Curator of Natural History
The High Desert Museum
Location: Bend, Oregon
Title: Curator of Natural History
Classification: Salaried/regular full-time Reports To: Director of Programs
Supervises: Associated interns and volunteers
High Desert Museum – Organization Description
The High Desert Museum is a non-profit organization focused on the biotic and cultural elements of the High Desert region of the Western United States. Located near Bend, Oregon, on the edge of the beautiful Deschutes National Forest, the Museum melds the natural history of diverse habitat types with human history of the environment into a unique blend of indoor and outdoor exhibits, living history and both living and historic collections.
Job Summary – Curator of Natural History
High Desert Museum seeks a Curator of Natural History to expand the Museum’s natural history collection and provide all aspects of research, exhibition, and program development. The Curator of Natural History will have the intellectual vision and practical skills necessary to present, interpret and build a vibrant collection of natural history specimens that will be utilized in thought-provoking exhibitions. The Museum emphasizes scholarship: the successful candidate will have a familiarity with current scientific and popular literature and will incorporate this knowledge into programs and exhibits and be a motivated researcher. Specifically, the applicant must have a proven record of creating and effectively managing the production of exhibits on diverse natural history themes. The Curator is a key member of the curatorial team. In collaboration with this team and the Curator of Wildlife, the Curator writes text and develops vibrant, compelling and innovative exhibits. Consulting with other experts in the field and establishing partnerships in the community will further enhance the Museum’s role as a resource for wildlife, natural history and conservation information. We seek an individual with innovative programming concepts and delivery who applies their expertise to inspire our visitors to learn more about natural history, and the relationship between people and the natural and cultural resources of the region. The successful candidate will conduct public education programs and must have excellent presentation and written skills. Teaching experience, and experience working with collections is a plus.
High levels of professionalism and collaboration, a positive demeanor and the ability to learn new skills quickly are essential traits. We look at each candidate in terms of combined skills; different combinations of skills can serve to qualify for the position.
• M.A. in zoology, biology, ecology or related field required; or combination of education and work experience (BA, supplemented with 2 years curatorial experience).
• A thorough knowledge of natural history with specific expertise in the High Desert and Intermountain West regions.
• Proven curatorial track record of creating compelling exhibitions and publications.
• Experience in effective and dynamic public speaking, educational programs and lectures, and creating and teaching standards-based curriculum.
• Excellent communication skills and ability to effectively communicate, both verbally and in writing, the importance of natural history and specimens.
• Working knowledge of MS Office suite.
• Ability to set and meet deadlines and budgets.
• Proven ability to work as part of a team, establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with fellow employees, volunteers and general public.
• Ability to work flexible hours and days as necessary.
Responsibilities and Tasks
1. Plans and executes natural history exhibitions with the Exhibits Team—including specimen collecting, loan coordination and transportation, exhibit design and installation, didactic label information and essays for collateral publications.
2. As a member of the Programs Department, participates in defining and articulating exhibit/program objectives and expected outcomes based on identifiable audience needs/interests and target audience segments. This includes providing expertise in developing, planning and implementing school and public programs.
3. In conjunction with the Collections Committee, adheres to the Museum’s Collection Management Policy and develops long range planning of the collection.
4. Conducts independent research relative to the Museum’s collection, objects on loan and/or materials being considered for acquisitions.
5. Researches and produces scholarly essays for publications.
6. Organizes the presentation of lectures and excursions to diverse audiences.
7. Collaborates with the Curator of Wildlife to plan and lead lectures, trips, tours and interpretive programs with an emphasis on local and regional natural history to diverse audiences.
8. As part of the Exhibits and Programs Teams, collaborates in the development and presentation of exhibitions and adjunct programming, and may supervise various interns as appropriate.
9. Oversees exhibition design and development while adhering to deadlines and budgets.
10. Represents the Museum at professional meetings, forums and/or workshops as required.
11. Provides curatorial content, research and planning for exhibit design, construction and renovation, including participating in the Museum’s changing exhibition program and permanent exhibits.
12. Contributes curatorial content to exhibit-related programming.
13. Complies with all Museum policies, procedures and safety regulations.
14. Manages schedules and budgets for temporary and permanent exhibits.
15. Collaborates with the Curator of Wildlife to collect specimens, objects and materials in accordance with the Collections Management Policy and Strategic Collecting Plan.
16. Cultivates and maintains new and existing donors to enhance the Museum’s natural history collection.
17. Develops and maintains partnerships with organizations and institutions throughout the region.
18. Conducts training of education staff, interns, teen and adult volunteers.
19. Develops and manages department budget.
20. Performs other tasks and duties as assigned by immediate supervisor.