Johanna Meijer Magoon Principal Archivist
Bentley Historical Library
University of Michigan
How To Apply
To apply, send a letter of application addressing your qualifications for the position, a CV, and contact information for three current, professional references.
The Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan is searching for an energetic, innovative archivist with a passion and talent for discovering new collections to add to one of the premier repositories for the history of the state of Michigan, its institutions, and peoples. As the University of Michigan approaches its bicentennial in 2017 and citizens of the state reflect on the wrenching social and political changes in the last decade, the Bentley has an essential role to play in saving and promoting the state’s past through an intense collection development of diverse analog and digital media.
The Johanna Meijer Magoon Principal Archivist is a high-profile, endowed position as the Michigan Historical Collections (MHC) field archivist. The next holder of this position will build upon almost eighty years of path-breaking progress in documenting Michigan politics and governance, creative expression, faith, social debate, the diversification of Michigan’s population, environmentalism, commerce and entrepreneurialism, and the built environment. Even more important than sustaining the success of earlier collections development is the next archivist’s creative and critical thinking about new and essential areas for future collecting. The archivist will thrive in and contribute to an information technology intensive environment at the Bentley, where collecting, curating, academic programs, and communications are all strategically aligned and where life-long learning is an expectation. The archivist must embrace the principle of inclusive archives and be prepared to communicate and coordinate closely with individuals and groups that represent the rich diversity of Michigan, in terms of socioeconomic class, ethnicity and culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, and gender.
Michigan Historical Collections Field Archivist
The Johanna Meijer Magoon Principal Archivist is responsible for developing the holdings of the MHC to meet the needs of historians and other researchers, now and in the future. He/she will develop policies and procedures as well as strategies and priorities to carry out ambitious collecting goals with measurable results. The archivist will organize collection development meetings with the library’s fourteen archivists and the library’s administration for the purpose of regularly reporting on field initiatives, new accessions, any emerging issues, and progress on long-term strategies and priorities.
The Johanna Meijer Magoon Principal Archivist will identify opportunities for emerging collecting areas and specific collecting prospects, approach prospective donors (often visiting them at their homes or offices), help them understand the research value of their archives and the benefits of placing the collection at the Bentley Historical Library, negotiate terms of the donation (with input from other archivists or the University of Michigan attorneys if necessary), select and appraise collections in the field, pack, load and transport collections from donors’ locations to the library (or less often supervise professional movers), record important information about collections and donors in accession records and donor files, and work with processors to be sure the collections are processed efficiently and effectively.
Because many collections require years of discussion before the gift is completed, the archivist is responsible for sustaining ongoing contact with creators of content in order to minimize curatorial complications with eventual donations of both analog and digital materials. To fully understand the breadth and diversity of potential acquisitions, the archivist must be aware of basic issues and practices related to the creation, storage, and management of digital archives in various environments (personal computer, websites, databases, social media platforms, email, etc.). The archivist will help donors understand the library’s processes for working with digital collections and work closely with the Digital Curation division to ensure that such materials are properly acquired and preserved.
The archivist is a continuing point of contact at the library for donors with questions about their collections, and represents the library by active participation in Michigan historical and archival organizations and through outreach to community groups. The archivist must be prepared to negotiate with diplomacy the selection of unsolicited materials offered to the library.
The archivist selects and purchases books and serials for the library’s collection. This includes both current publications and antiquarian materials.
The archivist will work together with other MHC archivists and students to set processing priorities and answer questions about collections or donors that come up in processing. As time permits, the archivist may participate in processing or cataloging collections or printed materials.
The archivist will review finding aids and cataloging for content.
The archivist will work with others to maintain and update MHC-related pages on the BHL website.
The archivist will be expected to demonstrate skills, expertise, and leadership in established and emerging best practices in archival administration.
About the Bentley Historical Library
The Bentley Historical Library is situated on the North Campus of the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ranked as one of the nation’s leading public universities, the University of Michigan considers itself “a place with deep traditions focused on creating brighter futures.” In 2010, the Bentley celebrated its seventy-fifth year of collecting materials for and promoting the study of the state of Michigan and the University of Michigan. The Bentley’s 8,000 research collections range from the papers of governors of Michigan, to the records of student and faculty life at the University of Michigan. The Michigan Historical Collections, for which the Johanna Meijer Magoon Principal Archivist serves as field archivist, functions primarily to collect, process, catalog and preserve archival and manuscript collections to document the state of Michigan, “its institutions, and its social, economic, and intellectual development” (in the words of the University of Michigan Regents’ bylaw). The collections also include books, periodicals, cartographic material, and other published material relating to the history and people of Michigan.
Master’s degree with concentration in archives/history.
Two years’ experience in archives.
Knowledge of Michigan history, through either education or experience or willingness to acquire it and relevant experience with archives or research in the history of another state or region.
General understanding of archival paper conservation.
Basic understanding of digital preservation issues and demonstrated knowledge of archival best practices and principles.
Ability to work independently and effectively with others as a team within a dynamic organizational environment.
Excellent written and oral communication skills; ability to present and share ideas clearly and effectively.
This position involves traveling to various locations, mostly in state, to conduct assessments and deliver materials.
Routinely moves material up to 40 pounds from pick up locations to Bentley Library.
Advanced knowledge of information technologies, standards, and best practices prevalent in archives, specifically demonstrated knowledge of archival descriptive systems including EAD and DACS.
Benefits, Rank, and Salary
Rank and salary are dependent on experience and qualifications. As a professional appointment in the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library, this position offers full benefits and opportunities for professional development and travel.
The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks. Background checks will be performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Applications will be reviewed as received throughout the posting period and continue until the position is filled.