Position title
Head of Research

Curatorial and Research


Immediate Supervisor
Assistant Director of Collections, Content and Exhibitions

Ongoing Fulltime

Acton, Canberra

Application close date
5pm 24 March 2013

Position contact
Dr Mathew Trinca, Assistant Director of Collections, Content and Exhibitions. 02 6208 5362

If you are deaf, hearing or speech impaired, you can contact us through the

  • National Relay Service TTY call 1800 555 677, or
  • Speak & Listen call 1800 555 727, or
  • Internet relay visit www.iprelay.com.au and ask for 1800 026 132

The Museum

The National Museum of Australia is a place that celebrates our people and our culture of storytelling. It is a place to explore our relationships to each other, to the places we live, and to the objects and events in our past. The Museum is the place where we come together to share stories of our unique and distinctive nation, to be part of a national conversation. Come and join the conversation. Be part of the story. Our story.

Information about our collections, galleries, research, temporary exhibitions and public programs, as well as corporate documents including annual reports, strategic plans and visitor research is available on our website at www.nma.gov.au. Applicants are encouraged to review this information as part of their application preparation.

Working environment and remuneration

The Museum offers:

  • creative and diverse work
  • a flexible and family friendly working environment
  • results that you can see and from which you can have immediate job satisfaction.
Annual salary of between $110,870 and $123,166 plus superannuation. Employment conditions are covered by the The National Museum of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2012-2014. Other arrangements may be negotiated under an Individual Flexibility Agreement.

Responsibilities of the section

The National Museum of Australia established a Research Centre in 2007, with the aim of fostering a deeper engagement with research across the Museum and its themes. It hosts researchers in Australian history and related disciplines, with the capacity to undertake and publish substantive research in the subject areas represented by the Museum’s collections and activities, in a variety of forms. Over the past two years, the Museum has sought to integrate the intellectual life of the Centre within its broader program of public engagement. The Centre is now strongly connected to the curatorial and collections work of the Museum, together with contributing to exhibitions, publishing and public programs.
The Centre comprises permanent members of the Museum’s staff (as both Senior Research Fellows and Senior Curatorial Fellows), members of the Museum’s staff seconded to the Centre for discrete periods (as Staff Fellows), and visitors and Research Associates. Their focus is on interdisciplinary research in three broad thematic areas: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies and histories; Australian social history; and the interaction of people with the Australian environment. Within this framework, research projects may be grounded in a range of disciplines – including environmental history, history of science, material culture and history of collections, economic history, social or cultural history, archaeology, anthropology, Indigenous history, historical geography, and museum practice.
The Research Centre also encompasses a specialist research library, which includes  important collections of personal papers and rare books. The Museum provides opportunities for publication of research through NMA Press, its scholarly online journal, reCollections, the Museum Magazine and through its exhibitions and public programs, an increasingly strong aspect of its members’ work.
The Centre encourages research in material culture, an approach facilitated by the Museum’s stewardship of the National Historical Collection and through collaborative projects with the Museum’s curatorial and collections management staff. The Museum maintains several focussed institutional partnerships nationally and internationally, with universities and academic centres, through a range of ARC Linkage Grant projects. Research staff members are encouraged to develop new projects in the Museum’s fields of interest through such partnerships.

Responsibilities of the position

The Head of Research at the National Museum of Australia is a leadership position for someone with an exceptional record of research in a cultural or educational institution. The successful candidate will have an established public profile, and be capable of refining the Museum’s research vision, working across all areas of the Museum’s diverse staff and external interests. Reporting to the Assistant Director, Collections, Content and Exhibitions, the Head of Research plays a key role in the creating and maintaining a strong research culture within the Museum, and in representing the Museum in its relations with other institutions and individuals. In addition to strong research skills, active research interests, and a strong record of scholarly publication, the Head needs to demonstrate wide-ranging intellectual and analytic capabilities, and a capacity to work closely with senior colleagues within and beyond the Division. As the Head of Research, you would also require business acumen, strong financial and human resource management skills, and a well-developed appreciation of the national and international context within which the Museum operates, and of its character as a public institution.


As Head of Research you will:

  • Develop and maintain a core capacity for high-level historical research within the Museum, in conjunction with other relevant areas of the Museum.
  • Plan and direct the activities of the Research Centre.
  • Undertake and publish substantive research in subject areas represented by the Museum’s collections. An active research interest in Australian social history is encouraged.
  • Ensure the timely completion and delivery of Centre work plans and projects on budget and to a high standard.
  • Advise the Museum’s Executive and Council on research and scholarship matters.
  • Promote and manage partnerships or collaboration with other centres of expertise or with scholars in the Museum’s field of interest, and represent the Museum at negotiations, consultations or discussions on these matters.
  • Contribute to the overall strategic planning process of the Museum.

Selection criteria

Applicants must respond to each of the following selection criteria in their application:

  1. Demonstrated high-level knowledge and experience of managing a research program in a major cultural or educational institution, with a proven ability to achieve results.
  2. Highly developed analytical and conceptual skills with a demonstrated ability to undertake and publish quality research in subject areas represented by the Museum’s collections.
  3. Highly developed understanding of the Museum and its social role, and the national and international contexts in which it operates.
  4. Excellent communication, negotiation and presentation skills, with an established public profile as a researcher of note.
  5. Ability to engender enthusiasm and broker partnerships within and outside the Museum to achieve the highest standards in research and museum practice.
  6. Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of, and willingness to implement the principles and practices of, Workplace Diversity, and Occupational Health and Safety.


Applications should include contact details for two referees.




Further enquiries

If you have any questions regarding this position please contact Dr Mathew Trinca, Assistant Director of Collections, Content and Exhibitions. 02 6208 5362