Curator of the History of Navigation

The Museum The National Maritime Museum illustrates the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. In this context navigation is a vital element of the story of maritime exploration, discovery and empire, and the National Maritime Museum is committed to promoting its research and public interpretation for a breadth and depth of audiences.

The National Maritime Museum holds one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections devoted to the history of maritime navigation, including the Admiralty compass collection and national reference collections of sextants and related instruments. The collection is already widely used in displays at the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and is frequently used by researchers, the media and lent to other display venues.

The post The Curator of the History of Navigation has a key role in communicating the subject and in researching the collections of navigational instruments. The post-holder will be expected to extend our expertise and ability to interpret these collections. We are particularly interested in this post promoting a broader interdisciplinary and contextual approach to study of our collections, within the broader disciplines of the history of science and maritime history. The post is also part of our succession-planning programme.

These are exciting times for the Royal Observatory Greenwich, which is embarked on a major re-development project, Time & Space. This will see the development of a modern astronomy education centre, complemented by new displays that explore the interrelated history of time, navigation and astronomy, demonstrating the central role played by the ROG in these areas over the last 350 years. This post will have a role to play in these developments, which will involve research, exhibition, education and web-based interpretation work.

We are therefore looking for an exceptional individual interested in the history of science and maritime history who is keen to develop their expertise. The ideal candidate will combine historical knowledge with passion for the subject matter and will have strong communication skills and a desire to share their expertise with learners at every stage of development. Qualities will include a creative and inter-disciplinary approach to research and a proven track record in either the history of science or maritime history, combined with an interest in exploring the history of navigation within its broader historical context. The candidate would also need to demonstrate a clear interest in material culture. It is not essential that the post-holder has detailed experience of working with navigational instrument collections to date, but they must be able to demonstrate a willingness to develop the necessary practical skills to analyse this material for research purposes.

Specific aims – To help develop new gallery and publication plans for the historical galleries associated with Time & Space and work with the Exhibitions team to develop new galleries, update current displays and help in the production of exhibition-based publications – Develop intellectual responsibility for the collections by publishing work of a high academic standard that interprets the significance of the collections (or a related subject area) and enhances the reputation of the Museum – To research the collections in the context of the history of science and maritime history – To work with the Education and Interpretation team to promote access to the instrument collections and their interpretation for a wide audience – To actively communicate the subject, collections and NMM work in this area to public, corporate and business audiences – To assume joint responsibility for the subject, supporting and complementing existing expertise and helping to refine the Museum’s collection policy in this area, contributing to the documentation and management of relevant collections – To work with UK Maritime Collection Strategy partners and help drive forward the aims of the strategy (see – To develop partnerships with other specialists and organisations with strong interests in the area – Act as an advocate for the navigational instrument collections, promoting their access and interpretation for a wide audience – Help to produce on-line resources related to the history of navigation and navigational instruments, improving access to the Museum’s collections and education-based publications and events – Make a significant contribution to the Museum’s conference, seminar and continuing education programmes by giving lectures and talks and suggesting ideas for courses – Keep up-to-date with developments in the field and answer specialist enquiries on a range of issues relating to the collections and the subject area – Coordinate the work of NMM fellows conducting research on relevant topics – Act as a Museum spokesperson in the field of the history of navigation, history of the Royal Observatory Greenwich and history of science and for issues related to our navigational instrument collections

Skills and experience – A postgraduate qualification, or equivalent, experience in a relevant subject area, and keen to develop professional, academic and leadership capacities – A strong advocate for maritime history and the history of science, and able to promote an interdisciplinary approach to researching and interpreting the collections – An interest in material culture and its potential for interpretation is essential as is a desire to undertake detailed research on the instrument collection and related materials whilst placing them in a broader historical context – A strong communicator, able to inspire a variety of audiences about the work of NMM in this area. Not necessarily a specialist in maritime history, the post-holder would be expected to have the ability to interpret the collections within the broader history of science context – Excellent research skills, so as to make a contribution to scholarly research in the subject, allied to enthusiasm and commitment to the aims and mission of the Museum – To be able to demonstrate the ability to work in a team and to organize own time effectively to meet targets. A knowledge of or interest in maritime, horological or astronomical pursuits would be an advantage.

Salary range: £16,000-£26,000 depending on qualifications and experience.

To apply please send a CV and covering letter to Human Resources, National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF or by e-mail to [email protected]

We regret we are unable to reply to every applicant. If you do not hear from us within three weeks of the closing date please assue you have not been shortlisted.

Closing date for the receipt of applications: 27 September 2004