Natural History Interpreter I

Carnegie Museum of Natural History - Oakland, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America Req #1013
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is among the top natural history museums in the country. It maintains, preserves, and interprets an extraordinary collection of artifacts, objects, and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity. Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures. Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is interested in candidates who, through their experience and collaborations, will contribute to diversity and excellence of the Carnegie Museums community.

The Natural History Interpreter I is responsible for Natural History interpretation in education programs for chaperoned groups and museum visitors. Interpretation is a mission-based communication process that builds emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the meaning of exhibitions, collections, scientific research, and other museum resources. Natural History Interpreter I works collaboratively with a team of staff, contractors, and volunteers across departments in Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, as well as Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, to deliver excellent customer service and to help program participants and museum visitors have enjoyable learning experiences at the museum. Natural History Interpreter I participates in a rigorous interpretation training program to learn content and practice skills related to their principal job accountabilities. They also learn to give and receive constructive criticism with the goal of developing their interpretation skills and the quality of museum education experiences overall.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History seeks individuals excited by the opportunity to connect with program participants and museum visitors in the effort to deepen wonder and advance understanding of our natural world. Natural History Interpreters support this important work by facilitating engaging learning experiences during guided tours and while interacting with visitors in museum galleries. Ideal candidates will be active learners with a passion for providing excellent visitor experiences who want to grow their skills through active self-reflection and feedback from others. This position is part-time/occasional and best for those with flexible daytime availability, including some weekends and holidays.

We recognize and honor that the qualifications required to excel in this position can come from a range of both professional and lived experiences. Recognizing that, we strongly encourage anyone who feels passionate about Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s mission (To deepen wonder and advance understanding of our natural world—past and present—in order to embrace responsibility for our collective future) and believes they have what it takes to thrive in this role to apply.

The position is planned to start in February 2023. 

This Part-Time position has a starting wage of $12/hr and is eligible for many of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s Benefits.



  • Undergraduate coursework or a comparable level of knowledge gained through work experience or self-directed study in the humanities, natural sciences, or social sciences, is preferred.
  • Work or volunteer experience in education, community engagement, or customer service is preferred.



  • Requires energetic and charismatic individuals who are interested in learning and teaching about how Natural History affects contemporary life.



  • Requires constant mobility around the museum (usually standing and walking), speaking and listening to program participants for several hours at a time.
  • Occasionally lifts interpretive materials weighing up to 25 lbs., sets up tables and chairs, or moves materials on carts.



  • Trains to use interpretive techniques to conduct effective and engaging learning experiences that are grounded in mission-based content and are adaptive to audience needs and interests.
  • Trains to use a variety of strategies that engage diverse learners, including basic practices for accessibility in museums.
  • Trains to structure each interpretive activity as a comprehensive experience that demonstrates a clear learning goal, investigates supporting concepts, assesses learning and prompts future questions for investigation.  
  • Trains to ensure that each interpretive activity is aligned with the museum’s messaging (i.e., program descriptions, exhibition content information, process, and approach to scientific research) in an age-appropriate manner.
  • Trains to develop flexible content and pacing of interpretive activities to balance audience needs, interests, crowd flow, other environmental dynamics and space constraints.
  • Trains to use and maintain interpretive materials and resources (i.e. specimens, touchable exhibits, furniture, storage carts, other classroom elements).
  • Provides excellent customer service that situates the interpretive activity within the larger context of the visitor experience.
  • Trains to welcome all participants to the interpretive activity (i.e. students, chaperones, museum visitors), to provide clear expectations for participation, and to direct to appropriate activities at the conclusion of the interpretive activity.
  • Trains to be accountable for specific Natural History Interpreter I responsibilities during group arrivals, tours, and other types of facilitated gallery exploration.
  • Trains to be aware of and respectful towards the roles of staff from other departments during group arrivals, interpretive activities, and all other aspects of the visitor experience.
  • Trains to support problem-solving with other Natural History Interpreters and across the team of staff, contractors, and volunteers who support the visitor experience. Supports efforts to create a safe environment for all people, exhibitions, and collections in the museum.
  • Trains to provide clear safety expectations for participants in the context of interpretive activities.
  • Trains to use appropriate procedures in emergency situations.
  • Trains to use appropriate reporting procedures for incidents and unexpected situations. Maintains excellent communication and working relationships with staff and volunteers.
  • Conducts all communication in professional and respectful manner.
  • Adheres to policies about schedule changes, lateness, and absence.
  • Uses appropriate communication, scheduling, and payroll tools.
  • Reports any observed or experienced difficulties to the supervisor in a timely manner.
  • Develops skills through ongoing practice, reflection, and professional development.
  • Participates in all basic content and technique trainings and demonstrates proficiency through presentations, observations, and practice tours.
  • Attends meetings and other professional development opportunities that are essential to Natural History Interpreter I job performance.
  • Sets personal learning goals and takes initiative to broaden and deepen content and interpretive expertise.

 This is a Union Position

The following PA Act 153 clearances, or proof of application of clearances, are required beginning employment and as a condition of continued employment: Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check FBI Fingerprint Criminal Background Check Obtaining the required clearances is completed as part of the new hire process.

Carnegie Museums is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer – Minorities / Females / Veterans / Individuals with Disabilities / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity

The above job description reflects the essential functions and qualifications for the position identified, and shall not be construed as a detailed description of all the work requirements that may be inherent in the position. The job description does not constitute an employment contract and does not alter the at-will relationship between CMP and the employee.   

*GUIDANCE ON ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:   The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires employers to consider and accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities.  An individual is qualified if he or she can perform the essential functions of a job  with or without reasonable accommodation. An essential job function is any task that is a fundamental part of the job.  When considering essentiality, one must focus upon whether the function is essential to this particular job and not to the department as a whole. Some additional  guidance on essential functions  follows below.  Please note that the following guidelines are non-exhaustive.  If you have any questions or need additional guidance, please contact Human Resources. A. Is the function required to be performed on a regular basis? If the function  is rarely performed, it may not be essential. B. Is the function highly specialized? Is the incumbent hired for his/her expertise or ability to perform the function?  The need for special expertise is an indication of an essential function. C. Does the position exist, at least in part, to perform the function?  If so, the function is more likely to be essential. D. How much time is spent performing the function and how often?  Note that even functions performed 10% of the time could be essential if they are required on a regular basis. E. Would elimination of the function fundamentally alter the job?  If so, the function is more likely to be essential. F. What are the consequences of not requiring the incumbent to perform the function? If they are significant, the function is more likely to be essential.  G. Are there a limited number of employees among whom the performance of the function could be distributed if the incumbent could not perform it?  If so, it is more likely to be essential.

Other details

  • Pay Type Hourly
  • Hiring Rate $12.00
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  • Carnegie Museum of Natural History - Oakland, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America