Job Opportunity: Planetarium Presenter, California Academy of Sciences

Position Summary

The Planetarium Show Presenter delivers mostly-astronomical presentations, including but not limited to planetarium shows, presentations in Hohfeld Hall, and presentations on the museum floor for public and school audiences and for special events. In most public shows, this involves a small amount of live presentation, with most of the show pre-recorded. As certain programs develop, the portion of shows delivered live may increase. For school shows, the entire show is performed live while operating the Planetarium visuals from a control panel or computer interface. Presenters may also develop content for planetarium shows and for astronomy presentations in other venues where astronomical expertise is desired, such as Hohfeld Hall, Science in Action, the Naturalist Center, or the Hearst Theater, among others, and for presentations for NightLife and Special Events. They may also be called upon to operate telescopes and guide astronomical viewing sessions for NightLife or sleepovers or for daytime events such as solar viewing, eclipses, transits, etc. This position reports to the Supervisor of Planetarium Programs.

The California Academy of Sciences welcomes people of all backgrounds, identities, and beliefs to join us in achieving our mission to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth. We place diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of our recruiting efforts and strive to build a culture centered on mutual respect, equal treatment, and the opportunity to succeed.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Presentation of public and school Planetarium shows and astronomy-based presentations in other venues.
  • Successfully learn and check out on programs within a predetermined timeframe.
  • Accurately and courteously answer questions from visitors.
  • Assist in seating and directing audiences as needed in the Planetarium theatre or other venues.
  • Follow all guidelines for professional behaviour within the workplace, including consistent attendance, appearance, and appropriate communication with colleagues and guests.
  • Follow all Academy safety regulations.
  • Other duties as assigned.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience

The ideal candidate will possess a combination of the following education and/or equivalent experience:

  • Basic astronomy knowledge is required, extensive knowledge is preferred.
  • Associate's degree (A.A.) or equivalent from two-year college; or six months to one-year related experience and/or training in public speaking or announcing; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • 1-3 years experience working in an informal education/museum environment desirable.
  • Planetarium experience, prior work with school groups, and/or telescope operation desirable.
  • Must demonstrate excellent verbal communication skills.

Knowledge, skills & abilities

  • Must be available to work weekends, evenings, and holidays, the California Academy of Sciences is open to the public 365 days a year.
  • Ability to speak confidently and comfortably before a live audience of up to 300, consisting of varying age groups & education levels; employing clear diction, strong projection, and command of the English language; must also be able to speak comfortably in close-quarter situations with smaller, more intimate audiences, such as the GeoDome or Hohfeld Hall.
  • Ability to work in a darkened environment.
  • In-depth knowledge of a natural or physical science, with broad knowledge of others, is highly desirable.
  • Mobility, endurance, & visual acuity required to safely ascend 35 steps on a 30-degree slope to get from "stage front" facing the Planetarium audience to the control console in the rear of the theater, occasionally in low-light conditions.
  • Ability to function and perform well as part of a team.
  • Excellent interpersonal & communication skills required.
  • Rigorous adherence to scientific accuracy.
  • Familiarity with operation of Windows PC platform.
  • Manual dexterity to operate Planetarium console controls and various computer input devices, including traditional computer mouse, touch-screen, or joystick controls.
  • Sufficient multitasking ability to operate Planetarium controls or software while speaking smoothly and coherently
  • Excellent customer service skills required.

Language Skills

Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals. Ability to write routine reports and correspondence. Ability to speak effectively before groups or individuals. Bilingual (spoken and/or written) in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, or other non-English language preferred.

Physical Demands & Work Environment

The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, walk, and reach with hands and arms, and talk or hear. Must be able to perform repetitive motions 50% of the time. Must be able to lift 25 lbs. Must be able to safely ascend (and occasionally descend) 35 steps on a 30-degree slope, occasionally in the dark.

Application Instructions

Please submit your cover letter and resume online at the official web page. Note that the recruitment timeline for positions vary and depend on many factors, so it is impossible to accurately predict when a position will close. We appreciate your patience during this process. No phone calls please. Read more and apply from CAS' Career Center.

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