Topic ID #42335 - posted 4/14/2020 9:34 AM

Historian of Women's History - Death Valley National Park



In cooperation with the National Park Service’s Death Valley National Park, the Great Basin Institute (GBI) is recruiting a Research Associate (RA) to serve as a Women’s History Historian to uncover the stories of Death Valley’s women!

When Death Valley became a national monument in 1933, interpretive themes and content were quite limited. Interpreting the vast desert ecosystem was rather new in the National Park Service, and human history largely overlooked. For example, the long record of indigenous people living in the valley was not featured in early exhibits or interpretation. What little human history the park did cover was overtaken by the borax mining industry and the male company executives and workers who operated the Harmony Borax site. In general, stories of female prospectors and pioneers, stories of the prehistoric indigenous women, and the efforts of women who advocated for tribal rights and the protection of Death Valley’s cultural and natural resources went largely unheard.  You can change that!

With more than 1.7 million visitors annually, Death Valley National Park welcomes an incredible amount of diverse visitors every year. The Women’s History Historian Research Associate will have an extraordinary opportunity to research and develop relevant historical information about important women in Death Valley’s history.

Position Tasks:

The Research Associate will work under the guidance and mentorship of Death Valley National Park Cultural, Interpretive, Educational, Museum, and Media staff. Through this immersive experience, the RA can expect to:

  • Search and compile material from park archives, local collections, museums, and libraries to produce a comprehensive women’s history report as well as develop brief narratives for our interpreters to use in future.
  • Use primary and secondary sources to perform research on local women’s history.
  • Conduct interviews and oral histories, undertakes field work, and gathers information from a variety of sources.
  • Develop an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources relating to women in Death Valley’s history in addition to short narratives of the lives of prominent women related to Death Valley.
  • Collaborate with staff to publish content on our website and in our social media.
  • Contribute to and potentially design a new wayside exhibit about LGBTQ miner and entrepreneur Louise Grantham.
  • Assist with the development of internal and public programming to spread awareness of women’s historic contributions to our park.The researcher will be expected to present a capstone project internally to staff and is encouraged to present their work to the public in the park.
  • Conducts research to provide subject matter for a variety of interpretive materials, to evaluate significance of resources and historical events, and other purposes for historical understanding, implementation of programs and maintenance activities, and cultural resources management.
  • Work on exhibits, campfire programs, evening programs, and interpretive content celebrating the contributions of women in Death Valley.
  • Write interpretive content for the park's digital spaces including the park website and social media channels. 
  • Share key stories with employees, specifically interpretive staff, for use in public programming
  • Assist in the coordination and execution of the events celebrating women, history, or the centennial of the 19th amendment.
  • Produces written material, including case studies for publication, press releases, articles, and newsletters, and attends meetings of professional societies or conferences to present original research.

*Please note: This position is primarily office based (air-conditioned). This position requires long periods of standing or sitting at a computer. Position may require travel for research.


Rate of Pay: $20.00/hour

Fully health, vision, dental insurance coverage

Paid holidays in accordance with federal schedule

Park housing may be available. 

Depending on funding there may be the possibility of travel to a conference to present the associate’s findings in Fall of 2020 or in 2021.


12-15 week appointment beginning in May or June 2020, and upon availability and completion of a Department of the Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI). 

Full time, 40 hours per week. 

There may be delays to start date or working conditions due to the COVID-19 situation. Details will be worked through with selected candidate upon job offer. 


Death Valley National Park is located in Nevada and California and boasts some of the hottest and driest climates, and lowest elevation in North America. The park includes a superlative desert of streaming sand dunes, snow-capped mountains, multicolored rock layers, water-fluted canyons and three million acres of wilderness. Death Valley is home to the Timbisha Shoshone people and to plants and animals unique to the harshest desert environment. The closest cities are Pahrump and Beatty, Nevada (both approximately 1 hour away).

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.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree required or credits/coursework towards a Master’s degree in history, public history, American history, women’s studies, or an aligned field of study.  The highest qualified candidates will have a Master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree and demonstrated commensurate experience;
  • Strong writing ability and broad research skills required;
  • Excellent organizational and file management skills required including ability to track, manage, and communicate the status of tasks;
  • Experience developing historical content with knowledge of and/or experience implementing current history study practices and trends;
  • Experience conducting research involving historical documents, photographs, maps and drawings, and related items to develop knowledge of and data about historical people, events and places;
  • Demonstrated experience:
    • developing and writing comprehensive history reports, journal articles or other media;
    • collecting data from with research libraries, museums, and archival collections;
    • preparation of historical reports and public history products;
    • Ability to work collaboratively and constructively on interdisciplinary workgroups;
    • Public speaking ability;
    • Ability to interview members of the public and collect oral histories a plus;
  • Knowledge and appreciate of the NPS mission;
  • Ability to communicate clearly and efficiently with the public, coworkers, and mentors both orally and in writing;
  • Ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team;
  • Exhibit enthusiasm, flexibility, tolerance, and patience in dealing with stakeholders;
  • Motivated, detail-oriented, self-starter that has the flexibility to handle competing and changing priorities and possesses strong organizational skills;
  • Ability to work productively and cooperatively as part of a team focused on accomplishing mutual goals and communicate effectively, both written and orally, with a diverse audience;
  • Expressed ability to accomplish program goals with limited or no direct supervision; and
  • Possess a clean, valid, state-issued driver’s license.

Successful applicant must complete a Department of the 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.


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