JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Director, Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation


Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation

Public History Division, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation seeks a Director to serve as the champion for the power of invention and innovation and to lead the Center’s pathbreaking educational and engagement efforts. The Director oversees scholarship, exhibitions, and digital and programmatic initiatives, guiding the Center as an authority on the history of invention and innovation and its potential to inspire learning and change. This is an opportunity to lead a motivated staff and fulfill the Center’s strategic mission, drawing on consistent, protected funding from the current Lemelson endowment.

The Lemelson Center engages, educates, and empowers the public to participate in technological, economic, and social change. It undertakes historical research, develops educational initiatives, creates exhibitions, and hosts public programming to advance new perspectives on invention and innovation and to foster interactions between the public and inventors.

The Director sets the vision and mission for the Center; directs its operations and manages its budgets; oversees and leads research, fundraising, and public engagement for permanent and temporary exhibitions, public programs and digital projects; and provides leadership to invention education at NMAH and the Smithsonian Institution generally.

One of America’s most prolific inventors, Jerome Lemelson believed that invention and innovation play a critical role in shaping our future. Jerome and his wife, Dorothy Lemelson, made a generous donation to establish the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History. Within the Smithsonian Institution, the Lemelson Center is distinguished as a hub for testing bold new ideas and for reaching beyond traditional boundaries. Its core work has been grounded in pathbreaking audience research.

The ideal candidate must be passionate about the power of invention and committed to inspiring diverse audiences to explore their innate inventiveness.

To learn more about the Lemelson Center’s previous events, research, publications, exhibitions, and programming, please visit


Job Requirements:

Desired Skills and Experience:

·       Experience in a museum, cultural or educational institution is required; board, consultation or advisory experience is desirable.

·       Experience developing and guiding short- and long-term institutional plans that shape a sustained, multifaceted program of educational activities for public audiences.

·       Experience establishing frameworks for effective collaboration and partnerships across multi- format, cross-disciplinary projects.

We are open to non-traditional candidates from industry, academia, or other fields and institutions. An advanced degree is required.


To Be Considered: 

Please submit your résumé and a cover letter that describes how your skill set and background aligns with the requirements and opportunities of the position. We also request a writing sample and a list of three (3) professional references.

Applications must be received by December 4, 2023. For more information and to apply, visit this link:

This is a full-time, Trust (non-Federal) position at IS-15, Step 1. The starting salary is $155,700 with an excellent benefits package. The job is based in Washington, DC, USA.

If you have further questions, please send your inquiries to:

The Smithsonian Institution provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation should contact the Human Resources Specialist listed. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. To learn more, please review the Smithsonian’s Accommodation Procedures.

The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We believe that a workforce comprising a variety of educational, cultural, and experiential backgrounds supports and enhances our daily work life and contributes to the richness of our exhibitions and programs. For more information on the Smithsonian EEO program please see

Conditions of Employment

·       Pass a pre-employment background investigation.

·       Direct deposit/electronic funds transfer is required for salary payment.

·       The position is open to all candidates eligible to work in the United States. Proof of eligibility to work in the U.S. is not required to apply.

Published: 11/20/2023