Museum Curator (Costume and Textile History)

Smithsonian Institution

Washington, DC 20013


Jul 11, 2023


Jun 20, 2023

In this position the curator uses their knowledge in the history of textiles and costume in the United States and its territories to integrate varied subdisciplines into her/his broader field, furthering the knowledge of the collection’s holdings, and fostering its stewardship. Working under the general direction of the Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and the direct supervision of the division Chair or other division-level supervisor, the Museum Curator serves as a member of the curatorial staff with the following duties:

  • Conducts research that results in publishable additions via multiple formats to the body of knowledge related to the history of textiles and costume and in public history work that supports the museum’s mission, interpretive programs, and philosophy of public engagement.
  • The curator deploys historical understanding, collections expertise, and imaginative commitment to collaboration within and beyond the museum’s walls to creatively engage public audiences and stakeholders with the power of the past and to engage our contemporary moment.
  • Researches collections, provides interpretation and analysis of textiles and costume history,, and participates in collaborative teamwork towards creative public engagement that generates public history scholarship, exhibitions, programs, digital outputs, and other public-facing works.
  • Serves as a team member on exhibitions, playing a role in the development of exhibitions, websites, media programs, or public- program activity and/or other outreach activity.
  • Shapes the textile and costume collections, builds knowledge of the collection’s holdings, and fosters its stewardship.
  • Reviews acquisitions, and engages in stewardship, research, and preservation of collections; and plays a part in the spirit of generous participation that nurtures collaboration (within and across departments) at the NMAH; buttresses public history as a profession and advances civic engagement at the national level.
  • Research assignments are of limited scope with readily definable objectives that are expected to result in publicly engaged scholarship, exhibitions, public programs, digital outputs, and other public history works related to the field of costume and textile history.


  • 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.
  • Conditions of Employment


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Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of the announcement.

For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions on OPM website.

All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements: (You must submit academic transcripts):

  1. Four-year Degree: museum work; or in an applicable subject-matter field related to the history of textiles and/or costume; or

  2. Combination of education and experience – courses equivalent to a major, as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education; or

  3. 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.

In addition to the basic qualification requirement above:

Experience: You qualify for this position if you have one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal Service. For this position, specialized experience is defined as researching, collecting, and exhibiting American material culture and related items in historical context, particular to the history custom and textile. Experience is demonstrated through a range of research products such as scholarly articles, teaching, lectures, oral histories, archival holding, museum or cultural institutions collections, exhibitions, and/or public programming.

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.

$94,199 - $122,459 per year

Application Instructions

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