Outdoor Interpretation Specialist

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

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Are you a passionate, trained nature aficionado who also loves the arts?

Do you love helping people make meaningful connections between themselves and the natural world?

Are you an energetic, optimistic lover of art, architecture, and nature and believe in their power to change lives?

The Outdoor Interpretation Specialist plays a key role in the Museum’s Exhibitions & Interpretation department, and closely liaises with the Trails & Grounds and Education departments. With broad knowledge in natural history and the humanities, the Outdoor Interpretation Specialist’s combined skills as a communicator, writer, researcher, editor, content developer, and educator, place them at the center of the museum’s mission to interpret the natural world, art, and architecture, providing access to all.

The position requires a creative, passionate, collaborative, and diplomatic professional who is a persuasive communicator and engaging writer; one who can interpret a variety of subjects in many ways, for a variety of audiences. This position works in close collaboration with curators, educators, audience researchers, horticulturalists, groundskeepers, and designers. The Outdoor Interpretation Specialist develops, delivers, and helps evaluate a broad range of interpretive strategies and materials for guests, volunteers and staff; enabling all to explore and understand the museum’s outdoor artworks, trails, plants, animals, and architecture in a meaningful way. They are responsible for a portfolio of interpretive projects, often juggling a variety of projects in various stages of completion. Organizational skills, attention to detail, and outstanding writing skills are required.

The Outdoor Interpretation Specialist reports to the Head of Interpretation, and works closely with the Director of Exhibitions & Interpretation and the Director of Trails & Grounds.

  • Develops and implements interpretive strategies and tools, in collaboration with curators, educators, and horticulturalists, based on the most current approaches to interpretation, audience engagement, and nature and art education. Such tools include texts, images, digital and hands-on activities, printed guides, audio content, and other interpretive materials and experiences which enhance the outdoor experience

  • Negotiates with collaborators to ensure outdoor interpretive content is organized, understandable, relevant, and engaging

Creates (and oversees the creation of) a large volume of interpretive and didactic materials with overlapping deadlines and for a variety of audiences including:

  • Seasoned Museum visitors, members, and their guests

  • Specialized, diverse, and emerging audiences

  • Families and children

  • Guests with special needs

  • Local, regional, and national guests

  • Continually evaluates the effectiveness of outdoor interpretive materials through formal and informal assessment, in collaboration with colleagues in the research and evaluation department and applies learnings to future projects

  • Works closely with Education team to develop content for outdoor guide training and public programs

  • Participates on a variety of cross-departmental teams as requested

  • Represents the Museum regionally and nationally, and makes innovative contributions to the field of museum interpretation, with a focus on outdoor sculpture, architecture, and the natural world

  • Prepares materials for grants; gives occasional tours; makes presentations

  • Creates, refines, champions and advances interpretive planning and execution for all of our outdoor locations

  • Organizes their own workflow; sets and meets deadlines, creates and manages schedules for interpretive work; facilitates interpretive meetings

  • Builds on existing research to create relevant contexts for art, nature, and architecture content

  • Bachelor’s Degree in plant/natural science, ecology, environmental studies, biological sciences, horticulture, forestry, wildlife management or related field (or equivalent experience) required; experience with art education, humanities, communications, multi-disciplinary learning, history, art, architecture, or similar field desired

  • Substantial experience writing and editing for general audiences; writing samples are required

  • Demonstrated understanding and general knowledge of flora and fauna

  • Ability to interpret scholarly information, making it accessible for various audiences

  • Experience in public speaking; conducting public tours a plus

  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills

  • Familiarity with, and the ability to write and talk about, art and architecture

  • Demonstrated ability to juggle multiple and overlapping projects from small to large scale, and delivering quality work in a fast-paced environment

  • Experience working successfully on collaborative teams, as project coordinator and as team member

  • Proficiency in the use of Microsoft Office including Outlook and PowerPoint

  • Ability to use (or learn) specialized software

  • Ability and willingness to work occasional weekends and evenings

  • Ability to travel regionally and/or nationally from time-to-time

  • Patience, a sense of humor, and a genuine love of the arts and nature are essential!

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in a humanities-related field as specified above (or equivalent experience) preferred but not required

  • Knowledge of regional (Ozark) flora and fauna is a plus

  • Minimum two years’ experience in creating interpretive materials in a museum or outdoor interpretative setting is preferred, but not required

  • Knowledge and understanding of different learning styles

  • Spanish language proficiency a big plus

Physical Demands and Work Environment

The characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Physical demands: From time to time, while performing the duties of this job, the employee may be required to travel independently. In the work environment described below, position requires working at a desk and utilizing a computer and a telephone, good eye/hand coordination, bending and stretching, working in the galleries and classrooms, and moving from building to building. Visual acuity to accurately review written materials is required for this job.

  • Work environment: Work will be performed in an office environment, Museum galleries, studios and spaces and on the grounds, and in communities served. Outdoor work may be required, and will require navigating a network of trails on uneven surfaces with some grade changes. Regular hours are Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm with occasional evening and weekend hours. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time. The noise level in the Museum work environment is usually low to moderate. Outdoor work will include exposure to the sounds of machinery from time to time.