Collections Project Officer - Esmée Fairbairn Project

University of Oxford - Museum of the History of Science

Broad Street, Oxford

The Museum of the History of Science is one of the four museums of the University of Oxford which include the Ashmolean, The University Museum of Natural History, and the Pitt Rivers Museum. The Museum occupies the Old Ashmolean Building in Broad Street which was the original home of the Ashmolean Museum when it was founded in 1683, the first purpose-built museum in the world. The Museum now houses an outstanding and unique collection of objects related to the history of science, notably the largest collections in the world of astrolabes and sundials, and other material dating from the medieval period through to the early 20th century. It is a national and international centre of excellence for research and teaching in the material culture of science, and the interpretation of its collection is supported by a lively programme of exhibitions and public events for a range of audiences (for more information please visit:

An exciting opportunity has arisen at the Museum of the History of Science to work with forced migrants in the Oxford community to enhance, alter and improve the understanding and use of the Oxford University Museum collections. Inspired by the Multaka project in Berlin, and in collaboration with Pitt Rivers Museum which will host a parallel position, this Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund project will work with members of the Oxford refugee and forced migrant community to develop voluntary community curators and tour guides and other inclusive volunteering experiences to improve confidence, support community integration, and enhance the collections through multi-layered interpretation. Working closely with the Community Engagement Officer on the Project, and Museum-based collections staff, the volunteers, and community groups, you will assist with the development of a range of activities from Museum tours, object handling sessions, enhanced interpretation of the Museum’s key Islamic collections, content for apps or equivalent access tools, as well as community events, publicity and community engagement including social media.

The ideal candidate will be a person with an interest in the Museum’s important Islamic collections, an understanding and experience of the museum environment and the needs of collections. They will have a commitment to and experience of community engagement, in particular the use of collections to build confidence in volunteers and volunteer groups. An  ability to ‘think outside the box’ in drawing out new interpretations and developing new types of access all as part of a small focussed team will be essential.

This is a part-time post (0.5 FTE/18.25 hours), fixed-term, until 30 November 2019.

Please attach a CV and submit a statement (1500 words or less) telling us the following:

  1. What attracted you to this role, and why do you believe you have the relevant experience?
  2. This is a brand new position for the Museum of the History of Science. What challenges (if any) do you anticipate with integrating community volunteers (new and existing) with new ways of working and working practices?

Please note that the closing date for applications is 12.00 midday on Friday 26 January 2018. We expect to hold interviews for this position on 8 February 2018. Please note in normal circumstances only interview travel expenses within the UK will be reimbursed.

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