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

Assistant Curator – Herpetology

Virginia Museum of Natural History
Martinsville, Virginia
Closing Date
Application review will begin 22 October 2021 and continue until the position is filled.

An exceptional job opportunity with the Virginia Museum of Natural History is now available.  The mission of the Virginia Museum of Natural History is to interpret Virginia’s natural heritage within a global context in ways that are relevant to all the citizens of the Commonwealth.  

If you meet the qualifications for Assistant Curator – Herpetology, we invite you to apply to join our staff.  The earliest starting date for this position is 1 May 2022, but no later than 15 June 2022.

We seek a dynamic individual to conduct integrative, field- and collections-based research in herpetology. The successful candidate will be expected to obtain external funding to support their research efforts. Area of specialization is open, but an active interest in extant museum collections in herpetology is a plus. 

The state-of-the-art preparation lab has staff technical support and an active corps of trained volunteers. VMNH also maintains a range of stereographic and petrographic microscopes, a DNA extraction lab, modern collections databases and other support facilities. Additional facilities are available at Virginia Tech less than 2 hours away. Most curators maintain active adjunct faculty appointments at Virginia Tech. This allows, among other things, internet access to the Virginia Tech library.

Research is the most important aspect of this position.  Other important functions, such as collection building, teaching, publications, and exhibit development flow from research results.

Duties of the position include:

  • Investigates questions related to herpetology by an active program of field work and laboratory analysis of collected data.  Publishes results of the research.
  • Manages and adds specimens to the museum’s collections—including acquisition, management, preservation, organization, computer cataloguing, and loaning of specimens.
  • Teaching in museum-university programs—including designing and teaching courses in herpetology, supervising and advising students, and assisting in administration of graduate and undergraduate programs.
  • Initiates and develops concepts for museum exhibits in herpetology—providing appropriate specimens for exhibition and supplying scientific background to the exhibit department for the construction of exhibits.
  • Plans and writes research reports and prepares manuscripts for publication.
  • Answers questions relating to herpetology and identifies specimens for the lay public; provides information on the natural sciences to schools, teachers or others in the public who may request them.

Minimum Starting Pay: $48,000-$50,000.


General competence in field collection, preparation, care, and management of herpetology collections is required, along with the ability to interface with outside scientists requesting access to the collections. Ph.D. in biology, zoology, botany, systematics, anatomy or related field, with a specialty in herpetology is required at the time of appointment, and experience beyond the Ph.D. is preferred. Research experience in museum, laboratory and field contexts important; some teaching experience and exhibit development experience desirable.

This position requires intimate knowledge of method and theory in herpetology and museological curation. Necessary skills and abilities are exceptional communication skill (both oral and written), organizational ability, teaching ability, creativity, and fiscal responsibility.

Duties for this position also include interaction with other museum departments such as education, outreach, exhibits, and advancement. The ability to effectively communicate scientific knowledge to a wide spectrum of audiences is an important qualification.

To Apply

Only online applications are accepted:  virginiajobs.peopleadmin.com (job 1085900). In addition to the online application, applicants must submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a statement of research and curatorial interests and goals, a list of publications relevant to the application, and names and contact information of at least three references. These documents may be attached to the online application.

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