Closed: Call for History & Culture Guest Curator Proposals


About the History & Culture Guest Curatorship

The Application Period is currently closed. This opportunity remains on view as an in depth description of the guest curator program.


The History and Culture Guest Curatorship is an opportunity to create a research-based physical exhibition featuring cultural and historical content.

Five Oaks Museum has a 65 year history: a former county historical society that grew into an independent nonprofit museum, it was reborn in January of 2020 as a platform for culturally embedded history, arts and culture. The institution makes space for challenging dialogues and critique, and values innovative, accessible learning opportunities.

The guest curator program at the museum de-centers the authoritative voice of major exhibitions, entrusting communities with their own cultural storytelling. Guest Curators have creative control over the design, content, and texts of a physical exhibition in the museum’s gallery. Staff will support Guest Curators in utilizing the museum’s cultural resources, developing curriculum, and logistical and project management as needed.

History and Culture Exhibition:

The History & Culture Guest Curatorship is a stipended project designed to be achievable for folks with other work and personal commitments. Five Oaks Museum staff, especially the Cultural Resources Manager, Head of Integrated Learning, and Co-Director, will work collaboratively and in support of the Guest Curators throughout to ensure the project runs smoothly and to share the workload with the Guest Curator.

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. 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.

  • 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 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
  • Create online exhibition with guest curator input

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.

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.

History and culture exhibition stipend: $4,000

2022 History and Culture Guest Curator Selection Panel

Our exhibitions are selected by a panel of community members who represent various perspectives and groups with connections and expertise relevant to our history and culture exhibitions.

2021 History & Culture Guest Curator – Israel Pastrana

Cultural Resources Committee Representative – Alanna Colwell

PCC Student Representative – Kaadish Oaxaca-Najera

Local K-12 Educator – Paula Inglett

History/Museum Professional – Nicole Yasuhara

Project Timeline

July 2021
  • Info Session 1: Thurs 8/5, 12 – 1pm, in person at the museum
  • Info Session 2: Wed 8/18, 7 – 8pm, virtual over zoom View Powerpoint
  • Applications close September 1, 2021 at midnight
  • 2021 history and culture exhibition opens October 2, 2021
  • Onboard 2022 H&C Curator; meet the museum staff
November & December
  • Research period begins for 2022 H&C Curator, including research in the museum archive
January 2022
  • H&C Guest Curator research bibliography and all museum materials lists due at end of month
  • H&C Guest Curator begins exhibition planning and text drafting
  • H&C Guest Curator continues exhibition planning and text drafting
  • Begin event planning, coordinating object loans, other needs
  • H&C Guest Curator has rough draft of text mid-month, preliminary checklist for review
  • H&C Guest Curator finalizes text & incorporates museum feedback end of month
  • Museum begins creating learning materials associated with the exhibition
  • 2022 art exhibition opens
  • H&C Guest Curator completes text layout and sends texts for printing mid month (at least six weeks before opening), communications for exhibition announcement
  • Installation in gallery at end of the month
  • 2022 history and culture exhibition opens
  • Curator talk event takes place within three months of opening, concluding 2022 H&C 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 two info sessions for you to ask questions and learn more about the History and Culture Guest Curator opportunity. Both sessions contain the same content.

  • Info Session 1: Thurs 8/5, 12 – 1pm, in person at the museum
  • Info Session 2: Wed 8/18, 7 – 8pm, virtual over zoom View Powerpoint

Our support of our guest curators begins with the application process. You are welcome to discuss your concept and how to strengthen your application with museum staff, as staff do not participate in the selection committee. This is the third 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