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Curator of Bonsai
Category: Horticulture

Chicago Botanic Garden
Chicago, Illinois

Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Curator of Bonsai

Chicago Botanic Garden

Title: Curator of Bonsai
Exemption Status: Exempt (Salaried)
Department:   Horticulture
Reports to: Director of Horticulture
Regular or Seasonal: Regular
Full-time or Part-time: Full-time
Supervises: Volunteers
Position Overview
To develop, maintain, interpret and exhibit a pre-eminent collection of bonsai.
In this role you will be responsible for the following:  
  • Maintain the health and artistic integrity of the collection through pruning, watering, wiring, fertilizing, repotting, training and providing all aspects of culture necessary for bonsai.  Determine the styling of the bonsai in the collection in consultation with Susumu Nakumura, Bonsai Master. Work with Plant Health Care department to anticipate, prevent or control insect and disease problems for each individual bonsai.
  • Prepare an annual summary for the Executive Vice President and Director specific to the scope and performance of the collection.
  • Manage curatorial activities of the collection including verification, procurement, deaccessioning and documentation.  Implement the Chicago Botanic Garden Bonsai plan. Maintain complete inventory of all bonsai specimens. Keep detailed records on plant care. Set broad long-range objectives for collection programs and processes.
  • Coordinate the public display of bonsai including special exhibits and supporting alarm systems.  Provide content for interpretive signage.
  • Work closely with the Bonsai Volunteer Group. Work with Director, Volunteer Services, to recruit, train and schedule volunteers to care for the collection.
  • Work closely with Education, Visitor Operations, Collections, Maintenance, Security, Development, Communications.
  • Collaborate outside the Garden with groups such as professionals, plant societies and other institutions to enhance the Garden’s capacity to share knowledge and further the use and understanding of the collection.
  • Write articles and present lectures related to bonsai and their care. Lead tours of collection.  Complete interviews for television, radio and newspapers. Provide information about Bonsai to other departments.
  • Pursue opportunities for donation of plants to collection and funding to support development and maintenance of the collection.
  • Work with Public Relations and Marketing to get local and national exposure for the bonsai collection.
  • Serve on interdepartmental teams and work groups as requested.
  • Our ideal candidate will have: 
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture or commensurate experience.
  • Ten years experience in developing and training bonsai.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.  
  • Ability to work occasional weekends and nights.
  • Licensed driver insurable by the Chicago Horticultural Society.
Physical Demands: 
  • Able to lift and carry 25 pounds.  
Why Apply?
The Chicago Botanic Garden has one of the top public bonsai collections and displays in North America, and popular shows that are well-attended by the public.  The Midwest Bonsai Society is an enthusiastic collaborator with the Garden.  Be the person to expand the content, diversity, and beauty of this great collection.
Please note applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.
Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

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