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Museum Curator (Science)

Washington, D.C
Closing date
Nov 24, 2023

In this position the curator uses his/her knowledge in the history of science to integrate varied subdisciplines into her/his broader field, furthering the knowledge of the collection's holdings, and fostering its stewardship. The curator deploys historical understanding, collections expertise, and an imaginative commitment to collaboration within and beyond the museum's walls to creatively engage public audiences and stakeholders with the power of the past and engage our contemporary moment. Also perform the following duties:
  • Conducts research that results in publishable additions via multiple formats to the body of knowledge related to the history of science and/or public history that supports the museum's mission, interpretive programs, and philosophy of public engagement.
  • Serves as a team member on exhibitions, playing a role in the development of exhibitions, websites, media programs, or public program activities and/or other outreach activities.
  • Uses his/her knowledge in the history of science in the United States and elsewhere to integrate varied subdisciplines into her/his broader field, furthering the knowledge of the collection's holdings, and fostering its stewardship.
  • Plays a role in shaping the national collection as related to the history of science, deepening knowledge of the collection's holdings, and fostering its stewardship.
  • Actively participates in professional circles relevant to the museum's work by (for example) regularly giving talks within and outside the museum, participating in workshops and symposia, presenting at professional conferences and events, and/or writing about public history practice.


Conditions of Employment

  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.

Conditions of Employment


For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination requirements and its impact on your application, click on Smithsonian Institution's Frequently Asked Questions .

Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of the announcement.

For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions on OPM website .


All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements: (You must submit academic transcripts):

1. Four-year Degree: museum work; or in an applicable subject-matter field related to the history of science; or

2. Combination of education and experience -- courses equivalent to a major, as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education; or

3. Four years of experience that provided knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through the successful completion of the 4-year course of study as shown above.

In addition to the basic qualification requirement above:

Experience: You qualify for this position if you have one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal Service. For this position, specialized experience is defined as researching, collecting, and exhibiting American culture related to history of science. Experience is demonstrated through a range of research products such as scholarly articles, teaching, lectures, oral histories, archival holding, museum or cultural institutions collections, exhibitions, and/or public programming.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.

All applicants who meet or exceed minimum qualifications will receive a final rating within one of three category groups based on one or more stages of evaluation which measure job-related criteria:

Best Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements and excels in most of the job-related competencies above.

Better Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements and satisfies most of the job-related competencies above.

Good Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements, but does not satisfy most of the job-related competencies above to a substantive degree.

This category rating process does not add veterans' preference points, but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-veterans within each quality category. The Hiring Manager may make selections from the highest quality category (Best Category) provided no veteran in that category is passed over to select a non-veteran in that category unless the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 3317(b) or 3318(b) are satisfied. Veterans who meet minimum qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed in the highest quality category, except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 grade level or higher. Applicants who have not submitted a resume in the USAjobs system and/or have not answered all of the vacancy questions will not be considered for this position.


Refer to the above for Basic education requirement.

Additional information

  • This position is not included in the bargaining unit.

Current or Former Political Appointees: Beginning January 1, 2010, agencies must seek prior approval from OPM before they can appoint a current or recent political appointee to a competitive or non-political excepted service position at any level under the provisions of title 5, United States Code. If you are currently or have been within the last 5 years, a political Schedule A, Schedule C, or Non-career SES employee in the executive branch, you MUST disclose that to the Office of Human Resources. Submit a copy of your applicable SF-50, along with a statement that provides the following information regarding your most recent political appointment:
  • Position title;
  • Type of appointment (Schedule A, Schedule C, Non-career SES, or Presidential Appointee);
  • Agency; and,
  • Beginning and ending dates of appointment.

Recruitment Incentive: Recruitment incentive(s) may be authorized for this position. However, approval for incentives are contingent upon various availability. If authorized, certain incentives will require the incumbent to sign a service agreement to remain in the Federal government for a certain time period.

Note: This statement does not imply nor guarantee an incentive will be offered and paid.

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