Posted: 20/08/2012 09:43

Start Date: Not Available
Salary: £35,904-£48,128 pa depending on knowledge & skilsl
Location: Science Museum – London
Level: Curatorial

Deadline: 19/09/2012 23:59

Hours: 36
Benefits: Civil Service Pension
Job Type: Full Time – Permanent

The Science Museum is looking for a recognised authority and expert who can play a key role across our curatorial group. As Deputy Keeper of Science & Medicine, you will develop interdisciplinary approaches across our unparalleled collections, maintain and grow our reputation for scholarship and work closely with colleagues to deliver outstanding galleries, exhibitions and publications.


The Science Museum was founded in 1857 with objects shown at the Great Exhibition held in the Crystal Palace. Today the Museum is world renowned for its historic collections, awe-inspiring galleries and inspirational exhibitions.


You must demonstrate excellent specialist knowledge of your field, allied to a broad and deep understanding of the intellectual and historical background and frameworks across relevant disciplines. A proven track record of both scholarly and more widely accessible publications is also essential. You will be able to lead teams, influence overall Museum planning and make strategic, creative and curatorial contributions to significant sponsorship bids.


Experience of working in a senior curatorial role is essential, within the museums or wider heritage sectors. You must have the communication, interpersonal and relationship skills to become a true ambassador, spokesperson and advocate for the Museum, with experience of delivering major projects, conferences, seminars and lectures. Sound business and financial planning skills are also required. 

Closing date Wednesday 19 September 2012

Interviews will be held week commencing 24 September 2012

Application details


When you apply you will be asked to upload one document in Microsoft Word format which includes both your CV and a covering statement. If you are applying for more than one role please upload your CV and then answer online the role specific question.


Your chance of being short-listed for interview will be greatly increased if your covering letter and CV clearly demonstrate the competencies described in the job description and the criteria for curatorial excellence below.


Both Keepers and Deputy Keepers are expected to be able to demonstrate significant and sustained delivery against each of the following criteria:

  1. Established reputation for scholarly excellence, acknowledged by national and international peers
  2. Established reputation for curatorial excellence demonstrated through proactive collections development and interpretation
  3. Significant record of research and publication in a field relevant to the Museum of major works, peer-reviewed papers and popular articles with a proven track record of successfully supervising the research of others
  4. Proven track record of proactive collaboration with a range of external partners, including funding bodies, universities and learned or other professional organisations or institutions
  5. Established or developing media profile congruent to a must-go-to status.


Please note that it is not possible to upload more than one document to our system.


SMG Job Description

Job Details

Job Title: 
Deputy Keeper of Science & Medicine

Department: Curatorial

Location: Science Museum, London

Reports to: Keeper of Science & Medicine

Date: September 2012


Purpose of the Job

  • An innovative, enthusiastic and able museum professional interested in developing interdisciplinary approaches to the Museum’s collection and relevant fields of research with an established internal and national reputation. A recognised authority and expert, demonstrating excellent specialist knowledge allied with a broad and deep understanding of the intellectual and historical background and frameworks prevailing across relevant disciplines.
  • The Deputy Keeper plays a key role in the management of the Science & Medicine curatorial group to ensure its work is fully integrated into the Collections Department and Museum as a whole, delivering agreed museum-wide and departmental objectives and high quality ongoing work. He/she is expected to maintain a strong and developing reputation for scholarship and to represent the museum nationally and internationally.
  • The Deputy Keeper will work closely with colleagues throughout the Collections Department and other key departments throughout the Museum (including Exhibitions & Programmes, Research & Public History and Learning & Audience Research) to ensure the seamless delivery of outstanding galleries, temporary and touring exhibitions and publications.



  • Manages, in agreement with the Keeper, a core team of 5 or more permanent Curators and, either directly or through the wider team, up to 10 Associate Curators, Research Associates, Interns and Volunteers.
  • Acts as deputy to the Keeper of Science & Medicine.
  • Exhibits expert specialist knowledge across the range of the Museum’s Science & Medicine collections to promote and shape their interpretation, development and deployment. He/she plays a significant role in shaping and delivering the Museum’s Masterplan and Collecting Plan.
  • Provides the rationale, curatorial and creative underpinning for sponsorship bids up to the value of £5,000,000.
  • Leads or provides expert knowledge and content direction to projects comprising teams of up to 10 members of staff and having budgets of up to £5,000,000.
  • Initiates, develops and sustains long-term relationships with external stakeholders including other specialists across relevant fields (historians of and current practitioners of Science, Technology and Medicine) and museums, libraries and archives, funding bodies and other regional, national and international bodies for the benefit of the Museum.
  • Conceives and leads a major conference with 100+ participants.
  • Exercises direct authority for project budgets of up to £50,000 as and when necessary.
  • Represents the Museum nationally and internationally.


Key Deliverables/Accountabilities

  1. Works closely with the Keeper of Science & Medicine to develop, lead and motivate an effective Science & Medicine curatorial team that delivers world-class curatorial practice, research and exhibition content. Coaching direct reports to achieve their full potential using strong people skills and effective performance management systems.
  2. Fosters object based knowledge and research to further expertise within the fields covered by the Museum’s Science & Medicine collection, developing it both within the Museum and in partnership with other institutions. Maintains a strong research profile, publishing scholarly monographs and articles. Advises stakeholders and enquirers, both internal and external, on matters within area of expertise.
  3. Actively develops, researches and documents the Museum’s collection, explaining its significance to a range of audiences and stakeholders.
  4. Works with project teams delivering special exhibitions, gallery developments and online resources, supplying relevant subject expertise throughout and beyond the Museum to a wide range of audiences.
  5. Supports the setting and management of standards, building the Museum’s reputation for academic excellence and raising the profile of the Museum’s collection and subject areas through representation, exhibitions, research and publication.
  6. Member of the Collections Department’s management team, ensuring resources are appropriately deployed and advising managers and peers on policy and practice relating to all relevant subject areas and the management, development and deployment of the Museum’s Science & Medicine collection and knowledge assets.
  7. Contributes to the development of co-operative agreements with other relevant organisations, nationally and internationally, and exercises responsibility for specific initiatives as agreed with the Keeper of Science & Medicine.
  8. Take care of your personal health and safety and that of others and report any health and safety concerns. Ensure proactive compliance with Science Museum Group H&S Policies, including risk assessments and implementing safe systems of work.


Working Relationships and Contacts

  • Keeper of Science & Medicine and Science & Medicine curators
  • Head of Collections
  • Senior Keeper, Keeper of Technologies & Engineering and wider Collections Department
  • Directorate and SMG Executive
  • Deputy Director and all ScienceMuseum departments
  • Museum professionals, academics and practitioners, both throughout the UK and internationally
  • Other internal and external stakeholders, as required.


Candidate Profile


  • Curatorial, professional and general
  • Acknowledged authority/leader in interpreting the Museum’s collection and subject areas in innovative and engaging ways for both permanent and temporary, physical and virtual, exhibitions and projects.
  • Demonstrates both broad and deep knowledge of four or more relevant subject areas gained through doctoral or equivalent experience.
  • Experience of working at a senior curatorial level in the museums and heritage sector, including a thorough knowledge of all aspects of curatorial practice and the delivery of major permanent gallery, temporary and touring exhibition projects.
  • Proven ability to think and act innovatively to promote the Museum, its collection and programme.
  • Experience of contributing to the successful working of interdisciplinary teams.
  • Proven ability and demonstrable experience of applying and promoting sound business and financial planning principles in the management of operational and project budgets.
  • Proven experience and developing reputation with the Media as a successful, trusted and authoritative ambassador, spokesperson and advocate for the Museum, its collection and projects. Effective in both reactive interaction and extrovert and entrepreneurial in proactive contact with the Media and audiences at all levels, able to communicate with considerable skill across both the academic and wider public arenas.
  • Experience of representing the Museum or its collection as an active member of key subject specialist and/or museological external committees and networks, advisory panels and editorial boards.
  • Keeps up-to-date and can talk knowledgably about recent and ongoing developments in relevant subject and museological fields. Able to interpret and apply this knowledge to support the formulation of strategy and policy.
  • Possessing excellent imagination and creative thinking abilities, demonstrating a real understanding of our audiences and stakeholders, able to make significant contributions to multiple and concurrent projects.
  • Demonstrable experience of successfully applying highly developed oral and written communication skills to influence key stakeholders, such as Senior Managers and funding bodies. An accomplished networker with the proven ability to collaborate successfully with peers and other stakeholders both nationally and internationally.
  • Demonstrable experience of organising and delivering conferences, seminars, lectures and other forms of outreach internally and externally.
  • Experience of indentifying and driving fundraising initiatives and successfully supporting associated activities.


Skills, Knowledge and Relevant Qualifications

  • Interpretation and communication of collections and subject areas
  • Proven ability to lead the development of the Science & Medicine collection, to make sound judgements about the significance of objects and expert in their identification.
  • Excellent narrative and contextualisation skills across relevant subject areas and deployable across all media for a variety of audiences (from object label and interactive content to overarching messages).
  • Excellent capacity to communicate with both specialist and non-specialist audiences through public tours and presentations, conference papers, peer-reviewed journal articles and other major publications.
  • Able to support the deliver of world-class, fundable exhibitions and publications firmly grounded on expert knowledge.
  • Ability to present sensitive material effectively, demonstrating intellectual courage in balancing political and academic sensitivities and reputational risk.
  • Working knowledge of other languages is highly desirable as the Museum aspires to increase its international reach.
  • Research
  • Able to identify and define the high level issues for further research or investigation.
  • Demonstrates excellent research skills, able to support and deliver world-class products across relevant subject areas and all media and for a variety of audiences.
  • Extensive record and increasing reputation for publication – planning, researching and writing books, catalogues, peer-reviewed articles and other scholarly and non-specialist publications.
  • Proven ability to supervise and/or support the research of external academics and research associates – acting successfully as formal Supervisor as required.
  • Management (people and projects)
  • Skilful delegator, encouraging ownership and involvement in project delivery and problem resolution. Able to listen to range of viewpoints, resolve issues and make decisions in the context of the wider political, economic and social environment, delegating or escalating sign-off to the right level.
  • Possesses high-level organisation management, planning and administrative skills, with the ability to prioritise and co-ordinate multiple activities to demanding and conflicting deadlines, having the capacity to achieve buy-in, yet being flexible enough to work well within a team and collaboratively across and beyond the Museum.
  • A role model for junior colleagues, who has contributed to the training and development of others in their own specialisms, is seen as a mentor and coach.
  • Proven track record of delivering significant projects to time and budget.
  • Proven track record of supervising and mentoring research associates, associate curators and interns.
  • Has a high level of computer literacy with the ability to identify and use technological tools/solutions in support of collections work and digitisation initiatives.



  • Actively contributes to building an environment of partnership, trust, involvement, responsibility and achievement. Engages with colleagues al all levels in bringing new ideas to fruition.
  • Promotes and role models high levels of expertise, professionalism, team work, effective delegation and accountability. Feeds back on performance regularly, praising success and identifying development needs, promoting a high performance culture.
  • Champions skills growth across curatorial and wider Collections teams.
  • Actively fosters and promotes the goals of the Museum, conveying personal commitment to the Museum and its values, building other’s confidence and trust, successfully mediating between corporate and local concerns.
  • Actively fosters and promotes a stimulating intellectual environment for museological practice, academic excellence and curatorial scholarship, building a sense of community through own contribution and style.
  • Actively promotes and role models innovation and embraces change.
  • Actively promotes and role models collaboration with other museums and institutions.
  • Consistently builds the Museum’s reputation and promotes knowledge and appreciation of the collection nationally.
  • Presents with style, charm and appropriate humour, establishing the right tone and pitch, adapting easily for different audiences.
  • Instinctively sees how proposals fit/do not fit into the Museum’s overall plans and objectives and leads accordingly.
  • Focuses on outcomes and results.


Scope for Impact

  • The Deputy Keeper supports the Keeper to ensure that the Science & Medicine curators and relevant collections are effectively deployed to deliver the Museum’s programme and are managed, maintained and promoted as a valuable resource for our visitors and other stakeholders and audiences.
  • Through promoting, developing and researching our collection, this role will impact upon the Museum’s forward programme and its national and international profile.
  • He/she will make a significant contribution to the future development of the Science & Medicine collection and will play a key role in supporting curators and associates to deliver a world-class forward programme.


Please note:

  • This job description is not exhaustive and amendments and additions may be required in line with future changes in policy, regulation or organisational requirements, it will be reviewed on a regular basis.
  • This role is subject to a Disclosure Scotland basic criminal record check