits, programs, and audiences; focusing on the Native peoples of “the middle” (Great Lakes region including Indiana); and creating an institutional culture of building deep relationships. The Religion in the American West planning initiative will inform and shape the realization of these goals as well as future long-range planning activities.
Look critically and deeply at the role of religion in shaping the American West both past and present.
Identify where museum efforts and resources could have the greatest impact including exhibits, staffing, programs, publications, or other areas of activity.
Build institutional capacity to integrate and sustain religion related content into the institution’s long-range interpretive plan.
The Religion Initiative Project Coordinator will lead the planning process through both phases. Key elements of the planning process are:
Phase One: Information Gathering
Review past and current Eiteljorg presentations and interpretations of religion and related topics in museum exhibits, programs, and publications including evaluation data and audience participation.
Convene an advisory group including historians, anthropologists, culture bearers, Native American and religious studies scholars, and religious and community leaders, for a roundtable discussion to identify key themes and issues in the history and current role of religion in the American West.
Identify potential partner institutions, organizations, and individuals and engage with them to explore ideas and opportunities for collaborative projects that support the Eiteljorg’s strategic goals while fostering public understanding of and respect for diverse religious traditions in the American West. Potential partners include the Religious Studies Department at Indiana University, Bloomington; the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI; the Spirit and Place Festival, a community project managed by the Polis Center at IUPUI; Butler University; and the Purdue University Native American Educational and Cultural Center.
Phase Two: Outcomes and Recommendations
Synthesize and disseminate the outcomes of phase one activities through a whitepaper.
Work with museum administration, curators, and program and evaluation staff to identify educational, interpretive, and audience goals for the Religion in the American West initiative as part of the museums strategic planning process for 2021-2026, which begins in 2020.
Identify specific projects and/or initiatives that can build and sustain the Eiteljorg’s capacity to include religion as a significant content element in exhibitions and programs in a meaningful and integrated way. Potential outcomes include a dedicated staff position, a major exhibit and/or a traveling exhibit, stand-alone programs and symposia, and program offerings in support of annual special events such as Juneteenth and Día de Los Muertos.
Drawing from the planning process outcomes, make recommendations for implementation based on institutional mission and goals, strategic plan partnership opportunities, and audience and community needs (community in a broad sense including local, regional, and Indigenous communities). Recommendations will form the foundation of an implementation funding proposal to be submitted in fall 2020.
To apply, please send cover letter and resume to: [email protected] with subject heading of "Religion Project Coordinator".
Requirements & Qualifications:
Graduate studies or a terminal graduate degree (Ph.D. preferred) in religious and cultural studies, Western or public history, anthropology, or related field;
Ability to work independently to manage the multiple aspects of the planning process;
Excellent written and verbal communication skills;
Strong interpersonal skills, including relationship building with internal and external constituents as needed;
Organizational skills with demonstrable project or program management experience strongly preferred;
Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
Ability to travel within state/region and occasionally further if needed for conference or symposia attendance.
Telecommuting is allowed.
Additional Salary Information: The position is funded at 40 hours per week. Hours are flexible and job sharing may be considered depending on circumstances and qualifications.
Work location is negotiable with a minimum of 1 week per month on-site. Support for travel and accommodations is available.
About Eiteljorg Museum
The Eiteljorg Museum tells amazing stories of the diverse cultures of the American West and Native America. It is a place for artistic expression, historical context, new ideas, and personal perspectives. Opened in 1989, museum's mission is to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history, and cultures of the American West and the Indigenous peoples of North America. The museum carries out this focus in exciting and often surprising ways. Home to one of the best contemporary Native American art collections in the world, the Eiteljorg is the only museum of its kind in the Midwest and one of only two east of the Mississippi to explore both Native America and the American West.