Collections Technician, Vertebrate Zoology

Position: Collections Technician, Vertebrate Zoology
Employment Status: Temporary 90 Day Assignment, potential for Full-Time Hourly, Nonexempt
Department: Permanent Collections
Reports to: Curator of Vertebrate Zoology

Job Summary:

The position of Collections Technician for Vertebrate Zoology is responsible to the Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, and in turn the Museum in all assigned duties relating to care of the Vertebrate Zoology permanent collections working and coordinating with the Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, and the Director of Collections.  This position interacts with the general public, and all staff levels requiring diplomacy, courtesy and confidentiality.

This position ensures continuity of collections documentation in the EMu database, provides technical support to the Vertebrate Zoology Curator, while maintaining the highest standards in the stewardship of the museum’s collection. The specifics vary tremendously on a daily basis, but can be generally within these areas described below:

Essential Job Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Inventory, manage database, photograph, tag specimens for Vertebrate Zoology
  • Assist with curation of physical specimens, including organization and preparation for storage or display
  • Assist in conducting and coordinating the appropriate processing of new collections or existing collections including specimen preparation, labeling, cataloguing, assist with accessioning and processing of loans as assigned
  • Participate in establishing priorities for collection care and management in coordination with curatorial staff
  • Assist with dusting, cleaning and small treatments as discussed and approved in advance
  • Digitization and continuing documentation of collections including adding information to records in database, capturing digital images of specimen labels, correspondence, archives, publications and loan records using collection management software
  • Maintain electronic and digital records, including updating taxonomic and auxiliary information
  • Assist Curator with specimen handling
  • Prepare specimens for storage
  • Assist Curator in maintenance of storage organization and conditions, including pest monitoring and management
  • Assist with regular cleaning of exhibitions, working with other Collections and Exhibitions staff
  • Assist in monitoring/implementation of pest management in exhibitions
  • Represent the museum with high level of integrity and professionalism nationally and internationally
  • Attend departmental meetings (mandatory unless otherwise indicated)
  • Adhere to museum policies and support management decisions in a positive, professional manner
  • Conform to the HMNS Collections Management Policy as well as the procedures and guidelines of the museum registrar profession as explained in the Museum Registration Methods book
  • Assist curator/other departments/outside inquiries/visitors/volunteers/interns with research in  database/archives/storage
  • Other duties as assigned

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Ability to read, write and speak fluent English
  • Excellent time management skills and able to assess priorities, work well under pressure, work collaboratively and/or solve problems independently as necessary
  • Able to consistently meet departmental and institutional deadlines
  • Ability to organize and prioritize projects and to multi-task as needed
  • Able to work well independently and as part of a team
  • Self-directed. Self-motivated.  Comfortable working independently, as well as working supervised
  • Able to maintain strict confidentiality
  • Prior experience coordinating exhibition galleries, fumigation, and implementing small spot fumigation preferred
  • Knowledge of, and proficiency in, basic computer office programs including MS Word and Excel
  • Minimum BS in Biology/Zoology (or related field), and proven experience in avian specimen preparation
  • Experience working with vertebrate collections and professional knowledge/experience working in a Natural Science/History Museum – Ideal candidate will be passionate about working in a museum setting/collection
  • Knowledge of global vertebrate zoology, natural history, collections management organization, database and imaging skills highly desirable
  • Comfortable receiving specific training, constructive critique, alternate methods, etc.
  • Knowledge and experience with collections database (EMu preferred) as well as best practices for accession/deaccession procedures and documentation
  • Knowledge and experience with storage, packing, crating, art handling, shipping, condition reports, installation, movement of artifacts, collections documentation, scheduling, customs and permits
  • Ability to work with close attention to detail
  • Ability to work with internal and external museum professionals, vendors, donors, the public in a professional and tactful manner
  • Ability to be flexible and embrace changes within this position due to the changing priorities of the department/museum, and/or for cross-training purposes
  • Knowledge and experience of emergency preparedness and recovery
  • Bi-lingual skills preferred
  • Professional attire and demeanor, particularly when working at the museum, or meeting visitors
  • Work performance reviewed informally monthly during inter-department meetings and formally in December/January of each year


  • Must be able to operate office equipment including a desktop computer, office scanner/copier, cell phone, laptop, iPad/tablet, camera, office telephone
  • Must be able to stand or sit for long periods of time
  • Must be able to push, pull or lift 50 lbs.
  • Must be able to use / climb a step stool or short ladder
  • Must be able to use dollies and hand carts and hand tools
  • Must be able to consistently arrive to work on time during work hours, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Occasional early mornings for hall fumigation required throughout the year
  • Must be able to consistently work 40 hours per week on-site at the Marconi collection facility, unless specified otherwise
  • Must be comfortable working with deceased animal specimens in various states of decomposition and be able to complete preparation the same day specimen was begun (occasional complex specimens will require additional time to complete).
  • Must have a proven track record of reliable punctuality and attendance
  • Must have a reliable source of transportation
  • Must comply with the museum’s COVID-19 protocols

Perks of Working at HMNS Include:

  • Free Individual HMNS Membership
  • Free access to museum exhibits, Butterfly Center, Burke Baker Planetarium and Giant Screen Theater, and satellite facilities
  • Discounted programming including summer camp
  • Free staff parking
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Predominately daytime hours (some early morning hours occasionally required)

Application Instructions: 

Resumes will be accepted through Thursday, May 18, 2023 and can be submitted in the following ways:

  • By email to
  • By mail to HR Department, HMNS, 5555 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas, 77030
  • In-person by dropping off your application materials c/o HR at the Museum Service desk at HMNS in Hermann Park

No phone calls, please.

HMNS does not to respond to inquiries regarding application status.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is an EEO Employer.


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