Interpretation and Archives Research Associate

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Joshua Tree National Park, CA
United States

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Job Type:


Job Description:

In cooperation with the National Park Service Joshua Tree National Park (JOTR), the Great Basin Institute is recruiting one Interpretation and Archives Research Associate (RA) to assist with public history interpretation and museum curation projections. The range of duties will include producing descriptive and multi-media packages for public education on cultural resources topics, as well as archive processing and other museum curation projects.

Specific duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Research, write and gather detailed content on select museum objects and cultural resources themes for the park’s website, incorporating as many voices and disciplines as possible;
  • Conduct 3D or other photographic techniques to document museum objects;
  • Collaborate with cultural resources and interpretive staff to develop and design website and other content;
  • Survey and organize archival collections;
  • Process archival records according to park hierarchy and arrangement;
  • Prepare collection-level overview of the records and full descriptions for each series;
  • Prepare a container list, providing the title of each file unit and generate a printable electronic finding aid; and
  • Assist with the 100% inventory of museum collections, to identify and rectify cataloging deficiencies. 


  • Five month appointment with a possible extension for another four months beginning January 2018, or upon completion of a Department of Interior background investigation
  • Full time, 40 hours per week, with the potential for some weekend work


Joshua Tree National Park encompasses nearly 800,000 acres in southern California. Joshua Tree National Park is of special management concern, lying in the transition of the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert. Field conditions include hot, arid days with high exposure to the sun, as well as cold, winter weather. Resources of the region include threatened and/or endangered species habitat, big game habitats, abandoned mine lands, and historic and prehistoric cultural sites.


  • Bachelor’s degree in museum studies or related field (anthropology, history, Native American studies, Indigenous studies, etc.);
  • Master’s degree or PhD in related discipline, preferred;
  • Experience with archival and museum collections;
  • A solid understand of packing methodologies and object condition assessments for historic objects/furnishings;
  • Experience managing records;
  • Ability to perform data management tasks with attention to detail;
  • Familiarity with 3D scanning systems and programs;
  • Experience working with or in Native American communities;
  • Basic skills/knowledge of the processes required for gathering oral history;
  • Strong research skills, particularly from primary resources;
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, both written and orally, with a diverse audience;
  • Enthusiasm to teach about Native American cultural sensitivity and topics;
  • Experience with interpretation, visitor services, and presenting programs to the public;
  • Familiarity with web page design and social media outlets, preferred;
  • Possess good organization skills with the ability to balance concurrent tasks;
  • Self-motivated and self-directed individual who is capable of working independently or part of a team;
  • Ability to operate basic computer equipment, including scanners, and Microsoft Office programs, including Access;
  • Flexibility and capability to meet the demands of rapidly changing plans and schedules;
  • Possess a valid, state-issued driver’s license and clean driving record; and
  • Ability to live and work in a rural and remote field and office environment.

Successful applicant must complete a Department of Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI) or submit paperwork to NPS human resources indicating an active and fully adjudicated BI has already been completed prior to beginning position. If you already have a fully adjudicated BI, please let us know in your application.

How to Apply:


Please follow the link to apply directly through our online portal:

Job Compensation:


Compensation Information:


  • $18.50/hour
  • Medical Benefits