Assistant Seed Historian Positions

Website Seed Savers Exchange

Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization based in Decorah, Iowa focused on conserving and promoting America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations. Seed Savers Exchange is looking for dynamic, detail-oriented, cultural history and garden enthusiasts to fill two new five-year grant-funded Assistant Seed Historian positions. The Assistant Seed Historians will assist the Seed Historian with research and documentation of heritage crop varieties in our collection of over 20,000 accessions.

Applications reviewed on a rolling basis. Priority deadline: August 19, 2020.

To apply,  please email a cover letter, resumé, and the contact information for three references to – include Assistant Seed Historian in the subject line of your email. Applications may also be mailed to: Seed Savers Exchange | Attn: Alex Brandt | 3094 North Winn Rd. | Decorah, IA 52101.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist the Seed Historian to research varieties within Seed Savers Exchange’s seed bank collection and assess the value and priority of accessions based on Accessions Policy priorities.
  • Guide future seed bank acquisitions by corresponding with seed donors and evaluating prospective seed donations
  • Assist Preservation staff to identify opportunities to acquire new inventory for existing accessions and document materials
  • Special focus on donors of multiple accessions and engaged donors
  • Guide research of backlogged seed donations by corresponding with potential donors and evaluating prospective donations
  • Contact donors, family members of donors, experts, or other individuals to collect cultural and oral histories of varieties in the Seed Savers Exchange collection
  • Organize, document and digitize collection materials such as correspondence, news articles, images, or other reference materials.
  • Assist with inventorying, seed packaging, and fulfilling collection seed request distributions during peak times January-April


  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills
  • Proficiency with Office Suite and the ability to work in a complex Access database.
  • Ability to effectively complete projects with multiple competing deadlines in a timely manner.
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a team and individually


  • Degree in Anthropology, Horticulture, History, Library Science, Ethnobotany, Museum Sciences, a related field, or equivalent experience.
  • Previous experience working with diverse communities (cultural competency).
  • Demonstrable record of successfully working independently and as part of a team through previous academic or professional experience.
  • Excellent attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
  • Previous experience documenting oral histories or with creative storytelling


  • Employee/family health insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Paid holidays
  • 401(k) with employer match
  • Employee merchandise discounts
  • Participation in employee wellness program

Seed Savers Exchange is an equal opportunity employer and enthusiastically encourages people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to apply. Seed Savers Exchange does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, mental or physical disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law.

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