Collections Manager, Paleobotany

Chicago, IL
Full Time


The Field Museum is a not-for-profit museum located on Chicago’s Museum Campus. In the Field's 125+ year history, which started in 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition in the “White City,” we have engaged in research on all seven continents, cultivated a collection of over 40 million specimens and objects, engaged with hundreds of thousands of students from Chicago and the surrounding areas, and welcomed millions of visitors to the Museum each year. We accomplish this through the efforts of our dynamic and diverse staff of not only scientists and educators, but also front line staff in Visitor Services and Membership, Protection Services, Facility Planning and Operations, as well as behind the scenes support staff. 

The Field Museum has an immediate opening for a Paleobotany Collections Manager. This full-time, permanent position reports to the Head of Geological Collections in the Gantz Family Collections Center. The Collections Manager is responsible for the management and development of one of the largest fossil plant collections in North America, in collaboration with the curator of paleobotany. The Paleobotany Collections Manager position is focused on management of the paleobotany collection (80%), with some allowance for personal research activities (20%).

The fossil plant collection includes over 200,000 specimens, peels, slides, bulk samples and residues, of which more than half are catalogued. It contains more than 14,000 published specimens. Three recently accessioned collections from Michigan State University, Penn State University, and Ohio University have added significantly to the scope and balance of our plant fossil holdings. Strengths include the Paleozoic collection’s compression/adpression and anatomically-preserved specimens: Mississippian compression fossils from North America, Pennsylvanian coal balls and associated peels and slides, and siderite nodules from Mazon Creek form the core of the Paleozoic collection. Cretaceous and Paleogene fossils include charcoalified mesofossils from North America, and compression/adpression fossils from the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. In addition, there are more than 100,000 palynological slides spanning Precambrian to Recent.

The Museum encourages applicants with demonstrable expertise in collections management. We are seeking a highly responsible, detail-oriented individual with the necessary management and curatorial skills to oversee a major collection.

Applications may also be sent to this account:

The deadline for applications is Friday, May 6, 2022

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Curation of physical specimens, including specimen identification, cataloguing, care, and organization (barcoding, georeferencing, digital asset management)
  • Training and supervision of staff and volunteers in collection-related duties
  • Solicitation of funding through federal and other programs, in support of collections care and accessibility to the research community and public
  • Support of inclusion and equity within collections, research, and all Museum environments
  • Conduct and coordinate appropriate processing of new and existing collections, including physical preparation, labeling, cataloguing, accessioning, and loans
  • Establish priorities for collections care and management in coordination with curatorial and other research staff
  • Provide collection access to the research community, including assisting students and visitors in the use of the collections
  • Development and implementation of collections management policies that are aligned with best practices for paleontological collections
  • Digitization and continuing documentation of collections, including databasing, correspondence, archives, publications, and loans records using the Axiell (EMu) collection management software
  • Maintain electronic and digital records to current scientific standards (including updated taxonomic and auxiliary information as appropriate)
  • Budgetary management for the paleobotany collection
  • Internal and external collaborations including but not limited to other collections areas, research scientists, exhibitions and education, Symbiota, iDigBio, GBIF, etc.; this is to include the pursuit of collaborative funding opportunities
  • Participation in and support of promotional and institutional advancement opportunities, including networking with the philanthropic community through Museum events (Members’ Nights, corporate family days, behind-the-scenes tours, etc.)
  • Participation in standing committees


  • Masters or PhD in a relevant field such as Botany, Plant Sciences, or Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • 3+ years' experience (Masters) or 1+ years' experience (PhD) 
  • A strong educational background in paleontology, sedimentary geology, and paleobotany is required, including familiarity with organismal botany and historical developments and researchers in the discipline of paleobotany
  • Knowledge of taxonomic principles, relational databases, experience working with fossil plant collections including permineralized, compression-adpression, and cellulose acetate preparations
  • Training and experience in photography, micrography, SEM/SEM-EDS, palynological digestion, and demonstrable experience with paleobotanical usage of hydrofluoric acid are desirable
  • Technical literacy including Zoom, Microsoft suite, Google suite, Adobe and similar software
  • Strong organizational skills, oral and written communication skills, and demonstrable experience directing and supervising personnel are required
  • Demonstrated commitment to an inclusive and equitable working environment

Important Note: In order to protect the health and safety of our employees, guests and their families, the Field Museum is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Requests for exemptions from the vaccine will not be considered as given the nature of this position, we are unable to provide an accommodation for anyone who has not been vaccinated.

The Field Museum is an equal opportunity workplace and employer. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity, Veteran status, or any other protected class. We strive to create a working environment that is free of all forms of discrimination and one that promotes human dignity and mutual respect among all staff. We believe every member of our organization enriches our diversity by exposing us to a broad range of ways to understand and engage with the world, to identify challenges, and to discover, design, and deliver solutions.

The Field Museum strives to ensure that our career website and recruiting process are accessible to all. If you are unable or limited in your ability to use or access our online application, or if you require reasonable accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, completing any pre-employment testing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to

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