Curatorial Assistant III

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA, USA

Full time

Jan 12

Full Job Description

Job Summary

The Curatorial Assistant III reports to the Curatorial Associate of Herpetology, in conjunction to the MCZ’s Director, Collections Operations, and faculty Curators. The Museum of Comparative Zoology and the Department of Herpetology aim to be inclusive environments that welcome colleagues of all backgrounds to work in a respectful and collegial environment. Candidates will interact with researchers, students and the public, and we seek candidates that value all these interactions.

Position Description

  • Special projects as directed by Curatorial Associate, which may be determined in consultation with the Curator of Herpetology, the MCZ Director, and/or Director of Collections Operations.
  • Catalogs specimens as per existing workflows and performs data cleanup and quality control pertaining to specimens and transactions within collection management system (MCZbase). This includes, but is not limited to, updating taxonomic identifications (e.g., scientific name), error corrections, and georeferencing of existing specimen data.
  • Develops and implements new workflows for digitization, databasing, and curation (including inventory, optimal storage and rearrangement, reidentification, and taxonomic update to conform to current scientific literature).
  • Prepares, packs, documents, and maintains loans and associated specimens in consultation with supervisor. Also prepares, files, and tracks import/export process in coordination with international customs authorities, and advises students, internal/external researchers on legal transport of specimens.
  • Fulfills digital imaging, microCT scanning, and x-ray requests with resulting media provided to external researchers, stored in MCZbase, and/or uploaded to Morphosource.
  • Serves as a point of contact for and assistance within the collection to faculty, staff, students, outside researchers, and the general public. This includes coordinating visitation logistics and responding to technical inquiries related to the collection, taxonomic nomenclature, database, loan policies, etc.
  • Trains interns, LHTs/TMPs, graduate students, and postdocs in collection protocols, including the proper handling and care of the specimens, use of database, and instruction on equipment. Responsibilities may also include organization and supervision of projects for interns and LHTs/TMPs within the collection.

Basic Qualifications

College background in vertebrate biology, herpetology or organismal biology. 3 or more years of experience in a museum collection. PC experience required.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

Master’s degree in herpetology, biology, or museum studies strongly preferred. Experience with spreadsheet software, collection databases, imaging software, and photo editing software required. Detailed knowledge of curatorial practices specific to herpetological collections. Extensive experience in preparation techniques for herpetological specimens. Knowledge of taxonomy of reptiles and amphibians. Familiarity with digital imaging, including x-rays and microCT scanning. Works well independently as well as part of a tem. Strong attention to detail. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Presentation skills a plus.

Physical Requirements

Must be able to stand for extended periods, walk, climb or balance, stoop, reach, kneel and/or crouch, often on uneven terrain or wet surfaces. Must be able to lift and/or move objects weighing 50 pounds.

Working Conditions

Office and museum collection settings.

Harvard University continues to place the highest priority on the health, safety and wellbeing of its faculty, staff, and students, as well as the wider community. Please note that all new employees will be required to provide confirmation of primary series COVID-19 vaccination upon hire, as detailed on our COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Webpage. Harvard University Health Services employees and other health care individuals are also required to be up to date on vaccination as described by the CDC. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. Additional information regarding this requirement, exemptions, verification of vaccination status, and other related policies and resources may be found on the University’s COVID-19 Information Website.

Additional Information

In order to be considered for this position, a cover letter and resume must be submitted.

***All formal written offers will be made by FAS HR.

We are unable to provide visa sponsorship for this position.

About Us

With rich collections comprised of more than 21 million extant and fossil invertebrate and vertebrate specimens, the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard University has been a center for research and education focused on advancing evolutionary biology and biodiversity science since its founding in 1859.

Job Function



USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code

403082 Curatorial Assistant III




Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ)

Time Status


Salary Grade



55 - Hvd Union Cler & Tech Workers

Pre-Employment Screening

Criminal, Identity


Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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