Curator - Japanese Art And Culture

Provincial Toronto Royal Ontario Museum

Bishop White Committee Curator of Japanese Art & Culture

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada’s celebrated international museum and houses important collections in art, culture and nature ( The ROM is the largest museum in Canada, attracting more than 1.3 million visitors per year, with an annual operating budget of $65 million, and is a world leader in communicating its research and collections to the public. The ROM features 40 galleries and exhibition spaces in its original heritage building and its 2007 Michael Lee-Chin Crystal designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind. Toronto, the fourth-largest city in North America, is a cosmopolitan, diverse city of 2.8 million people on Lake Ontario. The Greater Toronto Area has a population of 6.2 million in 2020 and is growing.

The ROM seeks a dynamic, energetic, innovative individual with a track record of success in exhibitions, public communication, and research. The successful candidate will be involved in developing and implementing a strategy to build, manage, and interpret the collection of Japanese Art & Culture and lead its interpretation and presentation to general and academic audiences. The new curator will have the opportunity to offer a fresh perspective on the impact and influence of Japanese art and culture on our contemporary world.

The ROM’s collection of Japanese Art & Culture is the largest in Canada with over 10,000 objects. The Edo and Meiji periods predominate, though the collection also includes archaeological artifacts from more than 1,400 years ago up to contemporary works by Japanese-Canadian artists. The ROM has important collections of Japanese prints, screens, ceramics, and arms and armor, and a rich and strong representation of inros, tsubas, netsukes, instruments and other decorative arts. The collection also includes Buddhist art. The ROM collection of Textiles & Costume also house important materials from Japan. This position is endowed by the ROM’s Bishop White Committee, a volunteer group founded in 1970 to support Asian art at the Museum.

The successful candidate will enjoy working with donors, collectors, scholars, external communities, and global partners with interests in Japanese art and culture, and will welcome interactions with many audiences, including families and children. The successful candidate will be a specialist in his/her field but interested in broad issues and questions related to Japanese Art & Culture that have relevance in the contemporary world. The position offers an opportunity to expand the ROM’s world-class collection and exhibition program into modern and contemporary art and culture, while maintaining its historic strengths. His/her knowledge should extend widely in regard to historical periods and media. The ROM is open to considering a range of candidates from an Associate Curator level to Senior Curator, consistent with the candidate’s experience and the strategic goals of the museum.

The Prince Takamado Japan Art & Culture gallery is currently closed while plans are being developed for a re-envisioned museum-wide gallery re-installation. The incoming curator will develop and implement temporary exhibitions, working with ROM’s collections and external partners such as the Japan Foundation and the Gardner Museum, to bring Japanese art and culture programming to the ROM community. The new curator will be called upon to play a central role in developing and curating a new permanent Japanese Gallery, in the future, with specific timing TBD and based on ROM gallery master planning activities.

Posted DateClosing DateDepartmentTypeSalary
Art & Culture
Compensation (governed by Collective Agreement): $67,144 to $143,367 per annum (commensurate with rank and experience) Full benefit coverage includes medical and dental plan, life insurance, long term disability, and pension NOTE: This is a unionized p


Education & Experience:

  • A Ph.D. in Japanese art history or a closely related field at the time of appointment, or the equivalent in professional experience, exhibitions and publications.
  • A research specialization in some aspect of Japanese art and culture, combined with broader interests in the field.
  • A strong background of work within a museum environment, knowledge of peer institutions, and experience developing and implementing exhibitions, and working with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Knowledge of and experience with the dynamics of cultural heritage in contemporary works.
  • Proficiency in Japanese, both written and spoken; ability to read classical literary Japanese is an asset.
  • A record of peer-reviewed publications or catalogues is required. Suitable credentials for cross-appointment to the University of Toronto or similar program is considered a strong asset.
  • Interest in and knowledge of Korean art and culture is an asset.

The ROM Curator will be expected to:

  • curate the ROM’s Japanese Art & Culture and related collections, and build the collection in new directions;
  • conduct or oversee research on ROM collections within his/her area of specialization, as well as facilitate research on the collection by outside/visiting scholars;
  • participate in the development of special exhibitions and temporary exhibitions, and in the planning for re-envisioning the Prince Takamado Gallery of Japanese Art & Culture;
  • develop a program of externally-funded, original, scholarly research and publications, usually relating to ROM collections and exhibitions;
  • actively contribute to the development of public programming in a variety of formats, from on-site to on-line;
  • participate in the development and implementation of plans to engage community stakeholders, including Japanese-Canadian communities in Toronto and throughout Canada;
  • participate in fundraising activities to support ROM initiatives related to Japanese art and culture and the ROM’s Japanese collection;
  • act as liaison with the Bishop White Committee and participate in meetings and events as appropriate;
  • participate in fulfilling the teaching mission of the museum, through university teaching and/or through supervision of interns at the museum;
  • work with the ROM Library, which holds many rare examples of books and scrolls, to continue to build resources on the study of Japanese Art & Culture;
  • have an excellent command of spoken and written English.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Exhibitions:

Work collaboratively with educators, exhibition teams, designers and artists in the development, creation, interpretation, and installation of special exhibitions and permanent galleries

  • Research, Publications, Programs, Collections:

Collaborate with curatorial colleagues, collectors, patrons, and cultural organizations to generate important exhibitions, publications, and public programs

Take responsibility for the Japanese collection, including study, rotation and display, care and record-keeping, provenance research, digitizing and publication

Build and refine the collection into new areas, such as modern and contemporary art and culture

Help maintain and promote the Korean collection and galleries

Maintain professional affiliations in scholarly and museum curatorial organizations, professional societies, and relevant committees

  • Fundraising:

In collaboration with fundraising staff, actively cultivate support for exhibitions, galleries, programs, symposia, acquisitions, research grants, and fellowships through association with professional organizations, foundations, and patrons at the local and national level, and abroad, especially in East Asia.

  • Public Program/Outreach:

Prepare and give lectures, tours, and workshops to the general public, volunteers, professional colleagues, and other groups

Personal Characteristics

  • Ability to multi-task and handle competing demands within a large, multi-layered, and active museum
  • Ambitious for the institution and its efforts to develop strong networks into the local community and with established international scholars and institutions
  • Bring an interest in leveraging interdisciplinary possibilities and programs to build collaborative partnerships internally and externally
  • Intellectually curious with an appetite to engage on a wide array of topics
  • Sensitive to cultural heritage
  • Has high emotional intelligence
  • Enjoys working as part of a strong and integrated team


How to Apply

The ROM will begin reviewing applications on or after November 1, 2020; the posting will continue until the position is filled. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply for this international search. However, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Nominations are welcome.

To apply in confidence, email 1) a letter expressing interest in this particular position, giving brief examples of past exhibition experience and proposed research areas and projects; 2) a curriculum vitae; 3) names of three (3) references with contact information. Submit application by October 5, 2020 to retained search firm: Connie Rosemont, Museum Search & Reference, For additional information and images, visit:

Short-listed candidates subsequently will be asked to provide publication samples.

The ROM is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. Upon request, suitable accommodations are available under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) to applicants invited to an interview.

About Toronto

Toronto is the fourth-largest city in North America. It is the country’s financial and business capital, and it welcomes 40 million tourists a year. It supports a lively arts and culture scene that includes museums, galleries, performing arts organizations, festivals (including the pre-eminent Toronto International Film Festival), a diverse restaurant scene and many working artists. It is home to 5 universities and 4 colleges. Toronto’s housing and job market, economic development and population growth have been expanding rapidly over the past decade, and it is recognized as one of the most diverse and multi-cultural cities in the world with 47 percent of the population self-reporting as “part of a visible minority.”

One of the most livable cities in the world, Toronto is ranked as the safest metropolitan area in North America. It has many excellent public schools and a comprehensive public transportation system that includes buses, metros, trolleys, and a public bike program. The city has trendy and up-and-coming neighborhoods while at the same time, there are quiet neighborhoods providing an escape beyond the bustle of downtown. Lake Ontario makes up the southern boundary of the city and provides many kilometers of beautiful, accessible waterfront. The city has many parks, and there are also many recreational opportunities near the city for canoeing, hiking, and outdoor beauty. Toronto is surrounded by Ontario’s Greenbelt, a 2-million-acre area of green space, farmland, forests, wetlands and watersheds that provide multiple farmers’ markets and local food options within easy reach. Niagara Falls is less than 2 hours away and sits adjacent to southern Ontario’s wine-growing region.

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