Sunday, January 31, 2010

Director of Interpretation Position

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is searching for an outstanding Director of Interpretation to join an extraordinary team in remaking the visitor experience at our nearly century old institution. With the mission "to inspire wonder, discovery and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds," we aspire to enliven and activate the space "where the visitor experience meets our research and collections" through an engaging, compelling, relevant and coherent interpretive program. We seek a leader in the interpretive field to help us bring to life a uniquely NHMLAC voice that delivers on our deep and wide ranging content, resonating with and inspiring our diverse audiences.

Holding one of largest natural history collections in the world, as well as significant anthropological collections and an unparalleled collection of local/regional cultural history, we are in the midst of a program of renovations, construction, new exhibits and programs that are part of an institution-wide transformation focused on our visitors. By 2012, we will have opened four new permanent galleries (Age of Mammals, Dinosaur Mysteries, Under the Sun - an environmental & cultural history of Los Angeles, and a new indoor-outdoor hands-on interactive experience to replace our Discovery Center), a new changing exhibit space, and 3 acres of new outdoor programmatic gardens. Our visitors, including approximately 300,000 school children a year, are extraordinarily diverse by nearly every measure. Our location in the heart of the city provides us with a unique venue for delivery of scientific and cultural content that is especially needed by local schools, and is of interest to diverse communities. Our new outdoor programmatic gardens will engage our visitors with urban nature and backyard biodiversity, adding a new layer to our rich content in Natural and Cultural History topics.

Reporting to the Vice President, Education and Exhibits, the Director of Interpretation will be a key member of the leadership team of the newly formed Department of Education and Exhibits, along with the Directors of Exhibits, Programs and Evaluation. The Director of Interpretation will work closely with the Vice President, Research and Collections and other curatorial leadership to develop core tenets of our interpretive program and agenda. The Director of Interpretation will lead, oversee and supervise the development of visitor-focused content throughout the museum, including exhibits, programs, curriculum, web-content, and interpretation on the floor, building a department that delivers deep science and cultural content including first voices where appropriate. The Director of Interpretation will work closely with the VP, Education and Exhibits and with key staff throughout the museum to develop an appropriate approach to the generation of all content, including multilingual content. We expect that the Director of Interpretation will build an outstanding core staff of interpreter/educators for ongoing needs and will bring in appropriate outside expertise as required for specific projects.

The successful candidate will bring a collaborative leadership style, active learning, outstanding communication skills, a strong track record in interpretive leadership as well as proven ability to deal with complex content and competing priorities. S/he must be comfortable managing a program of varied projects that involve large and small teams comprising in-house staff, outside contractors and collaborators bringing a wide range of expertise that is tailored to each project. He or she must have a successful record of collaborating with active researchers/scholars/ scientists as well as with audiences and constituencies such neighborhood groups, descendent communities and others. A strong background that includes interpretive planning, training and exhibit development and a Ph.D. or equivalent experience in a scientific or cultural discipline, Education or a related field are strongly preferred. Experience with biological and paleontological as well as cultural/historical exhibits, including management of interpretive planning, will be important assets. A proven track record in the management of interpretive projects, budgets and staff is a key requirement.

Salary is commensurate with experience plus excellent benefits. This is a full time, regular, exempt position. Review of applications begins January 30, 2010 and continues until the position is filled. Interested candidates please visit and click the link of the job title (Director of Interpretation) to apply. The application requires a cover letter, curriculum vitae and a list of references, all of which must be pasted into a single document in MS Word. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is an Equal Opportunity Employer. For inquiries regarding this opening, please call 213-763-3381.

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