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Registrar Unit Head

  • Organisation:Zayed National Museum
  • Location:Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
  • Contract type:Full Time

The UAE’s National Museum, telling the story of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, his unification of the United Arab Emirates, the history of the region and its cultural connections across the world.

Designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster, the Zayed National Museum’s distinctive towers are reminiscent of the wing tips of the falcon – a powerful symbol of the UAE’s rich cultural heritage.

The galleries are inspired by Sheikh Zayed’s strongly held values, such as a passionate belief in education, conservation, environment, sustainability, heritage and culture, all underpinned by his humanitarianism and strong faith.

Visitors will learn about changes to the environment over millions of years and the formation of resources that through time have influenced society, trade and economic development. They will explore evidence for people living in this area from 200,000 years ago until the present.

The museum has been founded for all including UAE citizens and international visitors, in the spirit of Sheikh Zayed’s work and the renowned warmth that he extended to people from all walks of life. Zayed National Museum will be a public and civic building and a centre of learning and discussion.

The Registrar Unit Head has responsibility for managing the Registration Unit of the museum, overseeing and setting the documentation standards across the museum and overseeing the content, terminologies and standards of the collections management system (CMS) and  the metadata held in the digital assets management system (DAMS), documentation and digitisation of the collection to support curatorial and research activities and promote access to the collection, managing the accessioning & deaccessioning of collection items, and managing the storage, movement and handling of all owned and loaned collections.

  • The Registrar Unit Head will work with the Curatorial Department to coordinate and deliver the new acquisitions for the permanent collections; build and maintain relationships with third- party contractors to enable the successful delivery of the Zayed National Museum loans; coordinate and deliver the administration of the incoming and outgoing loan programmes.
  • Manage the registration and record keeping of the museum’s collection;
  • Manage all loan negotiations and logistics for owned and loaned objects, artefacts and art for permanent galleries, incoming temporary exhibitions and outward touring exhibitions.
  • Manage the registrarial staff, storage supervisor(s) of the unit including recruitment & selection, assigning projects & operational activities, identifying priorities, performance management and development.


  • Support the Collections Management and Conservation Section Head in developing operations and manual for art/object handling & storage, documentation & due diligence & loans management.
  • Lead on the establishment of the documentation processes, data standards and terminology control of the collections management system (CMS) & digital asset management system (DAMS).
  • Oversee and collate the acquisitions & commissions due-diligence, accessioning & documentation process.
  • Oversee the review of all acquisition, gift and loan agreements.
  • Manage all requests for access to collections and track movement of collection items.
  • Arrange the incoming loans for initial gallery set-up.
  • Support the development of the integrated pest management (IPM) strategy for the museum in collaboration with the section head and conservation unit and the Facilities Management section.
  • Lead the coordination of exhibition installations, including shipping, loans, contracting and supervising installers.
  • Work with the Exhibitions and Displays Department and other colleagues to ensure the timetable for loans and object installation is in line with other work streams.
  • Assist recruitment and selection of direct-reports, and of the wider collection management & conservation internal teams and outsourced contractors.


  • Oversee the management of the CMS and DAMS ensuring the continued updating and maintenance of records of acquisitions, accessioned objects, & location of objects within the museum collection.
  • Oversee the composition of concise description of objects, and record descriptions co-ordinating with Curatorial staff as required.
  • Oversee the movement, packing, and shipping of objects to conform with insurance regulations and art transport damage or deterioration to objects has not occurred.
  • Ensure compliance with the documentation standards and customs documentation and oversee the development and implementation of training materials to ensure the training of others in documentation protocols.
  • Manage the successful delivery of loans to and from Zayed National Museum, and oversee the coordination and administration of the incoming and the outgoing loan programmes.
  • Manage and coordinate activities with UAE and international lenders, couriers, transport agents, shippers, etc., for successful loan of objects.
  • Manage and coordinate relationships with dealers, collectors and donors throughout the acquisition process.
  • Periodically review and evaluate registration and catalogue system to maintain applicability, consistency, and operation.
  • Recommend changes in recordkeeping procedures to achieve maximum accessibility to and efficient retrieval of collection objects.
  • Arrange for insurance of objects in the permanent collection, on loan or in special exhibitions, or recommend insurance coverage on parts of or the entirety of the collection, including executing applications for indemnification of international exhibitions, maintaining insurance coverage and computing premiums when due, and liaising with Finance staff to process liability and damage claims.
  • Serve as a courier accompanying valuable objects in transit as required. Accompany art to offsite storage or airport cargo facility, oversee palletization, containerization and security; coordinate with customs broker; supervise loading and unloading of crates at airport, on behalf of the borrowing museum or other venues.


Required Experience

  • Minimum of 5 years of experience
  • At least 3+ of increasing levels of responsibility in a collections management department of a museum with a similar type of diverse collections
  • Experience in negotiating and managing contracts.
  • Proven experience as a registrar with years of developing and maintaining CMS and DAMS, overseeing large scale gallery or exhibition installations or rotations thereof.
  • Knowledge of health & safety issues.
  • Knowledge of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies and techniques.
  • Experience of working with international museums on incoming & outgoing loans, travelling exhibitions & arranging access to collections for research purposes.
  • Previous experience of managing and entering data on CMS databases.
  • Knowledge of data standards & terminology.
  • Knowledge of cultural property legislation & conventions, e.g. CITES, ICOM
  • Analytical skills necessary to establish an inventory control systems.
  • Fluency in English.

Preferred Experience

  • Experience of overseeing the relocation of a museum / institution collection.
  • Experience in-putting towards the design and set-up of museum collection storage facilities.
  • Oversee the accessioning of a large collection into the relevant CMS and DAMS.
  • Previous experience as a loans / exhibition registrar.
  • Project Management.

Required Education / Qualifications

  • Degree-level in a relevant subject, e.g. history, museum studies, archaeology.

Preferred Education

  • Postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject, e.g. museum studies, cultural heritage management.
  • Member of professional registrars group.

To Apply

To apply, please send your CV and cover letter to [email protected]

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