Job Opportunities

For those who love art and history, the National Portrait Gallery is an exciting place to work. Our diverse staff includes curators, researchers, collections managers, designers, administrators, and a wealth of other specialists.

Openings

For the latest openings at the Smithsonian Institution, please check the Smithsonian's Office of Human Resources website or follow them on Facebook.


Director for History, Research, and Scholarly Programs

Responsibilities:

HISTORICAL INTERPRETATIONS AND ASSESSMENTS

Leads all historical research and interpretation for the NPG. Develops and maintains the NPG’s combination of multiple fact-based, critical but tolerant perspectives that illuminate American history and biography for the education of all visitors to the museum and readers of its publications. Monitors the historical accuracy of the work produced by the members of the History Department, and reviews historical work content produced by other NPG staff members.

Oversees and contributes to the biographical research for all collection acquisition reports presented to the NPG Commission. Leads assessments of the historical validity of candidates for the NPG’s collections.

Participates as a mature, professional scholar in authoring articles and books, as well as presenting public lectures to disseminate biographical information and interpretations on American individuals of historical importance. Responds to letters of inquiry on historical topics from the public, researchers, and scholars.

Advises Smithsonian interns and fellows conducting historical research at NPG, and serves in various public capacities as consultant or adviser in areas of his or her expertise. Collaborates with curators and researchers at other Smithsonian museums on central Smithsonian scholarly projects, and may chair panels reviewing award proposals.

EXHIBITIONS DEVELOPMENT

Serves in a leadership role on the curatorial teams that plan and execute the evolution of the NPG’s exhibition spaces, both permanent and temporary. Organizes meetings of scholars, opinion leaders, local and national authorities who will advise and assess the ongoing display of historical portraiture at the NPG.

Reviews and ensures the historical accuracy and appropriateness of the written labels and wall texts that appear in the exhibition galleries. Advises curatorial teams in choosing objects and writing label texts for objects rotated periodically into permanent collection galleries.

Oversees the evolution of the NPG’s signature exhibition, America’s Presidents, including developing the historical themes in this visual depiction of the American presidency. Selects objects for rotation into the installation, regularly presents tours to key individuals from around the world, and guides the design of educational programming and digital content to complement the physical presentation.

Conceives, proposes and develops special temporary exhibitions on American history, art, and biography. S/he may join the curatorial team that organizes NPG’s Portraiture Now series of exhibitions. For exhibitions, selects artworks and objects from the NPG collections or from other institutions to create educational and visually stimulating exhibitions. Writes the complementary written works, frequently including a catalogue, for the exhibitions he or she develops.

For each exhibition, works with the Audience Engagement Department, and occasionally external partners, to create programming for the general and specialized audiences such as teachers. Participates with NPG educators and curators to monitor and assess the impact and success of exhibitions and their educational content. Works with the New Media Department to provide or review content for inclusion on NPG websites and distribution through social media platforms.

Supervising PORTAL = Insights into Portraiture

Supervises the operations of this center, created to foster the scholarly study of biography and portraiture at the NPG. Reviews and approves publications and programs, which may be in the museum, other locations or online, on original research and interpretations of biography and portraiture. Directs collaborative research and other projects, including symposia, study days, publications and other programs, with other curators and historians across the Smithsonian, and with outside scholars to achieve the center’s goals.

SUPERVISION

Supervises the staff of the History and Publication Departments, to include recruitment and selection, retention, employee development, performance management and awards, and disciplinary action if warranted. The incumbent makes assignments to department staff consistent with Smithsonian and NPG policies and supervises their final implementation. Develops the department’s annual budget proposal and monitors spending against the approved budget. As assigned, represents the NPG on Smithsonian-wide committees and fosters dialogue and cooperation by working with other Smithsonian museums on projects of mutual interest.

Monitors department staff members in their performance of assigned tasks in presenting history, biography and art in support of the NPG strategic plan. S/he provides feedback and oversight of their written and oral presentations to ensure that their work meets NPG and professional standards. S/he encourages the staff to develop their careers as practicing and productive scholars at the Smithsonian.

Read more and apply here: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/530897800

 


Women’s History Curator for Content & Interpretation

This position is located in the Audience Engagement department of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG). The incumbent has the primary role at the NPG in the development, management, and execution of mission-driven research-based projects and education programs as they relate to the history of women in the United States and/or its pre-colonial indigenous communities. S/he also plays an integral role in the development, interpretation, and use of the museum’s permanent collection for these purposes.  Research and programs developed will encourage broad appreciation for the history of women.  The incumbent reports to the Associate Director for Audience Engagement but will have regular contact with the Chief Curator and Senior Historian.  S/he will attend curatorial and history department meetings to share and present programming ideas around Women’s History, acting as a liaison between the Audience Engagement and Curatorial departments.

Read more and apply here: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/529956100

 


Major Gifts Officer

Come join a team of dedicated staff at an exceptional time in Smithsonian history, as the Institution implements a new comprehensive strategic plan and expands the programming, educational, and scholarly activity of its museums and research centers. Following a successful national campaign, the Smithsonian has built a model fundraising organization, one that will meet the growing needs of this unique organization and offer excellent professional opportunities. This position offers exciting opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the Smithsonian.

The museum has significantly grown its advancement department in the last two years and, as a result, has seen dramatic increases in fundraising performance. Our goal is to maintain this rate of growth beyond the museum’s $25 million comprehensive campaign, which concluded at the end of 2018, the Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary year. This position offers excellent opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the National Portrait Gallery. There is no better time to join this amazing museum.

The National Portrait Gallery seeks to hire an accomplished Major Gifts Officer (MGO) with proven fundraising experience to build and manage a portfolio of prospects and donors to execute a fundraising program focused on high capacity giving. The MGO works closely with the Assistant Director of Advancement to ensure that annual fundraising goals are met.

Reporting to the Assistant Director of Advancement, the Major Gifts Officer will secure contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations, and other organizations by discovering and cultivating a productive relationship with prospective donors; present opportunities for giving through solicitation efforts; establish and maintain effective working relationships with individual donors and prospects, and foundation officers; help steward board members and their networks; and help craft and implement a multi-year fundraising plan. The MGO will manage the Corporate Circle and have a strong focus on corporate sponsorships and management. The MGO will maintain a strong working relationship with Smithsonian’s central administration, working closely with the Office of Advancement to coordinate with colleagues as appropriate on matters relating to proposals, gift agreements, budgets and reporting, and other policy and process areas.

Successful candidates will have:

  • At least four years of specialized experience in major gift fundraising, with proven examples of successful corporate sponsorships, preferably within a major, arts-related institution, non-profit organization, educational institution, or other environment of similar complexity.
  • Demonstrated ability to raise funds, to be a strategic, creative thinker, and to complete projects in an efficient fashion
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Superior communication skills, both oral and written
  • Ability to take ownership of projects and work with minimal direction and supervision
  • Understanding of and dedication to the mission of the National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian Institution is a unique complex of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers. The Smithsonian is a national and world treasure and is dedicated to its founding mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”  Its exhibitions, programs, collections, and outreach touch the lives of millions of Americans every year, as well as many who visit us from abroad. 

The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits. This is not a Federal Position but has similar requirements and benefits. Interested candidates should submit their resumes and a cover letter to prinzinib@si.edu by May 13, 2019. Please include the title of the position and your name in the subject line of the email.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.  To best serve our current and future visitors we strive to maximize the diversity, equity, and inclusiveness of our organization.  Therefore, we encourage qualified candidates that represent and embody the diversity found within our community to apply.

 


Advancement Assistant

Come join a team of dedicated staff at an exceptional time in Smithsonian history, as the Institution implements a new comprehensive strategic plan and expands the programming, educational, and scholarly activity of its museums and research centers.

The museum has significantly grown its advancement department in the last two years and, as a result, has seen dramatic increases in fundraising performance. Our goal is to maintain this rate of growth beyond the museum’s $25 million comprehensive campaign, which concluded at the end of 2018, the Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary year. This position offers excellent opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the National Portrait Gallery. There is no better time to join this amazing museum.

The Advancement Assistant works in the Advancement Office at the National Portrait Gallery to support the Director of Advancement and other Advancement Staff with purchasing, travel, and special projects, as well as providing extensive general administrative services to the entire department. The incumbent processes all gifts and acknowledgments, coordinates procurement and budget reconciliation, develops briefings and materials for donor and prospect meetings, prepares financial reports, and provides overall administrative support.

Successful candidates will have:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Superior communication skills, both oral and written
  • Attention to detail and an intuitive administrative and organizational aptitude are essential
  • Ability to take ownership of projects and work with minimal direction and supervision
  • Understanding of and dedication to the mission of the National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian Institution is a unique complex of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers. The Smithsonian is a national and world treasure and is dedicated to its founding mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Its exhibitions, programs, collections, and outreach touch the lives of millions of Americans every year, as well as many who visit us from abroad.

The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits. This is not a Federal Position but has similar requirements and benefits. Interested candidates should submit their resumes and a cover letter to pinzinib@si.edu by April 22, 2019. Please include the title of the position and your name in the subject line of the email.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.  To best serve our current and future visitors we strive to maximize the diversity, equity, and inclusiveness of our organization.  Therefore, we encourage qualified candidates that represent and embody the diversity found within our community to apply.

 


Gallery Educators

Gallery Educators are vibrant and dedicated individuals who make significant contributions to the National Portrait Gallery’s educational mission. These contract educators facilitate the Portrait Gallery student programs that take place in the Donald W. Reynolds Center as well as in local schools. As the face of the Education Department, Gallery Educators engage and excite young visitors through inquiry as a means of connecting historical, biographical, and cultural information about the portraits on display at the National Portrait Gallery. Our approach to programming challenges young people to make their museum visit an interactive experience. Being a Gallery Educator requires enthusiasm, interest, and availability.

During May and June of each year, the National Portrait Gallery seeks Gallery Educators for the upcoming academic year. If you would like to receive our annual request for quote and be considered for a contract to be a Gallery Educator, please contact Briana Zavadil White, Student and Teacher Programs Manager by phone at: 202-633-8503 or by email at: whitebz@si.edu .

All those interested must be willing to commit to two to five days per week for the duration of the academic year, orientation sessions, and at least one year of service.

When selecting individuals to provide these services, the National Portrait Gallery seeks prospective contractors with the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in education, history, American studies, museum studies, studio art, art history, or equivalent (master’s degree or master’s candidate is a plus)
  • Prior experience with youth groups
  • Interest in teaching
  • Strong verbal communication skills
  • Ability to think on your feet
  • Flexibility in schedule to work on weekday programs
  • Ability to work well in a team environment, in both following directions and presenting programs
  • Familiarity with biography, history, and object-based learning

Gallery Educators perform tasks such as:

  • Managing large groups of young people, ages five to eighteen, within predetermined time frame
  • Facilitating discussions and activities according to predetermined guidelines set by the Education Department staff
  • Setting up and breaking down tour-related materials
  • Inputting program data into Education programs log