Picture of a Museum Curator

Museum Curator

GS-1015

Position Overview

DOI manages one of the world's largest museum collections for the American people. Museum Curators oversee this amazing collection of over 73 million cultural artifacts and natural history specimens, and an additional 86 thousand linear feet of archives (more than 211 million objects) housed in DOI facilities as well as managed by partner museums and universities. DOI Museum Curators document and preserve these objects, and facilitate use for exhibition and research, helping the public understand and appreciate these important and irreplaceable collections.

This position is represented at the following bureaus

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Reclamation
Department of the Interior Offices
National Park Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey

Candidate Description

The ideal candidate is adept at research, and able to analyze, manage and organize information effectively.  This person is an active listener, skilled at communicating with others and gaining their cooperation.

Work Environment

Most work is indoors in what are often cooler environments requiring climbing on ladders or carrying boxes, or standard office settings.  Some positions may involve outdoor field work.

Minimum Education Requirements

Please see the Individual Occupation Requirements and the Professional and Scientific Positions Group Qualification Standard on the OPM websites.

Career Level Requirements

Responsibilities by Level

  • Entry:

    • Performs routine procedures of managing collections with accessioning, labeling, recording and storing, packing or handling
    • Monitoring environmental conditions and security in storage and exhibits
    • Performing ICMS/MCMS data entry and records updates for objects and specimens
    • Carrying out routine research to locate specific information
    • Collecting and summarizing information from source material
    • Drafting educational and interpretive products related to collections
    • Monitoring user access to collections

  • Mid:

    • Evaluating loan requests and preparing loaned items for shipment
    • Researching specimens and artifacts in a collection to identify and authenticate
    • Giving presentations and conducting educational tours
    • Cataloging, inventorying and maintaining records on collections according to DOI museum collections standards
    • Managing collections data in ICMS/MCMS
    • Coordinating with various stakeholders including researchers, tribes, and volunteers
    • Facilitating user research, exhibits and online access

  • Journey:

    • Preparing planning and management documents
    • Initiating acquisition of collections
    • Planning and managing environmental control and security systems to preserve and protect collections
    • Developing interpretive material for collections
    • Developing and monitoring a budget for management of collections
    • Publishing papers or original research related to a museum collection
    • Proposing and developing exhibition plans
    • Representing the museum on task groups working on museum management initiatives
    • Maintaining professional competence in one or more disciplines featured in the subject collections and maintaining a basic working knowledge in the other disciplines represented in the collections

  • Senior:

    • Developing and updating agency policy, procedures and guidance for management of museum collections
    • Advising on technical issues, trends, and unique situations impacting the management of bureau and DOI museum collections
    • Developing, managing, and coordinating all operations for a complex, multi-site unit with cultural artifacts and/or high level of scientific research activity
    • Advising regarding permitting for scientific research that involves collecting from federal lands
    • Developing presentations, training, and workshops on key policy and management topics at regional, bureau, DOI, inter-agency, national and international levels
    • Creating collaborative partnerships and negotiating curation agreements with other agencies and non-governmental organizations
    • Preparing, presenting, and publishing papers on museum management principles and methods in professional venues
    • Maintaining professional competence in two or more disciplines featured in the subject collections and maintaining a working knowledge of professional standards and current issues for all disciplines represented in the collections

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Strengths by Level

Entry 5-7
Mid 9-11
Journey 12-13
Senior 14-15
  • Accountability
    Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results. Determines objectives, sets priorities, and delegates work. Accepts responsibility for mistakes. Complies with established control systems and rules.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Attention to Detail
    Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Creative Thinking
    Uses imagination to develop new insights into situations and applies innovative solutions to problems; designs new methods where established methods and procedures are inapplicable or are unavailable.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Customer Service
    Works with clients and customers (that is, any individuals who use or receive the services or products that your work unit produces, including the general public, individuals who work in the agency, other agencies, or organizations outside the Government) to assess their needs, provide information or assistance, resolve their problems, or satisfy their expectations; knows about available products and services; is committed to providing quality products and services.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Decision Making
    Makes sound, well-informed, and objective decisions; perceives the impact and implications of decisions; commits to action, even in uncertain situations, to accomplish organizational goals; causes change.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Entrepreneurship
    Positions the organization for future success by identifying new opportunities; builds the organization by developing or improving products or services. Takes calculated risks to accomplish organizational objectives.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • External Awareness
    Identifies and understands economic, political, and social trends that affect the organization.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Flexibility
    Is open to change and new information; adapts behavior or work methods in response to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles; effectively deals with ambiguity.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Influencing/Negotiating
    Persuades others to accept recommendations, cooperate, or change their behavior; works with others towards an agreement; negotiates to find mutually acceptable solutions.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Information Management
    Identifies a need for and knows where or how to gather information; organizes and maintains information or information management systems.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Interpersonal Skills
    Treats others with courtesy, sensitivity, and respect. Considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of different people in different situations.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Legal, Government, and Jurisprudence
    Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, legal practices and documents, Government regulations, Executive orders, agency rules, Government organization and functions, and the democratic political process.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Oral Communication
    Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Partnering
    Develops networks and builds alliances; collaborates across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Planning and Evaluating
    Organizes work, sets priorities, and determines resource requirements; determines short- or long-term goals and strategies to achieve them; coordinates with other organizations or parts of the organization to accomplish goals; monitors progress and evaluates outcomes.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Problem Solving
    Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Reasoning
    Identifies rules, principles, or relationships that explain facts, data, or other information; analyzes information and makes correct inferences or draws accurate conclusions.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Teamwork
    Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Technical Competence
    Uses knowledge that is acquired through formal training or extensive on-the-job experience to perform one's job; works with, understands, and evaluates technical information related to the job; advises others on technical issues.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Writing
    Recognizes or uses correct English grammar, punctuation, and spelling; communicates information (for example, facts, ideas, or messages) in a succinct and organized manner; produces written information, which may include technical material, that is appropriate for the intended audience.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15

Common Pathways

Candidates who made this career change most commonly held these occupations...

54.5%

Museum Specialist and Technician

See Position Details
13.6%

Archivist

Career Information Coming Soon
13.6%

Park Ranger

See Position Details
1701 - General Education And Training 2.3%
1410 - Librarian 2.3%
0101 - Social Science 2.3%
0102 - Social Science Aid And Technician 2.3%

Where We Are

DOI employs people at more than 2,400 locations across the United States and territories. Use the Position Locator tool to see where current DOI employees work. To check for job opportunities, scroll down and click "See jobs on USAjobs.gov."