Job Opportunity – Curator of Education and Engagement

High Desert Museum Job Opportunity – Curator of Education and Engagement

Title:  Curator of Education and Engagement

Division:  Education and Engagement

Classification:  Salaried, regular full-time exempt  

Reports To:  Director of Programs

Supervises:  Education and Engagement Department staff, volunteers and interns

Salary:  $60,000+, dependent upon experience and bilingual skills

High Desert Museum – Organization Description

Since opening in 1982, THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, culture, art and natural resources to promote an understanding of the natural and cultural heritage of North America’s High Desert country. We do so through indoor and outdoor exhibits, wildlife in natural habitats, living history demonstrations and dynamic programs on a beautiful, 135-acre campus in the pine forest. The Museum is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, was a 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Sciences finalist and is a Smithsonian Affiliate. During the 2018-19 fiscal year, 195,000 visitors enjoyed the Museum.

The Museum is located in Bend, Oregon, a fast-growing, charismatic city nestled against the Cascade Range at the edge of the High Desert. We strive to be inclusive, culturally humble, relevant, curious, and mindful. As a team, we work together to wildly excite and responsibly teach, creating connection to and dialogue about the High Desert.

Job Summary- Curator of Education and Engagement

The Curator of Education and Engagement is a visionary, strategic thought-partner that provides leadership, guidance and oversight of the Museum’s education initiatives for people of all ages. The Curator of Education and Engagement ensures delivery of relevant, engaging, inquiry-based, diverse, and inclusive mission-based experiences, digital offerings, and other educational programs at the Museum, in the community and beyond.

Importantly, we recognize and honor that the qualifications required to excel in this position can come from a range of both professional and lived experiences. Below we describe what we believe to be important qualifications for a candidate to have while remaining open to the diversity of experiences that can lead to these skill sets. Position descriptions are often presented in a way that leaves qualified candidates feeling unwelcome, intimidated, uncomfortable and/or unqualified to apply. Recognizing that, we strongly encourage anyone who feels passionate about this work and believes they have what it takes to thrive in this role to apply.


  • A bachelor’s degree in a field appropriate for the position, e.g. education, interpretation, science communication, public history, anthropology, etc.
  • Demonstrated understanding of how people of learn
  • Commitment to and ability to take a multidisciplinary approach to education, interpretation and content development by incorporating natural science, history, culture and the arts to tell complex stories that include multiple perspectives in age-appropriate ways
  • Understanding of, and commitment to, justice, equity, inclusion, accessibility and diversity practices and embedding those practices throughout all of your work
  • Knowledge of current cultural field best practices, pedagogies and visitor studies
  • Proven ability and experience in building, mentoring and developing interdisciplinary teams that bring together a variety of collaborators throughout the Museum and in the community
  • Experience conducting training for staff, volunteers, educators or others
  • Experience managing staff
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, and written and oral communication skills with an attention to detail as well as the big picture
  • Working experience in the design, implementation and evaluation of education programs
  • Experience managing multiple budgets and revenue streams

Preferred Qualifications

  • Graduate degree in a field appropriate for the position
  • Spanish language proficient
  • Prior experience working on exhibits

The position requires some evenings and weekends, working inside and outside.

Responsibilities and Tasks


  1. In collaboration with the Director of Programs, create and execute a short term and long-term strategic vision for the Education and Engagement department.
  2. Create, execute, manage and evaluate educational programs and initiatives – in the community, at the Museum and on-line – encouraging new, diverse, multi-generational and broad audiences, strengthening participation and fostering active learning in the community, region and beyond.
  3. Provide thought leadership in object- and inquiry-based pedagogy and programming.
  4. Collaborate with Museum staff on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums accreditation process.
  5. Recruit, train, mentor and supervise staff, paid interns and volunteers.
  6. In coordination with the Communications Team, represent the Museum as needed in a variety of mediums, including social media, print, photography and video, in materials produced by both the Museum and by journalists sharing the story of the Museum’s work.
  7. Embrace, support and help implement the Museum’s continued learning and commitment to justice, diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion.
  8. Create, track and manage departmental budget and expenses.

Community Engagement 

  1. In collaboration with Museum staff, expand and enrich relationships in the community and across the region, co-creating and co-implementing new models of participation and programming to extend our reach and deepen our impact. 
  2. Understand the needs of the communities served by the Museum, define target audiences, and develop specific strategies and programs to meet defined needs, objectives and priorities.
  3. Maintain a visible presence in the local, state, and national professional community by presenting information about the work of the Education and Engagement Department.


  1. As a key member of the Exhibitions Team, play an active role in embedding learning theory into the development and implementation of exhibits and creating innovative and engaging exhibition techniques for diverse audiences.
  2. Collaborate with other Curators to provide direction and support to the Museum’s interpretation program, including refining interpretive goals and developing a variety of interpretive techniques and approaches to engage and inform visitors.
  3. Ensure interpretation embodies the Museum’s mission and strategic plan, aligns with principles outlined in the Certified Interpretive Guide program and welcomes all audiences by honoring their many cultures, abilities, backgrounds and lived experiences.
  4. Providing training, support and coaching to Museum staff, paid interns and volunteers.

School Programs

  1. Establish, maintain/or and strengthen strategic partnerships with K-12 schools, colleges and universities throughout the region to advance the Museum’s mission and strategic plan.
  2. Oversee the development, implementation and evaluation of standards-based educational multidisciplinary programs, both in person and on-line, related to the Museum’s mission, exhibitions and collections.
  3. Lead education workshops and programs for educators in collaboration with Museum staff and partner organizations.

Public Programs 

  1. Oversee the development, execution and evaluation of innovative multidisciplinary mission-based programs aimed at engaging audiences of all ages to develop lifelong relationships with the Museum. 
  2. Collaborate with Curators and community partners to develop public programs in connection with the Museum’s permanent and changing exhibitions, permanent collections and strategic plan.

The Museum provides an equal employment opportunity to all persons without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/transgender status, age, disability, veteran or marital status, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

Please send resume and cover letter that addresses how you meet the qualifications for the position to the High Desert Museum, attention Human Resources.


The High Desert Museum wildly excites and responsibly teaches through innovative, interdisciplinary experiences, creating connection to and dialogue about the High Desert.