Curator of Maritime History – National Maritime Museum


The National Maritime Museum (NMM) is the largest institution of its kind in the world, with three sites: the Maritime Galleries, the Royal Observatory and the Queen’s House. Together these constitute one museum working to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people.

In 2011, the Sammy Ofer Wing opened, containing the special exhibition gallery and the Caird Library and archive. The wing is the largest development in the NMM’s history and a catalyst for the organization to change completely the way it presents its galleries, exhibitions and events.

Purpose of the job

The Museum is seeking to appoint a curator who will be able to provide expertise within the broad definition of maritime history: for example, oceanic studies; cultural, economic, imperial, political and social history; historical geography.

The candidate will, ideally, focus on the period from 1600 to 1800, although applications from candidates with analogous interests in later periods will also be considered.

Applicants with an interest in Britain’s engagement with the wider world will be especially welcomed.

The successful applicant will work within a curatorial group responsible for the intellectual development of naval, imperial and maritime history within the Museum through its world-class collections.

Led by the Senior Curator of Imperial and Maritime History, this curatorial group, one of four that sit within the Research Department, will play a key role in the planning and delivery of the Museum’s new galleries and exhibitions.

These are reinterpreting maritime history for a range of audiences through exciting, accessible and well-researched displays and stimulating publication and academic, digital media and learning programmes.

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate an interest in making scholarly research accessible to a range of Museum audiences through a variety of media.

The Museum is one of a number of Independent Research Organizations recognized by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is thus able to apply for major funding awards.

Once established, the successful candidate will be encouraged to develop funding proposals for the AHRC and other funding bodies that support the Museum’s broader strategic objectives.

Main responsibilities

The Curator of Maritime History will:

Contribute to the conception of exhibitions and galleries;

Support or lead curatorial development of large and small exhibitions and galleries;

Publish informative and scholarly texts for a range of NMM catalogues and other publications;

Research, propose and champion potential acquisitions;

Enhance the Museum’s collection database to agreed targets;

Liaise with Development and build relationships with possible benefactors;

Maintain and develop an appropriate scholarly network;

Follow and engage in scholarly debates on a national and international level;

Maintain and extend his or her scholarly expertise;

Contribute to the NMM’s research programme of conferences, seminars and workshops;

Give talks and lectures within the Museum and to outside bodies as required;

Propose, develop and participate in research projects, making applications to external funding bodies and supervising doctoral students;

Supervise interns or volunteers as appropriate;

Take on administrative tasks as required;

Serve on departmental and Museum-wide committees as required.

Essential qualifications

Demonstrable research skills:

A PhD or its equivalent in a relevant subject (although the Museum might be agreeable to appointing a candidate with a PhD in progress)

A good publication record in an appropriate area

Strong organizational and administrative skills

Excellent presentation and communication skills

Strong interpersonal skills

Desirable qualifications:

Experience working within a museum environment

Teaching experience at university level


The post holder will work a 41 hour week, core hours Monday to Friday 09.00-17.00 with an additional hour to be worked in agreement with line management.

Salary: £27,000-£35,000 per annum

Closing date: 7 October 2012

To apply please email a CV and covering letter to [email protected]

or post to: Human Resources, National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NF