Skip to main content

Vacancy Details


Announcement Number:
Hiring Agency:
Position Title:
Museum Curator (ART)
Open Period:
03/04/2016 - 04/15/2016


GS - 1015 12
USD $77,490 - USD $100,736
Promotion Potential:
Duty Location(s):
FEW Vacancies in

Washington DC, DC, US
For More Info:
Regina Anderson


Who May Apply/Clarification From the Agency:
This position is open to all U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals. Note: Federal employees with permanent status or individuals eligible for special appointing authorities may also apply to Job Announcement.

Security Clearance Required:
Public Trust - Background Investigation
Appointment Type
Appointment Type Details:
Marketing Statement:
The Smithsonian Institution values and seeks a diverse workforce. Join us in "Inspiring Generations through Knowledge and Discovery."
This position is located in the National Museum of African Art (NMAfA).  Through compelling, audience-centered exhibitions, scholarly publications and dynamic learning experiences, the Museum fosters public understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultures and artistic achievements of Africa from ancient to contemporary times.  

The incumbent serves as a Museum Curator (Art) performing professional work involving scholarly research in preparation of material for exhibition and publication, acquisition and collection development, care and preservation, cataloguing and exhibition of African works of art and public service/education for the NMAfa.  Additionally, the incumbent provides authoritative information on traditional and contemporary objects, particularly in own area of specialization.
Supervisory Position:
Relocation Expenses Reimbursed:
Travel Required:
Not Required


  • The incumbent conceives, recommends, and develops scholarly research projects in the field of African art history and African studies, that results in publications and/or exhibitions that are considered by the scholarly community to be a major contribution to the discipline of African art studies; independently investigates and documents recommended and approved research topics, consistent with Museum objectives and goals.
  • The incumbent recommends museum acquisitions via purchase or gift that will enhance, strengthen and maintain a well-balanced collection of African art, and is responsible for proper documentation, and identification of works in the museum’s collection; recommends and develops special temporary exhibitions – locating objects and documents, research, preparing manuscripts, and working with designers and editors in the production of an exhibition and publications.
  • The incumbent is expected to serve as an expert adviser on educational matters to other government agencies, colleagues, educational and research institutions, and the general public.
  • Reading knowledge of French/German is highly desirable.

Qualifications and Evaluations

Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job announcement closing date.
Key Requirements:
  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.
  • Education Requirements:
    Basic Educational Requirements:

    Museum Curator - 1015 Series:
    • Degree: museum work; or in an applicable subject-matter field.
    • Combination of education and experience -- courses equivalent to a major, as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
    • Four years of experience that provided knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through the successful completion of the 4-year course of study as shown above.
    Your resume will be used to evaluate your experience, education, and/or training that address the competencies below:
    1. Knowledge of African art history and culture, with an emphasis on both contemporary and traditional African art; and expertise in handling a wide variety of topics and themes.
    2. Ability to write clearly and to address topics of significance within the field; must be able to conduct and present research on subjects or topics in the field of African art for both scholarly and general audiences in a format that permits public understanding.  Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure should require little or no editing.
    3. Knowledge of curatorial methods, practices and techniques to perform professional work related to research, museum collection management, exhibition development, public service and educational activities in public museums.
    4. Knowledge of the interrelationships among all parties involved in the exhibition process; and the ability to read floor plans and propose layout of exhibitions.
    5. Ability to produce and provide educational information on all aspects and programs related to issues in African art and culture.  
    Applicants who meet or exceed minimum qualifications will be assigned to one of three category groups based on job-related criteria: Best Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements and excels in most of the job related competencies above. Better Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements and satisfies most of the job related competencies above. Good Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements, but does not satisfy most of the job related competencies above to a substantive degree. This category rating process does not add veterans' preference points or apply the "rule of three", but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-preference eligibles within each category. A selecting official may make selections from the highest quality category (Best Category) provided no preference eligible in that category is passed over to select a non-preference eligible in that category unless the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 3317(b) or 3318(b) are satisfied. Preference eligibles who meet minimum qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed in the highest quality category, except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 grade level or higher. Applicants who have not submitted a resume in the USAjobs system and/or have not answered all of the vacancy questions will not be considered for this position.

    Important Note: The review of your resume will determine your final rating and should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

    You qualify for this position if you possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal Service or comparable pay band system. 

    For this position Specialized Experience is defined as experience creating exhibitions, building collections, and developing scholarly publications focused on the traditional and/or contemporary arts of Africa.
    • Reading knowledge of French/German is highly desirable;
    • Candidates who qualify will be asked to write a letter outlining the specific skills and experience they bring to the position.  In addition, a selected number of these candidates will be invited for on-site interviews with museum staff and, at that time, will be asked to deliver a 20-30 minute lecture on their research or exhibition experience relevant to the focus of this position and the field of African art history.
    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.

    For a full explanation of this option please see the Qualification Standards. Special Instructions for Foreign Education: If you are qualifying by education and/or you have education completed in a foreign college/university described above, it is your responsibility to provide transcripts and proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study. For instructions on where to fax these documents, see the "Required Documents" section of this announcement.

    Benefits and Other Info

    The Smithsonian offers a comprehensive benefits package that
    includes, in part, vacation and sick leave, holidays, health/life
    insurance, accident insurance, and excellent retirement program
    Please see Benefits at href=""> for a complete
    Other Information:
    Flexible Spending Accounts - href="">
    Health Insurance - href="">
    Leave - href="">
    Life Insurance - href="">
    Long Term Care Insurance - href="">
    Retirement Program - href="">

    How to Apply

    How to Apply:
    Click on the "Apply Online" button on the upper right side of the page. Please Note:
    • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button and submit required supplemental documents (if they are relevant to you).
    • You may submit required documents by uploading them online during the application process; OR You may manually fax required documents. Faxes are received by an automated system, not a physical fax machine. Documents that are faxed as part of the application process must be sent with the system generated cover sheet by the closing date. Documents faxed without the system generated coversheet are not retrievable and cannot be considered as part of the application package.
    • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
    • If you are unable to apply online, paper applications may be accepted with prior approval of the Contact Person listed below.
    Required Documents:
    Your application package should include the following documents:
    • Detailed resume created in the USAJOBS Resume Builder.
    • Proof of Veteran's Preference - DD214 (Member 4 Copy), if you are a veteran. Additionally, applicants claiming 10-point preference must complete Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, as well as additional documentation required by the SF-15, such as a VA letter.
    • Unofficial school transcripts, if the position has an education requirement or if you are using education to qualify. If selected for the position, you must provide an official transcript before appointment.
    • Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable.
    Next Steps:
    At the end of the application process you will be able to create and save a PDF file that contains your responses to the assessment questions. You may save this file as initial receipt of your application. After the job announcement closes, you will receive an email from the Smithsonian with confirmation of receipt. The Smithsonian receives many applications for each job. Each application is reviewed carefully which may take a few weeks. We will send you an e-mail to update you as we go through phases of the application review process. You may also check your application status by logging into and selecting the tab "My USAJOBS;" e-mailing; or by contacting the Office of Human Resources Representative listed.

    Additional Information:
    • Tips on applying for Smithsonian jobs are available at
    • The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.
    • The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity (