Job Announcements

Curator of Manuscripts

The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) located in Boston, Massachusetts seeks a Curator of Manuscripts. This is a full-time (35 hours per week) position: Monday-Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. While some remote work may be possible, the individual in this position works primarily onsite.

The Massachusetts Historical Society

The MHS is an independent research library founded in 1791 for the threefold purpose of collecting, preserving, and disseminating sources for the study of American history. The MHS holds more than 3,600 manuscript collections, as well as extensive collections of early American imprints, newspapers, maps, printed ephemera, photographs, engravings, and other research materials. The Society’s collecting focuses primarily on personal papers of individuals and families from Massachusetts and records of organizations, primarily non-profits such as churches and clubs. The MHS has no chronological cut-off date and continues to collect manuscripts dating from the 17th century to the present, as well as born-digital and hybrid collections.

Duties: The Curator of Manuscripts (CoM) will be responsible for collecting, donor relations, appraisal, selection, and accessioning of manuscripts in accordance with the Society’s collecting policy. The CoM is a member of the Collections Services department, reporting directly to the Senior Vice President for Collections and Content Development. Together with the Curator of Rare Books and Visual Materials and the Lead Archivist for Digital and Web Initiatives, the CoM is one of a three-person team that helps to set direction for the department. The CoM will assist with current Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion collecting initiatives to broaden the representation of individuals and organizations in the Society’s holdings. The CoM will be the primary point of contact for potential donors and must periodically make local site visits to assess and transport collections to the MHS.

The CoM will oversee the processing staff (3 FTE) and will help to develop policies, procedures, and workflows for implementing minimal and iterative processing standards. The CoM will supervise the Conservator and Preservation Librarian and set priorities for conservation treatment and repair. The CoM will help manage the processing backlog and maintain lists of acquisitions for reports. 

Required qualifications:

  • ALA-accredited Master’s degree in library and information science, with a concentration or significant coursework in archives management

  • A minimum of five years of experience working with manuscript collections, including 18th and 19th century material

  • Demonstrated experience cultivating and maintaining relationships with current and potential donors

  • Experience with the appraisal of archival materials

  • Knowledge of relevant standards and best practices for archival description, including EAD, and demonstrated experience processing manuscript collections

  • The ability to easily read cursive handwriting (finalists may be required to take a transcription test)

  • Flexibility, self-motivation, and the ability to work independently and as part of a team

  • Demonstrated ability to write clearly and succinctly

  • Strong planning and organizational skills with the ability to prioritize and multi-task

  • Capacity to lift at least 40 lbs.

  • Access to a car and a willingness to drive to locations within the New England area


Preferred qualifications:

  • At least three years of experience supervising archival staff

  • Knowledge of Massachusetts history

  • Knowledge of preservation and conservation


Salary and benefits: The MHS offers a competitive benefits package and salary commensurate with experience.


Application procedure: Send a cover letter, resume, and the names of three references, by e-mail (no calls, please), to:
Brenda Lawson, Senior Vice President for Collections and Content Development

Availability: This position is available immediately. Applications must be received by September 1, 2022 for consideration.



Events Specialist

Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) is an invaluable resource for American history, life, and culture. Its extraordinary collections tell the story of America through millions of rare and unique documents, artifacts, and irreplaceable national treasures. Their mission is to promote understanding of the history of Massachusetts and the nation by collecting and communicating materials and resources that foster historical knowledge. The MHS envisions a world where historical understanding is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy.

The MHS has a commitment to a full presentation of the historical record and aims to be inclusive, open, and fair in all that they do. Toward these ends, they practice and encourage transparent communication in all interactions. They continue to seek, engage, and employ people of all backgrounds as they foster a culture of respect, openness, learning, integrity, and honesty—especially in the face of the sometimes difficult historical truths the organization must preserve and present.

The Opportunity:

Reporting to the Director of Development, the Event Specialist (ES) is an integral member of a Development Department currently consisting of four full time staff. As ES, you will be responsible for the logistical and tactical operations needed to develop and execute high-quality events for MHS’s donors, supporters, and key stakeholders. These events will include a signature-Gala event, up to 10 smaller development-centric events, and supporting the President’s Office with individual donor meetings. You will be successful in this role if you’re a detail-oriented event professional looking to join a nimble and motivated team at an established and growing cultural institution. The ES will have two main areas of focus:

  • The planning and execution of development events, including the Making History Gala

  • Support for President Office donor, prospect, and other VIP meetings and select special events

This is an exciting opportunity to join The Massachusetts Historical Society Development Department as they embark on several exciting projects to expand the scope and impact of the Society’s work. The MHS Development Department is committed to mentorship and professional development for team members including access to skill development courses and opportunities to attend local conferences.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Working with the Director of Development, manage all aspects of planning and execution of all development-centric events, including President Circle Dinners, events for Life and Trustee Emeriti, Planned Giving Society, and Young Patrons Group. These aspects include:

    • identification and negotiations with all vendors (including hotels, catering, photography, audiovisual, and others)

    • management of food & beverage

    • design and execution of invitations and tracking of RSVPs

    • creation of all event signage and collateral

    • organization and tracking of seating assignments

    • development and management of event “run of show”

    • provision of day-of support at the event

    • preparation of event budgets, and management and tracking of all costs

  • Design Gala event in conjunction with the Director of Development and President, and then manage all elements of planning and execution of this event, which, in addition to the aspects outlined above, includes:

    • coordination with keynote speaker(s) and honorees

    • support for the Gala Committee, including scheduling, tracking RSVPS and the taking of minutes

    • provision of regular updates to key stakeholders, including Director of Development and President

    • distribution of thank you gifts to speakers, committee members, and others

    • development of distribution plan for photographs to key attendees

    • oversight of the editing of the Gala recording and distribution of final video

  • Assist with planning of smaller meet-and-greet events with President’s Office

  • Assist President’s Office with planning of special events for Trustees, Advisors and Honorary Fellows as well as annual thank you event for volunteers

  • Assist Development Team with management of interactions with prospective donors


There are innumerable ways to learn, grow, and excel professionally. We respect this when we review applications and take a broad look at the experience of each applicant. We want to get to know you and the unique strengths you will bring to the work. This said, we are most likely to be interested in your candidacy if you can demonstrate the majority of the qualifications and experiences listed below.

  • Bachelor’s degree and 3-5 years of event planning and execution experience in non-profit or academic environment

  • Experience doing Gala-level events

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

  • Exceptional organizational abilities and proven project management skills with the ability to prioritize, multi-task, and meet deadlines

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and Zoom

  • Driven and motivated with a high level of attention to detail

  • Collaborative workstyle both within the organization and with external constituencies

  • Good judgement and discretion, especially when working with confidential information

  • Genuine interest in the Society’s mission

Of Added Value:

  • Competency with Blackbaud Altru or a comparable database, specifically with event management and maintaining constituent records

  • Experience with Adobe Acrobat, DonorSearch, Constant Contact, Survey Monkey, Issuu

  • A good sense of humor and collegial attitude

  • Innovative and open to change, with creative instinct

Reporting Relationships:

This position reports to the Director of Development.

The ES may assist with supervising volunteers and interns on related activities.

Compensation and Benefits:

The salary for this role is very competitive. The Massachusetts Historical Society offers a generous benefits package including:

  • Medical, dental, and life insurance

  • Medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts

  • Vacation starting at three weeks plus 12-14 holidays per year

  • Retirement benefits with an employer match of up to 4%

  • Pre-tax commuter benefits and a monthly public transportation incentive

  • Reciprocal entrance to many local education and cultural institutions

Making the Decision to Apply:

To apply to this position, please email a resume and a thoughtfully written cover letter to Director of Development, Victoria McKay via

The ES position is full-time and requires availability for evening and occasional weekend work. A partially hybrid work arrangement may be agreed upon, but it is expected that the ES will staff events in person, and commute to the office for meetings and crossover time with the rest of the Development Team. The Massachusetts Historical Society is located in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. The position may require minimal travel within Boston. MHS requires proof of vaccination and booster for COVID-19 for all employees.


The Society is an equal opportunity employer.

We aim to be a diverse workforce that is representative, at all job levels, of the citizens we serve. Candidates of all backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to apply. We are committed to creating a work place free from harassment and discrimination on the basis of race, color, ancestry, religious creed, gender identity and expression, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, genetic information, disability, military or veteran status, or any other category protected by law (also known as membership in a "protected class"). We offer a competitive benefits package and salary commensurate with experience.