Living History Interpreter

Company Name: 

The High Desert Museum

Contact Name: 

Shannon Campbell


541.382.4754 ext 391


Job Description: 

High Desert Museum – OrganizationDescription

The High Desert Museum is a non-profit organization focused on the biotic and cultural elements ofthe High Desert region of the Western United States. Located near Bend, Oregon, on the edge ofthe beautiful Deschutes National Forest, the Museum melds the natural history of diverse habitat typeswith human history of the environment into a unique blend of indoor and outdoor exhibits, living historyand both living and historiccollections.

Job Summary - Living History Interpreter

The primary function of the Living History Interpreter is to engage visitors in daily activities typical of 19th centurythroughoutthe Museum’s Miller Ranch and sawmill, indoor exhibits, guided tours and its associated programs. The main duties will include historical interpretation, demonstrating era appropriate activities and assisting in daily operations in period clothing. The successful candidate must be available for a varied schedule with weekend and holiday work, have a warm and enthusiastic demeanor, should be team-oriented, and quality customer service driven. 


  • Excellent interpretation, interpersonal and communication skills including the ability to relate historical information and bring history to life for a wide range of audiences
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work successfully with a diverse group of volunteers
  • Ability to work unsupervised and work in a team environment
  • Ability to work flexible hours and days, including weekends
  • Ability to adapt to a changing work environment, including work outdoors in varying weather conditions and contact with pollen, dust, mold, biting/stinging insects, or smoke from fire
  • Ability to lift up to 45 pounds of site props and transport them to and from historic site buildings 
  • Strong customer service focus and the ability/desire to ensure an excellent experience for all visitors and constituents
  • Demonstrated ability to work well with people of diverse ages (3 years to 100 years) and various educational and personal backgrounds
  • Friendly, open and professional demeanor with demonstrated ability to initiate conversations with and anticipate needs of guests
  • Ability to present and maintain a warm and enthusiastic demeanor with guests, volunteers and co-workers

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor's Degree or related coursework in History, Museum Studies, Theater, Education or related studies
  • Demonstrated experience in a similar position or with similar duties
  • Certification from the National Association of Interpretation
  • Bilingual Spanish-speaker
  • Flexible thinking, attention to detail
  • Commitment to addressing principals of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion into interpretation
  • Knowledge of 19th century trades which may include gardening, cooking, woodworking or working in settings such as a sawmill or blacksmith shop 
  • CPR certification 

Responsibilities and Tasks

  1. Interpret various aspects of the 1904 High Desert Ranch and Sawmill plus interior exhibits through demonstrations and station interpretation for visitors.
  2. Must be able to engage visitors in hands-on (interactive) activities appropriate for the time period, including understanding, identifying and appropriately responding to the visitor needs and inquiries 
  3. Interpret in period reproduction clothing, in historic settings speaking with the public, as well as performing historical tasks and trades such as demonstrating crafts, gardening, cooking, woodworking, blacksmithing, etc. 
  4. Focus on the cultures, lifeways, and importance of community as relevant to the time period and environment
  5. Assist with the daily operation of Living History programming including set-up, site maintenance and clean-up
  6. Engage guests daily in order to provide excellent customer service that fosters a desire for future visits
  7. Serve as the frontline Living History interpreter in the absence of other Living History staff, which will include facilitating team work with diverse volunteers
  8. Maintain cleanliness and preservation of the assigned historic exhibit
  9. Act as a resource for volunteers
  10. Research, develop and implement Living History programs
  11. Participates in mandatory training on interpretive techniques and program content
  12. Assist with after-hours programming including set-up and take-down as well as participate during the event
  13. Sit, talk, hear, and use hands and fingers to handle, feel, and/or manipulate objects or items
  14. Walk, stand, climb, balance, lift, bend over, stoop, kneel, crouch and participate in strenuous physical activities
  15. Adapt behavior and work methods, as needed, in response to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles
  16. Comply with all Museum policies, procedures, and safety regulations.
  1. Perform other tasks and duties as assigned by the Curator of Living History