Smithsonian Institution Museum Curator (American Slavery) in Washington, District Of Columbia

  • Duties



This position is located in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the largest national museum for the study and exhibition of African American history and culture. Its primary purposes are to acquire, maintain and preserve objects which document social, cultural, political, military, technological and scientific developments in the United States related to the African American experience; to conduct scholarly research designed to make significant contributions to the body of knowledge in the field of African American history, to publish findings for both scholarly and general audiences; and to interpret historical developments through public exhibits and programs as well as digital content.

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The incumbent serves as a member of the professional research staff with duties related to the history of slavery in America from the colonial era through emancipation and the era of Reconstruction. Working with the Supervisory Curator of History and the director of the Center for the Study of Global Slavery, the incumbent serves as a subject matter expert on the history of slavery and emancipation and as curator of record for collections relating to the institution of slavery, emancipation and the era of Reconstruction. The incumbent will be directly involved in the activities of the Freemen's Bureau Project as well as the Center for the Study of Global Slavery. Duties include defining and building a world-class collection relating to slavery and emancipation; overseeing the acquisition, cataloguing, interpretation and care and preservation of the collection; conducting research for exhibitions, publications and programs; planning interpretive exhibitions, publications and programs; providing public service by responding to public inquiries, making public and professional presentations and participating in public programs.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Incumbent may be required to travel.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


Who May Apply
This job is open to…

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 should apply to Job Announcement #18R-YH-303623-MPA-NMAAHC

Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

  • #### Job family (Series)

1015 Museum Curator

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  • Requirements


Conditions of Employment
  • 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.

Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job announcement closing date.


Experience: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: conducting scholarly research and producing publications and/or exhibitions related to the history of slavery, emancipation and the era of Reconstruction; participating in public service efforts; developing a collection of artifacts; serving as a subject matter expert on matters relating to the history of American slavery, emancipation and the era of Reconstruction; answering public inquiries and lecturing to professional associations and other organizations.

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.

Or Education: Two full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's or equivalent degree related to the position may be substituted to meet the experience requirements.

Or a Combination: Education and experience may be combined to meet the basic qualifications.

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.


All applicants must meet these Basic*Requirements*:

A. Degree in museum work; or an applicable subject matter field related to the position; OR

B. Combination of education and experience--courses equivalent to a major as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education; OR

C. Four years of experience that provided knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through successful completion of the 4-year course of study as shown in A above.

Additional information

Flexible Spending Accounts - Health Insurance - Leave - Life Insurance - Long Term Care Insurance - Retirement Program -

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How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above. The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

  1. Skill in conducting research for and about the history of American slavery, emancipation and the era of Reconstruction.

  2. Ability to communicate in writing research information pertaining to the history of the history of American slavery, emancipation and the era of Reconstruction.

  3. Ability to organize, manage, develop and refine collections of artifacts illustrating and documenting the history of American slavery, emancipation and the era of Reconstruction.

  4. Skill in planning and implementing museum exhibitions, programs and publications related to the field of the history of American slavery, emancipation and the era of Reconstruction.

  5. Ability to communicate orally with colleagues, educational institutions, research foundations, government agencies, and the public.

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: Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience. Your resume should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

To preview questions please click here.

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Background checks and security clearance
Security clearance

Public Trust - Background Investigation

  • Required Documents


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.
  • Proof of prior federal service such as the latest SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, if applicable.
  • 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.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

  • Benefits



A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.

Review our benefits

Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

  • 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.

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Agency contact information
Yvonne Humphries








SMITHSONIAN Office of Human Resources POB 37012, 600 Maryland Avenue, MRC 517 Washington, District of Columbia United States

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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 (

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  • Fair & Transparent
Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for federal employees & job applicants

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Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about disability employment and reasonable accommodations or how to contact an agency.

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Legal and regulatory guidance
  • Financial suitability
  • Social security number request
  • Privacy Act
  • Signature and false statements
  • Selective Service
  • New employee probationary period

This job originated on For the full announcement and to apply, visit Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at will be considered.

Open & closing dates: 03/12/2018 to 04/02/2018

Salary: $79,720 to $103,639 per year

Pay scale & grade: GS 12

Work schedule: Full-Time - Full-Time, Permanent

Appointment type: Permanent - Federal