Job Opportunity – Curator of Western History

High Desert Museum Job Opportunity – Curator of Western History

Title:   Curator of Western History
Division:   Exhibitions and Collections
Classification:   Hourly, full-time, non-exempt
Directly supported by:   Senior Curator of Exhibitions and Collections
Directly supports:   volunteers and interns
Salary Range:   from job description

About us

Since opening in 1982, the HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, cultures, history, art and natural resources to promote an understanding 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, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was awarded the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Services. 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 eastern 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.

About this job and what you’ll do

This position inspires our audiences with diverse stories of the High Desert. Curating or co-curating two to four exhibitions each year, you’ll work with a dynamic, talented, interdisciplinary team creating the cultural history narratives for the Museum’s temporary and permanent exhibitions. You’ll create robust programs that accompany the exhibitions and topics the Museum explores. In addition to exhibitions and programs, you’ll help craft the goals of the Museum’s collecting plan to ensure we’re collecting for the curators of the future. Along with other curators and staff, you’ll sit on the Museum’s Collections Committee.

About who you are

The Curator of Western History is a visionary and inspired creator of immersive, dynamic exhibitions that deeply tell the stories of the High Desert region. You ideally have curatorial experience and are excited to work with an interdisciplinary team to enhance your work with knowledge and care of material culture. You are passionate about telling diverse stories from the past and conveying how they help us learn about the present and think about the future. Like the phrase from the Center of the American West, you enjoy turning hindsight into foresight. You ask deep questions about the past to help our community learn. Also, you are a skilled planner, organizer and communicator and have a strong interest in museums or cultural institutions. You can navigate multiple activities at once and have a keen attention to detail. You might have some knowledge of collection practices or object handling experience in a museum or gallery.

The successful candidate will be a creative problem solver, have strong organizational skills, embrace a team-oriented perspective and work collaboratively in a multidisciplinary museum. A positive demeanor and the ability to learn new skills quickly are essential traits. We look at each candidate in terms of combined skills; different combinations of skills can serve to qualify for the position.

Want to learn more?

For a detailed job description listing the essential functions of this position and the education, experience, and skills requirements, click here.

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. In the job description 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 at times 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.

Want to apply?

Please email PDFs of your resume & cover letter to:

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.


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