Student Botany Collections Assistant

MuseumOfNature The Canadian Museum of Nature

Competition: CMN-2090-21-OC-036
Term: Summer 2022 (May to August)
Hours of work: 37.5 hours per week
Work location: Canada Museum of Nature, 1740 Pink Road, Gatineau
Number of positions: 1 position
Closing date: February 6, 2022

The National Herbarium of Canada at the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN) comprises over one million dried plant and lichen specimens emphasizing Canadian wild species. Through the herbarium, the Museum serves diverse research and education communities by building a spectacular collection, facilitating visitor access, digitizing and sharing these holdings online, protecting them for future generations, responding to questions, and conducting outreach activities.

We are excited to add an efficient, organized, observant student to the team that is executing a once-in-decades comprehensive re-organization of the herbarium, to align with modern taxonomic and phylogenetic concepts. Working alongside other project staff, the student will experience behind-the-scenes at a National Museum while gaining hands-on experience with biodiversity collections. He or she will also play a role in connecting this amazing resource with the many people, today and in the future, who can put it to good use for science and society.

The student in this role will gain:

  • Knowledge of flowering plant diversity and global geography;
  • Knowledge of botanical nomenclature, synonyms, and their publication;
  • Experience in specimen handling and repair;

Knowledge of herbarium uses, organization and management.

The main tasks for this job include:

  • Review taxonomic names on specimen labels, and consult online taxonomic databases (e.g. VASCAN) and internal references, to identify accepted names and synonyms;
  • Apply annotation labels to specimens where required;
  • Sort specimens from outside the Americas by collection locality (continent) ;
  • Ensure that specimens are housed in an appropriate number of protective folders, and repair specimens where required;
  • Label folders with genus/species names and transfer specimens between folders.


Candidates must meet the following basic requirements:

Enrolled in a university undergraduate or college program in Biology (or a related field) or Museum Studies; candidates must be registered to return to their studies in Fall 2022

Ability to speak and write in English or French;

1)     Computer fluency and experience with Microsoft Excel;

2)     Basic understanding of taxonomic classification and naming conventions for biological species;

3)     Familiarity with Canadian and world geography;

4)     Ability to read and comprehend information on specimen labels, and apply it conducting basic tasks;

5)     Ability to apply fine motor skills and manual dexterity when handling, inspecting, documenting and transporting collection objects;

6)     Ability to exercise focused attention to detail in order to maintain necessary high standards for accuracy and organization in all tasks;

7)     Ability to listen effectively, respect established procedures and standards, and faithfully follow instructions;

8)     Ability to communicate effectively in order to ask and answer questions regarding the methods and progress of assigned tasks;

9)     Ability to maintain self-motivation in a variety of team and independent task scenarios;

Academic or practical experience with botany and/or collection management are considered significant assets.

Please note that this is a full time position, during weekday hours only. It is best suited to a student with a co-op term or a placement to fulfill, and can’t be undertaken in tandem with a full-time student course load.

SALARY:  Rates of pay are determined at the initial appointment or reappointment stage and are based on the incumbent’s current academic level as per the museum’s terms and conditions of employment for students The official working period is from Monday to Friday between 8:00 and 16:00.

NOTE:  Canadian citizenship is not required however individuals must be legally entitled to work in Canada. The Canadian Museum of Nature is committed to developing inclusive, barrier-free selection processes and work environments.  If contacted in relation to a job opportunity or testing, please advise the Human Resources Advisor in a timely fashion of the accommodation measures which must be taken to enable you to be assessed in a fair and equitable manner. Information received relating to accommodation measures will be addressed confidentially.

The Museum supports employment equity.

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