Curator and Director of Herbarium

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2345 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America Req #273
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Summary: Oversees and manages the Herbarium Department which is responsible for all activities connected with the acquisition, storage, care, and access to plant specimens in the herbarium collection and the management and access of their associated data for Garden staff, students, research visitors, outside users, and the general public.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Supervises staff involved in all aspects of research collection management, including such tasks as shipping and receiving of specimens, data entry, specimen processing, mounting, filing, collection access, etc.
  • Hires, trains and oversees the daily activities of department employees.
  • Creates and manages the Herbarium Department budget.
  • Responsible for the strategic growth and improvement of the research collection and its long-term care.
  • Develops partnerships and collaborates with other herbaria, establishing cooperative agreements for mutually strengthening both collections and relationships that promote botanical research.
  • Conducts independent research in plant systematics or a related field.
  • Identifies potential funding sources and writes proposals to secure external funding for collections-related projects; Works within MBG established guidelines in preparing and monitoring grant proposal budgets.
  • Participates in scientific meetings and delivers lectures to professional organizations, both nationally and internationally, and the general public as requested.
  • Serves as the point person for all inquiries, internal and external, related to collections, and scientific information.
  • Supervises the acquisition and use of data in databases and from other sources for plant research.
  • Takes a proactive role in developing appropriate policies for all aspects of access and use of the research collections and their associated data.
  • Takes responsibility for complying with collections-related international, national, and state laws, maintaining permits, and preparing required reporting.
  • Ensures that all applicable safety standards are followed; informs employees/students/volunteers of safety guidelines, methods to reduce hazards.  Reports all accidents, injuries, and near-miss accidents immediately.
  • Behaves and communicates in a manner that promotes and fosters a culture of teamwork and cooperation, within our division and throughout the Garden, with co-workers, supervisors/managers, volunteers, visitors, and employees.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities:  This position has supervisory responsibilities for Curatorial Assistants, Research Specialists, Herbarium Assistants, and other technical staff.


  • Leadership - Exhibits confidence in self and others; Inspires and motivates others to perform well; Effectively influences actions and opinions of others; Inspires respect and trust; Accepts feedback from others; Provides vision and inspiration to peers and subordinates; Gives appropriate recognition to others; Displays passion and optimism; Mobilizes others to fulfill the vision.
  • Managing People - Includes staff in planning, decision-making, facilitating, and process improvement, as appropriate; Takes responsibility for subordinates' activities; Makes self-available to staff; Provides regular performance feedback; Develops subordinates' skills and encourages growth; Solicits and applies customer feedback (internal and external); Fosters quality focus in others; Improves processes, products, and services; Continually works to improve supervisory skills.
  • Problem Solving - Identifies and resolves problems promptly; Gathers and analyzes information skillfully; Develops alternative solutions; Works well in group problem-solving situations; Uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics.
  • Delegation - Delegates work assignments; Matches the responsibility to the person; Gives authority to work independently; Sets expectations and monitors delegated activities; Provides recognition for results.
  • Diversity - Demonstrates knowledge of EEO policy; Shows respect and sensitivity for cultural differences; educates others on the value of diversity; promotes a harassment-free environment; Builds a diverse workforce.
  • Organizational Support - Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; supports organization's goals and values; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity.
  • Ethics - Treats people with respect; Keeps commitments; inspires the trust of others; Works with integrity and ethically; Upholds organizational values.
  • Professionalism - Tactfully approaches others; Reacts well under pressure; Accepts responsibility for own actions; Follows through on commitments.
  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings, as required.
  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively, using correct spelling and grammar; Varies writing style to meet needs; Presents numerical data effectively; Able to read and interpret written information.
  • Interpersonal - Focuses on solving conflict, not blaming; Maintains confidentiality; Listens to others without interrupting; Keeps emotions under control; Remains open to others' ideas and tries new things.
  • Dependability - Follows instructions, responds to management direction; Takes responsibility for own actions; Keeps commitments; Commits to additional work hours when necessary to reach goals; Completes tasks on time or notifies appropriate person with an alternate plan.
  • Safety and Security - Observes safety and security procedures; Determines appropriate action beyond guidelines; Reports potentially unsafe conditions; Uses equipment and materials properly.


  • Five to seven (5-7) years experience in botanical research, including collection curation experience.
  • Prior experience writing scientific papers, grant proposals, and reports.
  • Familiarity with botanical nomenclature and literature essential.
  • Five (5) years’ experience in personnel management including demonstrated abilities in staff support, coaching and development, and conflict resolution.
  • Demonstrated experience in obtaining external funding for research or collections required.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the botanical community and current research trends.
  • Willingness and flexibility to conduct fieldwork.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; professional, speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; is tactful and treats others with respect.
  • Strong Business acumen and understanding of financial operating budget process to effectively manage a budget; ability to develop and analyze spreadsheets and reports to manage all aspects of the business including expenditure trends and shifting needs.
  • Exceptional ability to communicate effectively at all levels with a broad spectrum of people with varying knowledge and interests; must enjoy and feel comfortable interacting and working close to the general public, in a friendly manner, answering questions.
  • Demonstrated ability to serve as a media-trained spokesperson; confident in interacting with the media.
  • Able to travel frequently (domestically and internationally) for significant periods.
  • Scheduling flexibility is required to work evenings, weekends, or holidays, as needed.
  • The requirements and duties listed are representative and not exhaustive of the knowledge, skill, and/or abilities required.


  • Ph.D. in Botany or closely related field (e.g. ecology, conservation biology, etc.) required.
  • An equivalent combination of education, skills, and experience may be considered.

Other Skills and Abilities: N/A.


Language Skills:  Ability to communicate effectively in English (oral/written), but a working knowledge of other languages a plus.


Mathematical Skills:

  • Requires the ability to comprehend and apply mathematical skills for invoice tracking, budget analysis, and review of statistical equations.
  • College math aptitude; requires the ability to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; calculate percentages and decimals; etc.

Reasoning Ability: Requires the ability to exercise independent judgment to apply facts and principles for developing approaches and techniques to problem resolution.


Computer Skills:

  • Proficient computer skills essential (word processing, database, spreadsheet, and web development).
  • Solid Internet research skills.
  • Ability to use e-mail to communicate with Garden staff and external contacts to answer questions and service their needs.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations:

  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a passport for international travel.
  • Must be able to obtain visas, vaccinations, and immunizations for all countries where travel is required.
  • Ability to possess and maintain a valid driver’s license.

Physical Demands: 

  • Ability to lift to 25 lbs.
  • Ability to utilize computer keyboard (typing) and sit for extended periods of the workday.
  • Operates copier, printer, fax, and computer.
  • Ability to walk about the facility frequently throughout the workday, and sit for extended periods of the workday (may sit up to 50% of the workday).
  • Ability to travel independently for long periods on airplanes, trains, and other conveyances both domestic and international.
  • Ability to walk, stand, kneel, or climb as required and move about for extended periods.
  • Physical fitness is necessary for field studies involving multi-week hikes/rides/camping in difficult terrain.
  • May be required to perform tasks at varying heights and high altitudes.
  • Ability to understand field safety requirements and wear personal protective equipment, as needed.
  • Ability to work in extreme weather conditions.
  • May require working long hours to meet deadlines.

Work Environment:

  • Office and laboratory environment in St. Louis and overseas; overseas assignments, including in developing countries and/or in remote and rugged regions.
  • Outdoor setting; ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions (i.e., in temperatures over 100°F as well as temperatures below 0°F, in the rain, snow, and other inclement weather conditions as needed).
  • Comfortable working in immediate proximity to the general public, in a friendly manner, answering questions.

Contacts with Individuals/Organizations inside/outside the Garden:

  • Garden employees, volunteers, and visitors.
  • Collaborators, Guests, International Scientists, and Counterparts.
  • Professional Organizations.
  • Governmental Officials.
  • Colleges/Universities.

Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, 2345 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America