Florida softshell turtle, Apalone ferox, photo by J.D. Willson

Collections Manager, Ichthyology

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles, CA
Closing Date
March 31, 2019

The Natural History Museum of LA County (NHMLA) seeks a Collections Manager of Ichthyology. NHMLA’s fish collection consists of approximately 190,000 lots (about 3 million specimens) of wet specimens and skeletal material, with related collections including frozen tissues, otoliths, eggs and larvae, cleared and stained specimens, photographs, radiographs, and field notes.  

Under the direct supervision of the Curator of Ichthyology, the Collections Manager will oversee the day-to-day operations of the fish collection, including processing incoming and outgoing loans and accessions, maintaining the collection’s records in NHMLA’s EMu database, maintaining and organizing specimens, improving and enhancing the collection through physical improvements and digitization projects, facilitating use of the collection by researchers, and supporting the needs of other NHMLA departments including Exhibitions, Education and Programming, and Marketing and Communications.

NHMLA is especially interested in candidates whose background and experience have prepared them to contribute to our commitment to engage and include culturally diverse audiences in museums and in science.  

This is a full-time position with a salary commensurate with experience. The job will start as soon as possible, preferably in spring or early summer 2019.


  • Cares for the Ichthyology collection on a day-­to-­day basis, including organizing, storing, securing and conserving. Plans and oversees consolidation, re­housing, and movement of the collection as necessary and/or directed by the Curator or VP Research & Collections. Assists with the development and implementation of plans for collection growth and improvement. Works cooperatively with other collection management and conservation staff to achieve the highest level of collection care and productivity across organizational units.
  • Provides documentation for the collection, including cataloging, entering/updating database records, inventorying, enhancing documentation through digitization, and researching specimen and/or material information.
  • Processes all incoming and outgoing specimens and/or materials including purchases, donations, exchanges and loans. Maintains extensive knowledge concerning the organisms and specimens in the Ichthyology collection. Serves as liaison to donors and lenders between Ichthyology and the Registrar’s Office.
  • Supports the Curator and/or VP Research & Collections in the acquisition of new specimens and/or materials for the collection through purchase, donation, exchange, and field collection.
  • Facilitates visits by researchers using the collection.
  • Supports the planning, installation and maintenance of temporary and permanent exhibits. Expedites the use of collection materials for display.
  • Participates in education and other public program activities of the Museum including but not limited to tours for the public and Museum members, and training of Museum Docents and Gallery Interpreters. Handles inquiries from the public and researchers. Conducts collection and lab tours as requested.
  • Stays current with the research field related to the collection including trends and techniques in collections management, collection-based research, conservation, digitization, biodiversity informatics, and documentation.
  • May lead or participate in ongoing or original research related to the collection.
  • Initiates and/or assists with identifying potential funding sources and writing proposals seeking grant funding for the collection.
  • Trains, supervises, and manages collections personnel, including students and volunteers.
  • Advocates for natural history collections and effectively communicates their importance to members of the public and the scientific community.


Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree with specialization in ichthyology, museum studies, or a related field and at least two years of technical experience in the collection, organization, care and/or conservation of natural history specimens/collections; or a bachelor’s degree in an applicable field and 5 years collection experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Working knowledge of fish taxonomy and the organization and management of ichthyological collections.
  • Database and Informatics Experience: Experience with database software typically used in natural history collections; working knowledge of common principles of biodiversity informatics and external data repositories such as VertNet, GBIF, and iDigBio.
  • Communication: Demonstrated excellence in oral and written communication.
  • Writing Skills: Ability to write reports, grants, professional correspondence, and procedure manuals.
  • Presentation Skills: Ability to effectively present information to and respond to questions from groups of managers, scientists, and the general public.
  • Computer Experience: Has experience using a personal computer and with typical word processing, spreadsheet, email, calendar, and other software (PC and/or Macintosh).

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience supervising staff, volunteers, and/or students

Applicants and employees are invited to identify reasonable accommodations that can be made to assist them to perform the essential functions of the position they seek or occupy. The incumbent must be able to perform this job safely, with reasonable accommodation if necessary, without endangering the health or safety of him/herself or others.

To Apply

The application deadline is March 31, 2019. Submit a current CV, a cover letter describing how your experience, knowledge, and interest qualify you for this position, and the names and contact information of three professional references through the Museum’s employment site at nhm.org/site/about-our-museums/working-at-nhm/jobs-nhm.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Please, no phone calls and no faxes.

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