Principal Curator, Modern & Contemporary Design

National Museums Scotland
Arts, Culture & Sport, Other
Salary Details
£39,370 to £50,741 per annum plus membership of Civil Service pension scheme
Contract Type
Hours per Week
37 hours per week
Closing Date
This is an exciting opportunity to lead the team responsible for an expanding collection within the department of Art & Design at National Museums Scotland.

Job Description

This is an exciting opportunity to lead the team responsible for an expanding collection within the department of Art & Design at National Museums Scotland. As head of section, you will have overall responsibility for the post-1850 collections of European decorative art and design. The Art & Design collection as a whole represents excellence, creativity and innovation in sculpture, metalwork, ceramics, glass, furniture, woodwork and fashion and textiles. In recent years, the Modern & Contemporary section has developed an outstanding corpus of applied art by gift, purchase and commissioning. This has built up a fine representation of contemporary crafts including studio ceramics, glass and jewellery. A particular strength is the fashion and textile collection, including substantial acquisitions relating to Jean Muir and Bernat Klein.

These collections are housed not only at the National Museum of Scotland but also at the National Museums Collection Centre. You will lead, manage and participate in research and public programmes and work on the award-winning Art & Design galleries. In addition, you will be expected to contribute to the temporary exhibition calendar and to National Museums Scotland’s contemporary collecting. Candidates will have a demonstrable area of expertise in a related field and should be fluent in the dialogue between craft, art, design and technology. The post-holder will also be required to support and deputise for the head of department in developing this dynamic department to achieve its aims and ambitions.

You will have a degree/postgraduate qualification (or equivalent) in a relevant subject, plus proven relevant work experience. An excellent communicator with proven research and publication skills, you will be organised, methodical, adept at problem solving, a team worker and a good thinker. You will have experience in managing staff and projects, and will have good ICT skills. 

To make an online application for this post and to find further details of this post and of all our vacancies please visit The closing date for completed applications is Friday, 26 March 2021. Please state reference number NMS20/1071. Applicants who are shortlisted can expect to participate in a selection event that is currently scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 14 April 2021. The selected candidate would be expected to take up the role in August 2021, or as soon as possible after this date.

Please note that CVs are not considered as part of applications and will not be forwarded to the shortlisting process.

National Museums Scotland is committed to being an Equal Opportunities Employer. We are keen that our workforce profile reflects the diversity of our visitors and audiences. Therefore, all jobs at National Museums Scotland are open to everyone and we encourage applicants from all backgrounds, irrespective of sex, gender identity, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We welcome candidates who think they have the required skills and can make a contribution in this key role.

Company Description

Millions of local and international visitors enjoy our four museums each year, and we also introduce our collections to a much wider audience than can physically visit our museums through, touring exhibitions, loans, community engagement, digital programmes and research.
Over the last decade, we have invested over £120 million in our sites and have more than doubled our visitor numbers, with over 3 million people now visiting our four museums. Alongside this, we have continued to transform how we communicate and engage with our audiences. 2019 has seen the completion of our Masterplan for the National Museum of Scotland with the opening of three new galleries dedicated to Ancient Egypt, East Asia and the Art of Ceramics.