Job Type






Curator/Senior Curator, Birds Edinburgh

National Museums Scotland

National Museums Scotland Edinburgh United Kingdom

2 months ago

Location: National Museum Of Scotland, Chambers Street

National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in Europe. With one of the largest and most diverse collections in the world, we are responsible for the acquisition, preservation and display of a substantial part of Scotland’s cultural, historic and national heritage.

Millions of local and international visitors enjoy our four museums each year, and we also introduce our collections to a much wider audience than can physically visit our museums through, touring exhibitions, loans, community engagement, digital programmes and research.

Based at the National Museum of Scotland this permanent, full-time post will support the work of the Natural Sciences Department. The natural sciences collections comprise around 10 million specimens mostly from Scotland and Britain, but they are also worldwide in extent. The Department of Natural Sciences is divided into four sections: Earth Systems, Invertebrate Biology... Palaeobiology and Vertebrate Biology.

The Department’s bird collections are part of the Vertebrate Biology section and comprise about 68,000 skins, 47,000 clutches of eggs, 7,000 skeletons and a smaller collection of spirit specimens and nests. The collection includes around 100 type specimens. Skins and eggs are mainly from Britain and the rest of the western Palaearctic. We continue to receive modern specimens, which are prepared as skins and skeletons by in-house preparators. We have been collecting tissue samples from bird specimens for the last 25 years and these are now curated in our biobank, which was established in 2018 and contains around 10,000 samples from vertebrate taxa.

We welcome applications from potential candidates with a demonstrable specialism in any relevant aspect of ornithology, a track record of delivery in research, and a wide knowledge of bird taxonomy. Desirable expertise might include knowledge of the use of museum bird collections in a wide variety of research including molecular studies. Your strategic collecting will continue to build the collections and you will be able to demonstrate an awareness of current research on and conservation of birds. You will contribute to the wider activities of the section and the department, and support and participate in public engagement activities and exhibitions.

Candidates will have a degree/postgraduate qualification (or equivalent) in a relevant subject area, such as zoology, plus proven relevant work experience in a museum or similar environment. A doctoral degree in a relevant subject will be an advantage. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate best practice in collections management. You should be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the study and communication of birds. To this end you should be an excellent communicator with some evidence of research and good presentational skills. You will be a team worker, able to plan and organise your own workload, manage projects, and build relationships within and outwith National Museums Scotland. Equally essential are ICT skills in Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel and Outlook together with knowledge of collections management databases.

The closing date for completed applications is Sunday 26 March at midnight.

To apply visit

£33,111 to £41,785 per annum
Edinburgh UK

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