Associate Director of Collections & Discovery

Associate Director of Collections & Discovery

Getty Research Institute

Los Angeles, CA   |   July 6, 2021

The Getty Research Institute (GRI) seeks nominations and applications for a creative, transformative, and dynamic leader to serve as the Associate Director for Collections and Discovery (AD-CD). This position is an excellent opportunity for a thoughtful and pragmatic individual who – in conjunction with the Director, Deputy Director, and GRI senior staff – will lead efforts to unify the GRI’s full scope of collections, which have undergone dramatic growth and which range from the bibliographic and electronic resources of the Library to special collections and institutional archival holdings. The AD-CD will bring existing departments and work processes into alignment, and with attention to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion, so that the GRI can more effectively advance the local and global discovery of research materials essential to the study of art history and visual culture.

With a staff of 108 and an overall budget of $13 million, including a robust acquisitions budget, the AD-CD will have the opportunity to create world-class services and collections in support of research at the Getty and around the globe. Reporting to the Director and working in close partnership with other members of the GRI leadership team, the AD-CD will develop and implement the GRI’s strategic priorities for the Library, Special Collections, and Institutional Archives in an intellectually stimulating environment.

The successful candidate may come from the worlds of art libraries, rare book libraries and special collections, university libraries, academia more generally, or from a foundation, museum, or other institution focused on humanistic inquiry. This is an exceptional opportunity for an individual who is passionate about the centrality of visual culture to join the leadership team at one of the world’s premier humanities-based research institutes.

About The Getty Research Institute

Since its modest founding in 1983 as The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, the GRI has combined programs launched with their own identity, purpose, and mission. The 2020 strategic reorganization creates a unified GRI to tackle the challenges that all institutions dedicated to the arts and humanities face in the 21st century, and to become more than the sum of individual parts. The reorganization creates a structure for communication among departments, the definition of roles and responsibilities between departments, and a redistribution of direct reports among senior managers. Through this reorganization, and under new, coordinated leadership, departments will work together on overarching institutional projects, objectives, and mission.

The GRI’s chief purpose is to contribute to Getty’s mission to advance and share the world’s visual art and cultural heritage for the benefit of all. The GRI provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs, and supports scholarship through its Scholars Program, digital resources, and the Getty Library and Special Collections, the largest

art history library in the world. The GRI is, in particular, driven by three major directives: to promote discovery of materials related to art and art history; to create new knowledge based in visual culture; and to advance scholarly and public understanding of such knowledge through the dissemination of research.

For more information on the GRI, please visit:


Mary Miller is Director of the Getty Research Institute. A longtime member of the Yale University faculty, she served as Dean of Yale College from 2008-2014 and held many University leadership roles.

Named a Sterling Professor at Yale in 2008, she delivered the 59th A. W. Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery of Art in 2010 and the Slade Lectures at Cambridge University in 2015; she will give the 8th OCAT lecture series in Beijing later in 2021.

For both her curatorial and scholarly work on ancient Mexico and the Maya, Dr. Miller has won national recognition, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Getty Grant. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society; in 2021 she received Yale’s Wilbur Cross Medal, the university’s highest award to its graduate alumni.

The author of many books and articles on ancient Mesoamerica and the Maya, Dr. Miller is currently leading the Pre-Hispanic Art Provenance Initiative, a collaborative initiative centered at the Getty Research Institute, to develop both comprehensive and individual provenance for the vast corpus of archaeological materials that were sold out of Mexico (and points south) to the United States and Europe, principally from 1939 onward, when the center of commerce moved to Los Angeles.

The Role of the Associate Director for Collections and Discovery

Reporting to the Director of the GRI, the AD-CD will oversee five core departments that collectively engage in the processes of collections development, acquisitions, processing, cataloguing, circulation and loans, research services, conservation, digitization, and long-term preservation and storage of both published and archival materials. The AD-CD will work closely with the heads of these departments and GRI leadership to articulate a clear vision for the future of GRI collections, access, and discovery, with a focus on amplifying GRI efforts to expand access to and visibility of digitized collections, electronic research resources and datasets, and online Library services.

The position holder will lead the development of an integrated and comprehensive vision for the future of GRI collecting, showing keen awareness of how a major subject-area research library needs to adapt its collecting practices in response to the needs of researchers with multidisciplinary backgrounds, hybrid (digital-physical) needs, and academic and alternative careers. The GRI has expanded beyond Eurocentric collecting to a global art history, with

archives that include Paul Revere Williams, Robert Farris Thompson, and Betye Saar, to name a few. GRI is committed to building the resources for 21st-century art history and visual culture.

The AD-CD should bring a fresh vision to Collections and Discovery, starting with a rigorous evaluation of the existing workflows and data management practices that underpin work across the GRI’s portfolio of discovery-related departments. It is essential that the AD-CD draw on the expertise and experience of department managers and other Getty staff, but be willing and able to bring new ideas and methods to the table and implement them with precision and leadership. The AD-CD will think inventively and will be an active partner in building connections, open communication, and relationships—both inside and outside the organization—that strengthen the GRI and help it attain its strategic goals.

The following departments and sections report to the AD-CD:

  • Special Collections Curatorial. Leads the ongoing development of the GRI’s Special Collections, which encompasses roughly 72,000 rare books, 27,000 single prints and drawings, 800 collections of rare photographs, and over 12,000 linear feet of manuscripts and archives, along with optical devices, architectural models, and audiovisual recordings. Curators conduct in-depth research on acquisitions and donations of archives and rare materials that will widen the possibilities for scholarly investigation of the history of visual culture worldwide and deepen understanding of art and cultural heritage. Curators follow a process of acquisitions development that is integrated and collaborative, seeking complementary materials in a variety of media and formats that both build on the existing strengths of the GRI’s Special Collections and help it expand into new areas. Curators enable greater access and discovery of special collections by contributing to post-acquisition work, including assisting archivists with research, finding aid creation, and other tasks; working with Library Reference Librarians to lead classes and workshops in Special Collections; researching, writing, and publishing scholarship; and contributing to the GRI’s exhibitions.
  • Getty Library. Operates as the largest art history library in the United States, collecting, organizing, preserving, and providing access to and services for a rich and unique record of human thought and creativity as expressed through the visual record. The Library fosters intellectual growth and supports the research missions of the Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, and scholarly communities worldwide. Distinctive strengths include its rich spectrum of resources, including 1.5 million volumes and other published materials. Over the past two decades, physical and online use of Library resources have increased, as have loans for both individual and institutional use. The Library comprises four major sub-areas, including Library Technical Services, Research Services, the Photo Archive, and the Getty Research Portal.
  • Institutional Records & Archives. Works with Programs across the Trust to process, deaccession, and retain the records and archival materials associated with the J. Paul Getty Trust. The department collects electronic and paper records of enduring value that document the organization’s history, and strives to preserve the intellectual and physical integrity of archival collections in the Institutional Archives. In addition, the department promotes effective and efficient work practices through improved organization of electronic and paper files, and ensures that appropriate information in all formats is kept for as long as the Getty is legally liable or as required for business purposes.
  • Conservation and Preservation. Manages the treatment, handling, and display of holdings in Special Collections, the Getty Library, and Institutional Records & Archives. With specialization in media such as works on paper, audiovisual materials of all formats, and architectural models, the department draws on the expertise of its staff as well as that of staff in the Getty Conservation Institute and other organizations to develop short- and long-term preservation plans that adhere to the American Institute of Conservation’s Code of Ethics and uphold the GRI’s commitment to enabling access to rare and unique materials for all researchers.
  • Special Collections Management. Collaborates with other departments throughout the GRI to ensure that Special Collections materials are safely transported, tracked and stored, re-housed in archival containers, documented in catalog records and finding aids that facilitate discovery of and access to the material, and made available to researchers both physically and digitally. The department includes the GRI’s Registrar’s Office, the Special Collections Cataloguing team, the Johnson Publishing Collection archival and digitization team, and staff who specialize in digitization planning, born-digital assets, and digital deposit and discovery.

Working with GRI senior leadership, the AD-CD will:

  • Oversee the acquisition and development of collections of all types that advance the GRI mission and support research in the history of art and adjacent fields, working to build on strengths while expanding into new areas.
  • Articulate a compelling vision of the role of a subject area-based research library and special collections in transformative times, leading and presenting that vision to the institutional community and the public.
  • Lead a team in addressing the complexity of discovery of visual culture worldwide in the 21st century, including printed books; archives of artists, architects, and scholars; dealer records; ephemera; prints and drawings; photographs; and other media, as well as the tools to access them.
  • Work with senior department managers to set meaningful and measurable goals for the entire division of Collections and Discovery, ensuring that departments ascribe to the single, unified mission of the GRI and strive to embed the Institute’s strategic priorities into their work; evaluate progress and outcomes annually, and encourage a strong culture of trust and shared accountability among direct reports.
  • Facilitate cooperation among staff members across the division, focusing on building interdepartmental teams that can tackle and resolve challenges related to collections development, cataloguing, metadata, digitization, and overall access and discovery.
  • Collaborate with senior department managers and other stakeholders to design and implement both immediate and long-term plans for remodeling the GRI’s physical spaces related to Collections and Discovery, which are used by staff, residential scholars, Library users, and the public, and which are located on the Getty Center campus and off-site.
  • Be committed to Getty’s strategic plan for increasing Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion across the institution, particularly its tenets regarding collections and programming, and deepening engagement with diverse communities locally and nationally.
  • Work closely with managers and other Getty stakeholders to optimize existing digital platforms and services core to the work of GRI asset discovery, circulation, and management (as manifested across the three collecting areas of the Library, Special Collections, and Institutional Records & Archives), and to identify opportunities for greater consolidation of work approaches and methods.
  • In collaboration with direct reports, assess staff skillsets from all reporting departments and levels, identifying opportunities for professional development, including managerial training; skills acquisition in new and emerging information technologies, library sciences, and data science; and learning how to train users and researchers on tools and technology increasingly used to communicate research and analytics.
  • Serve as a senior ambassador of the GRI to local, national, and international library and archive-based professional audiences, and work closely with direct reports and other senior staff to present a cohesive vision of the GRI’s activities related to Collections and Discovery to internal and external audiences.
  • Provide complete administrative and financial oversight for the division as a whole, including the establishment of detailed project budgets, accurate reporting and forecasting, and ongoing assessment of division resources, budgets, and staffing, making strategic and fiscal adjustments as necessary.
Desired Qualifications and Characteristics

The AD-CD will hold a Bachelor of Arts degree; an advanced degree is expected.

The AD-CD will be a recognized leader in their profession, with outstanding managerial skills and a well-established presence in the field of academic and/or research libraries and special collections, and a minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible experience in academic, library, or museum leadership, including experience managing both individuals and teams. The AD-CD will possess a sophisticated understanding of national trends in libraries and archives, particularly in light of the ever-changing digital and information technology landscape, and a strong working knowledge of current digital technologies and standards relevant to collections-based management and discovery practices.

The candidate must have the ability to build fulfilling partnerships, both inside the Getty and with national and international peer institutions. The AD-CD should be able to draw upon a strong and diverse network within professional and academic communities and be an active participant in professional networks both directly relevant to their area of specialization and outside it. The AD-CD must also have excellent oral and written communication skills and understand the necessity of communicating the work of libraries, archives, and the study of visual culture to more general audiences. The AD-CD must prioritize collaboration and clear communication with staff of all levels, and must possess significant change-management skills: the successful candidate will be able to point to successful past management of complex issues and will demonstrate an ability to remain calm in high-pressure situations. Lastly, the AD-CD must possess the ability to recruit, manage, and develop diverse staff; to strengthen the relationships among their direct reports and other staff members; and to demonstrate a personal commitment to ongoing professional development.

The successful candidate will possess:

  • Deep familiarity with and appreciation of the history of art;
  • Demonstrable skills in library or special collections administration and coordination;
  • Significant change-management skills;
  • A command of national and emerging trends in the fields of library- and collections-based organizational management;
  • Financial fluency and experience with detailed budget creation, oversight, and reporting;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, and a command of emerging media and technology used for project and process management;
  • A commitment to proactively growing diversity, equity, and inclusion across areas of outreach, staffing, and resource allocation; and,
  • A proven track record as an excellent team leader and facilitator, authoritative and decisive yet open-minded and encouraging of new ideas and diverse voices.
Compensation & Benefits

The targeted hiring range for this position is $145,492.88 – $196,414.40 annually. The Getty also offers a generous benefits package.

The Getty is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, citizenship or immigration status, color, disability, ethnicity, familial status, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other protected status.


Naree W.S. Viner and Tenley Bank of Koya Partners and Matthew Bunting of Storbeck Search have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials to Matthew Bunting here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

At Koya, we don’t just accept difference—we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve. For more information about Koya Partners, visit

About Storbeck Search

Storbeck Search, founded in 2007, is widely recognized as the leading firm that specializes in executive search in the education sector. Now part of the Diversified Search Group, Storbeck Search has deepened its networks and expanded its global reach, while maintaining its founding commitment to diversity and inclusion and its reputation for nimble and personalized service. For more information about Storbeck Search, visit