Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs

1 day left

Washington, D.C
Oct 17, 2020
Oct 25, 2020
Executive, Director
Full Time


This position is in the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) of the Smithsonian Institution. The incumbent reports to the Director and serves as Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at NMAAHC with responsibilities for developing, directing, and managing the museum's curatorial, collections, and conservation teams and acquisitions strategies.

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Provides leadership and direction to Curatorial Affairs in the planning, development, and execution of museum exhibitions, symposiums, centers and other scholarly content driven activities. Works with the curatorial, collections and conservation teams to formulate goals and objectives and appropriate policy guidelines for curatorial/collections/conservation activities. Ensures the development and incorporation of digital content in regard to exhibitions, publications and other content related scholarship. Makes policy decisions concerning Curatorial Affairs programs, including matters of budget, staffing, and organization.

Works closely with the Project Management Office, Museum Operations and External Affairs to ensure and coordinate collaboration for the development, implementation and execution of public programs, exhibitions, and publications.

Oversees the development, justification, execution and control of the Curatorial Affairs federal and trust budgets. Ensures that Curatorial Affairs has established adequate control systems to monitor expenses and does not exceed budgeted amounts. Adheres to financial management policies and procedures of the Institution.

In coordination with the Director and the curatorial, collections and conservation teams, reviews and evaluates proposals for new scholarly programs, exhibitions or any significant changes in existing programs in research and collections. In concert with the Director reviews scholarship proposals and provides leadership and guidance on implementation of the proposed programs. In coordination with Director, establishes standards for research, exhibitions, collections, digital development, scholarly publications and other professional programs. Directs and coordinates the efforts of the research and other professional staff to ensure that a high quality of performance is maintained, and that program emphases and museum strategic priorities are effectively carried out. This includes the monitoring of staff research and publication efforts, and the effective dissemination of scholarly work by professional staff and visiting researchers through lectures, symposia, and publications to both general and specialized audiences.

Develops performance standards for reporting managers and evaluates their performance on a regular basis. Reviews and approves recommendations for personnel actions, including hiring for key positions, and acts on major personnel issues referred to him/her by managers. Develops, implements, monitors policies, and has direct responsibility for achieving Smithsonian and Museum objectives in such critical areas as staff development, labor relations, and equal employment opportunity.

Performs historical research which results in authoritative scholarly contributions to the field. Participates in national and international conferences, meetings, and symposia and serves on national and international museum committees. Explores and develops joint programs in cooperation with universities, other museums, and community groups. Provides expert advice and consultation to professional and other organizations. May substitute for Director at various events.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


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



A degree in museum work or in an applicable subject ­matter field; or a combination of education and experience ­­ courses equivalent to a major in museum work, or in a subject ­matter field appropriate to the position, plus appropriate experience or additional education; or four years of experience that provided knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through the successful completion of the 4-­year course of study as described above.

In addition, applicants must have one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS­-15 level. Specialized experience is defined as the demonstrated leadership skills in managing the curatorial and/or administrative/financial functions of a museum or cultural organization with an emphasis on African American History.

The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

1. Extensive knowledge of African American history as applied to curatorial and scholarly leadership including managing functions such as exhibitions development, research, collections development and care, publications and programming, as well as digital content.

2. Leadership experience at the managerial level that includes goal setting, planning, and implementing programs, and establishing metrics and reporting protocol.

3. Skill in executive level budgeting and resource management.

4. Skill in leading, supervising and managing a multi-­disciplined and culturally diverse workforce. This should include attracting, retaining and motivating employees and implementing EEO/Affirmative Action programs.


Additional information

The incumbent reports to the Director and works collaboratively with the Director and the museum's senior leaders in developing broad policy guidelines and objectives for scholarly and collections activities. Operates with broad delegated authority and responsibility, planning and carrying out assigned responsibilities independently. Incumbent consults with the Director on major policy questions or controversial issues, and keeps the Director advised of significant programs and potential problems.

This position has been reviewed to determine the level of POSITION SENSITIVITY. Based on the nature of the work, the position has been determined to be Public Trust/HIGH RISK. This designation will require (1) a pre-employment Security Agency Check (SAC) for the prospective incumbent; and (2) a subsequent comprehensive background investigation and favorable adjudication in order to continue in the position.

The Smithsonian Institution does not discriminate against any employee or any applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization or other non-merit factors.

The Smithsonian provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need an accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the contact person listed in this announcement. The decision on granting a reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Relocation expenses will not be paid.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

The qualifications listed in this document will be used along with your resume and your responses to the questions posed in the electronic application process to determine the candidates who will move forward in the evaluation process. When crafting your responses to the questions, please provide concise, detailed information on your background and experience.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

Your application package should include the following documents:
  • Resume
  • Proof of prior federal service such as the latest SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, if applicable.
  • Unofficial school transcripts, if the position has an education requirement or if you are using education to qualify. If selected for the position, you must provide an official transcript before appointment.
  • Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable.
  • Current and former Competitive Service candidates: submit a copy of your most recent SF-50, and an additional SF-50 indicating tenure of at least one year at the GS-15 level.
  • SES candidates with Reinstatement eligibility based on prior Competitive Service employment: submit a copy of your most recent SF-50, and an additional SF-50 indicating Competitive Service tenure and Reinstatement eligibility.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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