National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)

Associate Director for Science (ADS)

National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)

Washington, DC, United States

Washington, DC


The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH or Museum) invites applications and nominations for Associate Director for Science (ADS). The NMNH is a science-based museum within the Smithsonian Institution. With over 146 million specimens and objects, the Museum’s National Collection is the largest natural history collection in the world and represents over 90 percent of the holdings of the Smithsonian. NMNH sees between five and six million visitors a year, making it one of the world’s most visited, and esteemed, natural history museums. On any given day, a scientific community of more than 500 works in the NMNH’s facilities, publishing over 1000 scientific papers and securing more than $8 million in external grant funding per year.

The ADS has the opportunity to set the vision for NMNH Science that builds upon a grand legacy of exploration, discovery, premier collections-based research, and public outreach. Reporting to the new Deputy Director, Dr. Ian Owens, the ADS will lead and develop an overall scientific staff that includes 68 curators and comprises one of the largest collection-based research teams in the world. The ADS will propel NMNH’s investments in world-class talent, development of big, ambitious projects, and use of new technologies to mobilize its collection to ensure the continuation of NMNH’s outstanding scientific legacy and future impact.

The Museum seeks an accomplished researcher with significant experience in leadership and administration in a research-intensive environment. The ADS will be a strategic-thinker with excellent communication skills and the ability to attract a diverse array of talented researchers to join NMNH, while retaining and developing its current staff. The ADS will be a standout mentor who views their success as inextricably tied to the success of the Museum’s scientific community.

NMNH has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in this recruitment. All applications, inquiries, and nominations, which will remain confidential, should be directed via

The Smithsonian Institution does not discriminate against any employee or any applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factors.
The Smithsonian provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need an accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the contact person listed on the search website. The decision on granting a reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.