Deputy Director, National Museum of Natural History

Washington, D.C
May 14, 2021
May 22, 2021
Executive, Director
Full Time


The incumbent provides executive leadership and direction to the Director & Executive Team in managing a wide portfolio of programs and activities spanning the Museum's scientific, public and operational programs. Inherent in this responsibility is leading the management of the research departments, collections programs, exhibits, education, outreach and visitor experience, finances, operations, facilities, specialized laboratories, field stations, and other similar programs and partnerships.

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Participates with the Director, National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), to provide executive leadership and direction for overall planning, development and management of museum programs and activities. Participates or leads the formulation of long and short-range goals and objectives and issues policy guidelines. Ensures that policies are carried out effectively. Monitors strategic goals to ensure that the museum is operating at optimum performance levels. Integrates scientific and outreach leadership to enable the Museum strategic plan along with individual departmental plans and objectives.

Directly supervises Executive Team members with the exception of the Chief Development Officer, the Assistant Directors of Science and the Assistant Director for Communications. Executes performance management of subordinates for both individual and organizational performance. Sets and communicates goals and expectations. Reviews and approves recommendations for personnel actions affecting subordinates. Assures that subordinate supervisors effectively carry out their performance management responsibilities.

Directs and coordinates the activities of subordinate offices and assists the Director in developing and implementing financial planning and budgets, operating policy, standards and procedures. Develops and monitors budgets and policies to achieve management objectives in areas such as strategic workforce management, diversity and equal employment opportunity.

Together with the Director, helps to coordinate the activities of the NMNH Advisory Board, working closely with the Board, Executive Committee and various other committees to develop museum priorities. Represents the Director as needed and interacts with Board members on a wide variety of issues.

Supports the fund raising and related activities of the museum, to include programs for constituency-building, marketing, campaign-planning and NMNH Advisory Board development in order to increase support and visibility for the Museum. The Chief Development Officer, while continuing to report to the Director, will work closely with the Deputy, who will act as Director on fundraising and stewardship of donors when the Director is unavailable.

Represents the Director, as required, at a wide variety of Smithsonian policy meetings and conferences, including Congressional hearings. Exercises delegated authority to commit Museum resources or make decisions affecting Museum Programs.

Consults, collaborates with, and advises other Federal agencies, State, regional, and local government agencies, private associations and institutions, and representatives of foreign museums -- on the establishment and management of museums and related cultural and educational institutions.

Explores and develops joint programs in cooperation with universities, federal agencies and other SI museums and research facilities. Reviews and recommends appropriate action on applications or proposals for Federal or non-federal grants or contracts to finance research, acquisition or exhibition projects.

Serves as Acting Director of NMNH in the Director's absence, with full authority and responsibility for overall management of the Museum.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Pass Pre-Employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period

Meets the basic qualifications and specialized experience as listed below.


Applicants must clearly demonstrate the necessary level of managerial and leadership skills and competence to perform successfully in this position. This includes a degree in museum work or in an applicable subject matter field, or a combination of education and appropriate experience that provides knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through successful completion of a four-year course of study in an applicable subject matter field.

In addition, applicants must have one year of specialized experience at the GS-­15 level or equivalent private sector level. This experience is defined as the demonstrated knowledge and leadership skills related to management/operations expertise in a museum, nonprofit organization, foundation, private corporation, or government agency that has been acquired through years of progressive experience.

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

1. Demonstrated leadership and familiarity with management of museums or similar organizations, including management of functions such as exhibitions, curation and collections management, conservation, education, visitor experience, public communication of science, marketing and public programs.

2. Demonstrated experience in leading and managing a large and multi-faceted anthropological, biological or geological science research organization or program, including a track record of creating a strong pipeline for philanthropic gifts and grant based funding.

3. Demonstrated experience in leading, planning and managing long-range institutional operations, including facilities and safety operations, capital improvement, security and information technology operations. This should include experience with executive level budgeting, metrics and resource management.

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


Additional information


The incumbent receives administrative direction from the Director, National Museum of Natural History, who provides broad outlines of basic policy, budgets, program objectives, and delegated authority and responsibility. The incumbent plans and carries out assigned responsibilities independently. The incumbent consults with the Director on major financial and policy questions or controversial issues, and keeps him informed of all significant programs and potential problems. Work performance is appraised in terms of overall effectiveness in the attainment of program goals and objectives.

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.

Important Note:
Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience. Your resume should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to the major duties and qualifications criteria listed for this position.

PART-TIME OR UNPAID EXPERIENCE: Credit will be given for appropriate unpaid work on the same basis as for paid experience. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. To receive credit for such experience you must indicate clearly the nature of the duties and responsibilities in each position held and the average number of hours per week spent in such employment.
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Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

Your Resume

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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