Call for 2021 Guest Curator Proposals


Two exhibitions, two opportunities!

Five Oaks Museum presents two major exhibitions each year that are curated by community members of all backgrounds and experience levels. The application period to submit exhibition proposals is now open! Because the museum’s building is closed due to the pandemic, the 2021 exhibitions will be entirely online and featured prominently on the museum’s website. The Guest Curator applications are reviewed by a panel of community members and awarded by a voting process. 


Art Exhibition: Opens July 2021

Each summer the museum features an art exhibition. Proposals for this exhibition are encouraged, but not required, to be multidisciplinary. Relative to the history and culture exhibition, the art exhibition is smaller in duration, budget, and compensation; proposals should be mindful of those parameters. There is no standard curriculum component for summer exhibitions. 

Proposals for exhibitions opening in the summer are required to feature art; they are welcome, but not required, to include additional cultural and historical elements.


History and Culture Exhibition: Opens October 2021

The museum’s history and culture exhibition follows the academic calendar in order to offer a thoughtful and exciting cultural resource that can support curriculum offerings for area schools from elementary through college. This school-year length exhibition sees the heaviest traffic of all the museum’s exhibitions and as such, the History and Culture Guest Curatorship is a deeper engagement than the Art Guest Curatorship. The History and Culture Guest Curatorship includes a research period in the museum’s collections and archives and delivering a public talk. 

Proposals for school-year exhibitions are required to have historical and cultural elements; they are welcome, but not required, to include art.


Strong proposals will:
  • Connect the museum’s locale to important issues of our times; engage viewers in local and global considerations.
  • Illuminate nuanced, under-explored or under-represented perspectives; have inroads for multiple interpretations.
  • Be strongly rooted in the communities whose stories are being told; be accessible for a wide range of folks.
  • Be inter-disciplinary and multi-media.
  • Demonstrate strong potential for related curriculum at the elementary, high school and college level.
  • Demonstrate the applicant’s readiness to manage the communications and logistics required to execute the proposal successfully.

Curator Responsibilities

The following are the areas where Guest Curators have primary responsibility. Staff will serve as supporters or collaborators in any of these areas as long as the Guest Curator clearly indicates that need and/or desire.

Art Guest Curator will:

  • Conceptualize exhibition 
  • Identify artist(s) and manage communications with them throughout
  • Track budget use details 
  • Adhere to project deadlines
  • Provide exhibition layout and design
  • Oversee virtual installation
  • Write curator statement
  • Deliver comments at opening event
  • Ensure successful project wrap-up

History and Culture Guest Curator will:

  • Conceptualize exhibition 
  • Identify contributors and manage communications with them throughout 
  • Conduct research and provide written summary
  • Compile list of museum artifacts and resources to be utilized
  • Track budget use details
  • Adhere to project deadlines
  • Provide exhibition layout and design
  • Oversee virtual installation
  • Write curator statement
  • Deliver comments at opening event
  • Deliver a public curator talk
  • Ensure successful project wrap-up

Museum Responsibilities

  • Provide guidance and resources to ensure exhibition success
  • Create promotional materials and press releases
  • Coordinate payment of participants
  • Provide project schedule, tracking templates, and web exhibition template
  • Review exhibition text and materials
  • Create history and culture exhibition curriculum

Financial Arrangements


Guest Curators have discretion over their exhibition budgets. Curators’ budgets are designated for expenses such as contributor/artist fees, display materials and supplies, shipping, and printing and collateral costs. Other expenses including marketing, event management, photography, staff time, insurance for objects, and more are covered by the museum. Guest Curators submit an explanation of planned expenses early in the project and will work with the staff to ensure clear division of cost coverage and overall feasibility. All financial transactions are handled by the museum.

Art exhibition budget: $1,000
History and culture exhibition budget: $3,000


Guest Curators receive a fixed stipend as compensation for the entire project. Stipends are paid 50% at the beginning of the work period and 50% at completion. Recipients must submit a W9. Engagement after the Guest Curatorship cycle concludes may be voluntary or compensated on a case-by-case basis.

Art exhibition stipend: $1,500 **stipend increase!
History and culture exhibition stipend: $3,500
**stipend increase!

2021 Guest Curator Selection Panel

To be announced.

Project Timeline

December 2020
  • Application period opens Tuesday, Dec 1.
  • Info Session #1: Tues, 12/8 at 7p Register Here
  • Info Session #2: Mon, 12/14 at 1p Register Here
January 2021
  • 2021 Guest Curator Selection Panel reviews applications and votes
  • Guest Curator Selection announced in second half of month
  • Both Guest Curatorships begin
  • Research period begins for History and Culture Guest Curator; regular bi-weekly meetings begin
  • Exhibition planning begins for Art Guest Curator; regular bi-weekly meetings begin; conduct research; round out/finalize exhibition concept
  • History and Culture Guest Curator continues research
  • Art Guest Curator confirms artists to be included; preliminary checklist of artwork
  • History and Culture Guest Curator research bibliography and all museum materials lists due at end of month
  • Art Guest Curator confirms checklist of artworks and artwork delivery plan
  • History and Culture Guest Curator begins exhibition planning, text drafting begins
  • Art Guest Curator completes curatorial statement and exhibition layout draft; meetings become weekly
  • Complete virtual installation of Summer exhibition – Wed July 1 
  • Opening event for art exhibition – Between July 8 and 17
  • History and Culture Guest Curator has rough draft of text mid-month, preliminary checklist for review; finalizes text & incorporates museum feedback end of month
  • Museum begins creating school year learning curriculum materials
  • Art Guest Curatorship concludes
  • History and Culture Guest Curator completes text layout
  • Complete virtual installation of history and culture exhibition
  • Opening event for history and culture exhibitionBetween Oct 1 and 9
  • Curator talk event takes place within three months of opening, concluding History and Culture Guest Curatorship


*Please note that this timeline is not completely fixed, but does contain some firm deadlines. Five Oaks Museum will work with the Guest Curators’ schedule throughout the project as needed.

Contact for more information

We are offering four virtual info sessions for you to ask questions and learn more about the two Guest Curator opportunities. Register to receive the Zoom link.


This is the second cycle of this program, so we understand that we will be learning alongside you in some cases. If you need clarification, additional information, or other support please reach out to Molly Alloy, Co-Director and Guest Curator Program manager, at