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Senior Curator of Anthropology (job share)

  • Organisation:Horniman Museum and Gardens
  • Location:Forest Hill, London, England
  • Salary:£38,613 pro rata per annum
  • Contract type:17.5 hours per week (0.5 FTE), worked over 3 days Monday-Friday

The Horniman Museum and Gardens in south east London has been open since Victorian times, when the tea trader and philanthropist, Frederick John Horniman first opened his house and extraordinary collection of objects to the local community. Since then, our collection has grown significantly and includes internationally important collections of anthropology and musical instruments, as well as an acclaimed aquarium and natural history gallery – all surrounded by 16 acres of beautiful Gardens offering breath-taking views across London.

The Content team comprises experts in our collections of Anthropology, Musical Instruments, and Natural Sciences, and in social practice, schools learning, community engagement and volunteering. Their collaboration and expertise helps share knowledge, deepen understanding and tell stories emanating from our collections to our visitors in ways that achieve our mission and priorities and raise the profile of the Horniman nationally and internationally.

We are looking for a Senior Curator of Anthropology to help deliver the Horniman’s Reset Agenda. You’ll have the skills and experience to help us develop, preserve, research and open up our collections to a wider range of audiences. You’ll be an enthusiastic and confident communicator, and an excellent team player who is committed to improving access to, and expanding information around, our Anthropology collections.

This post is suitable for job sharing.

Please note that the post requires a Basic DBS check.

To access further information and an application pack, please visit our website at

The closing date for completed applications is 10 am on Monday 22 August 2022.  Interviews will be held on Tuesday 13 September 2022.

The Trust is committed to equality of opportunity and welcomes applicants from all sections of the community. We particularly encourage applications from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and disabled candidates as they are currently under represented in our workforce.

How to Apply

Click on “Find out more” at the bottom of this page. When you apply you will be asked to upload a covering statement in Microsoft Word format (the document must be in .doc  format and the maximum file size is 2 MB). Please also ensure that you have uploaded your CV as a separate document which you can do when you create an account or login.

Please provide an overview of no more than 2 pages describing your experience relevant to the role as outlined in the Job Description and Person Specification.


Job title: Senior Curator of Anthropology
Team: Content Team
Reports to: Head of Content
Responsible for: Project staff and Anthropology placements, research students and volunteers
Hours of work: Job share: 0.5 FTE (17.5 hours per week) (occasional evening and weekend work will be required with time off in lieu)

Main purpose of job

To support the delivery of the Horniman’s key objectives including its Reset Agenda by developing the Anthropology Collection, enabling the opening up of the collection to a wider range of audiences, including source and diaspora communities, and delivering content for its programmes, projects and audiences.

The Reset Agenda

The Horniman’s Reset Agenda was developed in 2020 in response to global issues of social and environmental justice and the coronavirus pandemic. Its priorities are:

  1. Consult people and work in partnership
  2. Address the history and legacy of the Horniman business and institutional collecting
  3. Engage wider audiences through programming and communications
  4. Enhance our digital capabilities
  5. Diversify staff and volunteers
  6. Make the Horniman greenhouse gas neutral and more biodiverse
  7. Maximise income generation

Team description

The Content team comprises experts in our collections of Anthropology, Musical Instruments, and Natural Sciences, and in social practice, schools learning, community engagement and volunteering. Their collaboration and expertise helps share knowledge, deepen understanding and tell stories emanating from our collections to our visitors in ways that achieve our mission and priorities and raise the profile of the Horniman nationally and internationally.

Main responsibilities

Public engagement (25%)

  • Play a full curatorial role in the development and delivery of high quality and creative exhibitions and displays, working collaboratively with the other (job share) Senior Curator of Anthropology, Senior Curator of Social Practice and other colleagues to build relationships with external partners, source communities and diaspora members.
  • Provide curatorial content and interpretation for incoming loans for display and exhibition and outgoing loans from the collection (exhibition and research). Make suggestions and recommendations for incoming/outgoing loans.
  • Support and participate in the Horniman’s public programme (e.g. schools activities, ‘Object in Focus’, Community Engagement, events etc.). Generate concepts and content, contributing to the development and delivery of programming.
  • Develop and contribute to the Horniman’s digital engagement activities.
  • Answer enquiries within areas of expertise, and on general museum subjects, dividing the work load appropriately within the Anthropology curatorial team.
  • Promote the Horniman, anthropology collection and income generation activities in collaboration with the Communications and Income Generation team.

Collections curation and development (25%)

  • Facilitate access to, and ensure the security, care and safe storage of, the Anthropology Collection, in collaboration with the Senior Curator of Social Practice and Collections Management team. Improve the quality of storage, as resources allow, to enable better public access.
  • Improve collections documentation as a means of developing the collections and making collections information available to a wider public, in line with Horniman policies.
  • Contribute to the ongoing digitisation of significant parts of the collection, helping to enhance and prepare collections management database records for publication on-line.
  • Recommend new material for acquisition, or de-accessioning, in line with our Collections Development Policy and contribute to the Collections Development Policy as appropriate.

Collections research (25%)

  • Conduct collections based research communicated through displays, exhibitions, publications, conferences and the web.
  • Collaborate with external researchers of all kinds using Horniman collections.
  • Write and contribute to grant applications to fund research activities.
  • Act as co-supervisor with HEI partners on doctorate or other research involving the Anthropology collection.

Research & fieldwork (10%)

  • Propose and undertake research and fieldwork programmes (either personally or through facilitating the work of others) in line with the Horniman’s research strategy:

Administration and development (15%)

  • Recruit, co-ordinate and manage project staff, work placements and volunteers.
  • Lead on the Horniman’s involvement with the Goldsmiths’ MA in Anthropology and Museum Practice, acting as point of contact, coordinating museum practice sessions delivered by Horniman staff, and co-supervising student dissertations as appropriate.
  • Represent the Anthropology collection in Horniman-wide projects
  • Represent the Horniman Museum on regional, national or international professional bodies and attend conferences, forge and develop partnerships as appropriate.

General responsibilities

  • Act in a professional manner and uphold the Horniman’s Code of Conduct
  • Follow and promote safe systems of work and observe health and safety regulations
  • Undertake appropriate training and personal development opportunities
  • Any other duties that may be required to ensure the effective running of the Content team and the organisation

Job activities may vary and evolve over time to meet changing institutional needs and priorities.

Person Specification

Essential (E), Desirable (D)

Minimum shortlisting criteria


  • A relevant degree and postgraduate qualification, or equivalent experience, in anthropology. (E)

Knowledge and Experience

  • Experience of curating anthropology collections. (E)
  • A track record of public engagement using anthropology collections. (E)
  • Collections-based research experience. (E)
  • Experience of leading curatorial-related projects involving diverse groups and audiences. (E)
  • A track record of original research within the field of anthropology or related areas. (D)
  • Experience of writing grant applications and successfully obtaining funding for projects. (D)
  • Specialist knowledge of African cultures and collections. (D)
  • Experience of working in partnership with academic and/or heritage institutions on the African continent. (D)

To be assessed at interview

Skills and Abilities

  • Excellent team working and interpersonal skills. (E)
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. (E)
  • Ability to enthuse, motivate and inform a wide range of audiences. (E)
  • The ability to engage with a broad range of people from specialists to local communities, source communities and diaspora groups. (E)
  • Organisational and problem solving skills. (E)
  • Ability to work to high standards and meet tight deadlines. (E)
  • Excellent IT skills (including a good working knowledge of collections management databases). (E)

Personal Attributes

  • An empathy with the Horniman mission and an interest in its exhibitions, activities and events.
  • Commitment to equality and diversity.
  • Willingness to work flexibly to achieve corporate objectives.
  • Commitment to own learning and professional development.


  • A basic DBS check is required for this post.

Application Closing Date: 22 August 2022

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