Career Opportunities

Do you have a passion for history and artifacts? Are you filled with a constant curiosity about the world around you? Do you enjoy sharing that knowledge with others?

Imperial Valley Desert Museum wants to hire you!

Summary: The Imperial Valley Desert Museum (IVDM) in Ocotillo, California, is seeking an outgoing and creative Curatorial Research Fellow, with an interest in or experience with experiential program development and public history. This is an opportunity for an enthusiastic graduate who shares our museum's passion for hands-on learning.

This fellowship is ideal for an entry-level professional with an interest in advancing their career goals by curating collections and creating programs. A passion for immersive experiences, education, and exploration is a must. At the IVDM, we are interested in changing the paradigm of how museums operate in the 21st century. We have an opportunity for a recent graduate who wants to be inspired to think outside the box and explore what that paradigm might look like. We are located in an extreme environment, and we are interested in extreme engagement with the environment. This position is not for the faint of heart but is open to those candidates who live with a sense of adventure.

Position Description: The IVDM seeks a 12-month curatorial fellow who will steward and celebrate its archaeological collections, sharing their passion and expertise with the local communities that the institution serves. This fellow will be responsible for assisting with the curation of collections and archives associated with early archaeological studies in Imperial County, California, for creating and piloting innovative programs using these collections, and assisting with an ongoing research and access program in alignment with the undergraduate and work-study programs of nearby colleges. The ideal candidate will have M.A. in anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, or related field and have a deep interest in cultural preservation of indigenous artifacts, and a working knowledge of PastPerfect. Graduates with a B.A. or B.S. in a relevant field and equivalent experience are encouraged to apply.

Dates: Beginning August 2, 2023.

About IVDM: The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is a new facility in the heart of the Yuha Desert housing indigenous and historic artifacts collected from within the Imperial Valley. Our mission is to preserve, interpret, and celebrate the deserts of Southern California; our collection of over 30,000 artifacts documents and tells the story of the local indigenous peoples extending back over 10,000 years.  Serving Imperial and San Diego counties since 1973, we opened a new, 10,000 sq. ft. facility in 2012 and completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 of a new permanent exhibit series in August 2015. We are currently working on the design and implementation of Phase 3, an exhibit celebrating the geological and energy resources of the Imperial Valley. In 2018, we began a new five-year strategic plan to expand our education and public outreach programs, and to develop gardens and exterior exhibits. In 2020 IVDM completed the renovation of its 1000 sq. foot collection storage space. This renovation ensures that IVDM’s collections are safely preserved for future generations.  

We partner with local organizations to offer both beginner and extreme hiking programs, and we are surrounded by OHV trails. We believe that the only way to teach and study the desert and its history is to actively and tangibly engage with it.

Location: The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is located in Ocotillo at the very edge of the Sonoran Desert, in Imperial County, California. The museum is in the border region of California and is 90 miles east of San Diego, 90 miles west of Yuma, Arizona, and five miles from the border of Mexico. The small town of Ocotillo is isolated but is a region of many desert recreational opportunities and lies at the southern boundary of the Anza-Borrego State Park. Extreme off-road and hiking experience is a plus if you have them, if not, you will have them when you leave. 

Compensation: The curatorial fellow will work 40 hours per week and will receive on-site housing and a monthly stipend of $1,480.00 for living expenses.


  • Uphold and maintain collections in accordance with Collections and Pest Control Management policies

  • Produce exhibitions, publications, and other interpretive materials related to the Permanent Collection

  • Assist with the curation and coordination of visiting and temporary exhibits and events

  • Provide professional direction and expertise to staff, volunteers, interns, and visiting researchers

  • Promote a culture of excellence in all IVDM activities and work

  • Assist with grant-writing and other fundraising activities

  • Assist with the public promotion and presentation of the IVDM and its exhibits and programming

  • Develop contacts and relationships with peers at other museums to encourage institutional partnerships and discussion on modern museum practices



  • US Citizens or Green Card holders

  • Valid driver’s license, clean driving record

  • Successful completion of criminal background check

  • Bachelor's degree in anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, or related field

  • Ability to work indoors and outdoors utilizing various software programs

  • Personal medical insurance

  • Vehicle is suggested, as it is impossible to get between Ocotillo and El Centro without a car, where services and amenities are located. However, staff share accommodations and vehicle.

  • Proof of Covid-19 Vaccination


  • Master’s degree in anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, or related field

  • Adventure seeking lifestyle

  • Avid hiker/outdoors enthusiast

  • Question everything you were taught in school

Application process: Please submit a resume, cover letter, and list of 3 references to