Job Opportunity – Associate Curator of Visitor and Volunteer Engagement

High Desert Museum Job Opportunity – Associate Curator of Visitor and Volunteer Engagement

Title:   Associate Curator of Visitor & Volunteer Engagement
Division:   Education & Engagement
Classification:   Regular full-time
Reports To:   Curator of Education & Engagement
Supervises:   Adult and Teen Volunteers, Interns
Pay rate:   $57,000+, depending upon experience

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, 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 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- Associate Curator of Visitor & Volunteer Engagement

The Associate Curator of Visitor & Volunteer Engagement is responsible for collaborating with other Museum staff on refining, overseeing and evaluating the volunteer interpretation program as well as recommending promising practices in visitor engagement and interpretation for Museum staff, volunteers and programmatic initiatives. With a focus on visitor experience and evaluation, the Associate Curator of Visitor & Volunteer Engagement will help to enhance continuity in interpretive approaches across the Museum’s exhibits and programs to best engage visitors with the Museum’s interdisciplinary mission, emphasizing the significance of the High Desert. The position will play an integral role in developing the Museum’s master interpretive plan, assisting in work toward Association of Zoos and Aquariums accreditation and working closely with Museum staff and volunteers to ensure justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility are embedded throughout all we do.

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.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a field appropriate for the position, e.g. education, interpretation, science community, natural science, museum studies, Indigenous/Native American studies, anthropology, history, etc.
  • Minimum of 2 years’ experience in interpretation or education at a formal or informal educational institution and experience with administrative duties.
  • Minimum of 1 year of experience supervising volunteers.
  • Commitment to and ability to take a multidisciplinary approach to interpretation and visitor/volunteer engagement by incorporating natural science, history, culture and the arts to tell complex stories about the High Desert that include multiple perspectives in age-appropriate ways.
  • Experience developing curriculum and conducting training for staff, volunteers or interns.
  • Knowledge of promising practices in interpretation and volunteer/visitor engagement, and how audiences learn in informal settings.
  • Knowledge of or willingness to learn the natural history, key conservation issues, history and culture of the High Desert.
  • Ability to communicate and work effectively with diverse audiences, respecting diverse lived experiences and viewpoints while emphasizing a core, central mission and associated values.
  • Understanding of, and commitment to, justice, equity, inclusion, accessibility and diversity practices and embedding those practices throughout all of your work.
  • Excellent organizational, communication and writing skills with an attention to detail as well as the big picture.
  • Detailed-oriented while handling multiple projects and deadlines.


  • Bilingual in Spanish
  • Experience in centering the history and lived experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color and other marginalized groups
  • Be a Certified Interpretive Trainer (CIT) and/or Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG)

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



  1. In collaboration with Museum staff, create and execute a short and long-term strategic vision for visitor and volunteer engagement at the High Desert Museum.
  2. Collaborate with Museum staff to develop a master interpretation plan focused on visitor experience outcomes.
  3. Support the Museum’s efforts in sharing the stories, contributions, perspectives, and voices of diverse people throughout the High Desert with particular emphasis on centering the history and lived experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color and other marginalized groups in the region.
  4. Assist in the Museum’s work toward Association of Zoos and Aquariums accreditation by collaborating with Museum staff to create an overarching approach to interpretation.
  5. Keep abreast of current interpretation and visitor experience research and promising practices.
  6. Embrace, support and help implement the Museum’s continued learning and commitment to justice, diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion.
  7. 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.

Interpretation and Training

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Collaborate with Museum staff to refine, implement and evaluate a teen and adult volunteer training program including plans for onboarding, training, coaching, engaging and evaluating the current volunteer corps as well as new volunteers in learning and utilizing interpretation best practices.
  4. Work closely with Curators to identify specific areas of need and coordinate training for staff and volunteers around exhibitions, new interpretive methods and content with a particular emphasis on justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and access as well as decolonization and Indigenization.

Volunteer Management

  1. Collaborate with the Humans Resources Manager & Volunteer Coordinator to recruit new volunteers and assist with the Volunteer Advisory Committee and annual volunteer appreciation events.
  2. Serve as a conduit between Museum staff, curators and volunteer corps to ensure timely and accurate communication.
  3. Maintain an effective volunteer management system including contact information, schedules, and evaluative information and coordinate programmatic schedules as needed.
  4. Know, enforce and follow all safety guidelines associated with the Museum.
  5. Execute other duties as assigned as needed to help abide by the Museum’s values, drive our vision, and fulfill our mission.

The High Desert Museum is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.

Please send resume and cover letter to Leslie Seidel.


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