Collection Manager, Flowering Plants

  • Full Time
  • Chicago

Website Field Museum

Natural History Museum

Field Museum is hiring a Collections Manager to manage its world-class Flowering Plants collections as well as subsidiary collections that includes Gymnosperms and Economic Botany.

The Collections Manager reports to the Head of Botanical Collections and will manage day-to-day activities in the Flowering Plant collection including management of staff. The Collections Manager will work jointly with curators to set long and short-term priorities for the Flowering Plant collections and will also interact with other collections areas, research scientists, exhibition developers, and education staff. The Collections Manager will have opportunities to pursue research for up to a maximum of 20% of their work time and seek funding for collections improvements and specimen-based research projects. The successful candidate will be evaluated on the ability to promote, study, build, care for, and ensure accessibility to the great wealth of specimens in the collection.

The Field Museum’s Searle Herbarium is the fifth largest in the Western Hemisphere and houses 2.5 million accessioned flowering plant specimens, including nearly 40,000 types. Representation is worldwide, but particularly strong in tropical Central and South America. The Central American material is overall one of the world’s finest single collections with special strengths in Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica. The South American collections are quite extensive housing the world’s best overcall collections of Peruvian plants as well as important strengths in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. A good representation in North American taxa is found, especially for Missouri and Illinois. In addition the Field Museum curates an extensive collection of approximately 2000 dried fruits, large seeds, bark and other plant parts that generally are not accommodated on herbarium specimens. The gymnosperm collection consists of approximately 12,000 collections, 1000 cones and 41 types. Field Museum also curates an extensive Economic Botany Collection of over 12,000 specimens, uniquely representing plant products and artifacts that complement the more traditional herbarium collections. The Type Photograph Collection also consists of more than 75,000 negatives dating back to the 1930’s.

We are especially interested in candidates with a vision for making collections accessible through digitization and the next frontiers in natural history collections. Digitization efforts in the flowering plant collection are ongoing, with over 600,000 currently available online. The collection is a major research resource for the national and international scientific communities. Containing unique material of special historical and ecological significance, the collection is world-class in size as well as taxonomic and geographic scope. Candidates with demonstrated leadership abilities and experience are especially encouraged to apply.

Applications must include Cover Letter and a CV to be considered. The review of applications will begin on January 10th, 2022.
Duties and Responsibilities

Managing digitization tasks including imaging specimens, georeferencing, species inventory, and development and evaluation of workflows and standards to ensure best practices
Incorporating new material into the collection, preparing, sorting, identifying, and cataloging specimens
Tracking and reporting metrics of collection use and growth
Managing the flowering plant collection budget with the Head of Botanical Collections
Coordinating an active loan program and on-site use of the collection by researchers
Participating in the museum’s public programming and promoting the mission of the museum and its fundraising goals
Supporting the museum’s commitment to increasing diversity, access, and inclusion across its programs
Training, mentorship, and supervision of staff, interns, and volunteers in the collection
Developing funding proposals to complete special projects and further the maintenance and development of the collection

Masters in Biology (with an emphasis in flowering plants) with at least 3 year’s collections experience; Ph.D. (with an emphasis in flowering plants) desirable. A well-versed background in Botany is required, including familiarity with other herbaria and research;
Knowledge of taxonomic principles and herbarium collection management;
Strong organizational skills necessary to keep collections accessible;
Ample experience with collection databases, imaging systems, and data aggregators is required, as well as a strong history of managing digitization projects;
Working knowledge of international and domestic regulations for the shipment of specimens and requirements for packing loans;
Strong history of building and managing a diverse team of staff, interns, and volunteers.
Important Note: In order to protect the health and safety of our community, employees, guests, and their families from COVID-19, the Field Museum is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to provide proof of that status in order to maintain employment. Requests for exemptions from employees with qualifying medical conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent them from receiving a COVID-19 vaccination will be considered.

The Field Museum is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. We strive to create a working environment that is free of sexual, racial, and ethnic discrimination, and one that promotes human dignity and mutual respect among all staff. As such, it is the policy of the Field Museum to hire without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.

The Field Museum strives to ensure that our career website and recruiting process are accessible to all. If you are unable or limited in your ability to use or access our online application, or if you require a reasonable accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, completing any pre-employment testing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to

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