Executive Director - Harvard Museums of Science and Culture
Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Location: USA - MA - Cambridge
Internal Number: 62274BR
Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences is seeking an experienced museum professional to lead the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture as Executive Director.
The Harvard Museums of Science & Culture (HMSC), established in 2012, is a partnership for the six research museums that are organizationally based and supported within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and is responsible for the public-facing activities of these museums:
Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology Harvard Museum of Natural History, the public face of three parent research institutions, which are:
Harvard University Herbaria
Mineralogical and Geological Museum
Museum of Comparative Zoology
The mission of the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture (HMSC) is to foster curiosity and a spirit of discovery in visitors of all ages, enhancing public understanding of and appreciation for the natural world, science, and human cultures. HMSC works in concert with Harvard faculty, museum curators, and students, as well as with members of the extended Harvard community, to create exhibitions, events and lectures, and educational programs and provide an exceptional visitor experience for public audiences, including K-12 students and teachers. HMSC draws primarily upon the extensive collections of the six research museums and the scholarship of their faculty and curators.
Organization and Role Evolution
HMSC was created in 2012 and recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary--marking an important milestone and inflection point in its organizational history. Over the course of ten years, HMSC has been successfully led by two executive directors--both of whom have taken on other significant leadership positions at Harvard. A major responsibility of the first director was to design and facilitate the partnership of the FAS museums, ensuring that it reflected the goals and vision of a unified and multi-disciplinary complex of research museums. This transformational endeavor included establishing the inaugural HMSC brand identity, developing its communications and programmatic infrastructure, devising its financial model, strengthening cross-museum relationships; and establishing a new management structure.
Building upon this foundation and HMSC's FY2020-2024 strategic plan, the second director's major responsibilities included coordinating the re-opening of the four public-facing museums following pandemic-induced facility closures in 2020-2021—this included aligning museum operations, co-designing a hybrid staffing model and re-imagining the overarching in-person and virtual visitor experience. She also expanded mission-aligned equity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives to deepen engagement with more diverse audiences, advanced HMSC's branding with a refresh of the website, publication of bilingual program guides, and established new programmatic partnerships across the University.
The next Executive Director will have the opportunity to build upon the success of HMSC's first 10 years, define the future-facing vision of the organization, and lead the development of its next multi-year strategic plan.
The Executive Director leads the HMSC. The Executive Director reports to the Dean of Administration and Finance and works closely with the HMSC Faculty Executive Board, which is appointed by and reports to the FAS Dean and reports to the Dean, on planning and assessment, policies and standards, and coordination of activities with the research museums. The Faculty Executive Board includes the faculty leaders of the six research museums and other FAS and University stakeholders.
The Executive Director is responsible for setting a strategic vision and leading operations, administration, exhibits, education, public events, marketing, visitor services, and institutional advancement. The Director also serves as an advocate for learning by engagement with the collections and research originating in the associated museums. The Executive Director will work closely with the faculty leadership and curators of each of the associated museums to plan and develop a comprehensive, coordinated, inclusive, and interdisciplinary outreach program for broad and diverse audiences including K-12 students and teachers that will highlight and leverage the extensive collections and research at Harvard. Primary areas of oversight include exhibition planning and implementation; K-12 and other formal and informal educational programs; public lectures and events; public participation for each museum within the HMSC; membership and development; visitor services; community outreach; operations, including facilities; and internal and external communications.
MA/MS required; Advanced degree in an academic field related to the work of one of the research museums, museum studies, historic preservation, or a related field
At least 10 years of progressive administrative leadership experience
Budget development and management experience
Minimum 5 years experience working in a museum, academic, and/or collections-based organization
Additional Qualifications and Skills
The successful candidate will have a track record of developing and implementing compelling public programs for broad and diverse audiences, particularly those that cross disciplines and involve students and scholars in their development and implementation. We are looking for candidates with the following skills and experience:
Experience working in a higher education context and/or collaboratively with students and scholars (strongly preferred)
Experience creating engaging programs that leverage the intellectual as well as physical assets of the museums
Ability to build consensus and lead through influence in a decentralized setting
Strong written and verbal skills
Experience working effectively as part of a leadership team characterized by trust, open communication, and shared goals
Ability to build collaborative relationships successfully with multiple constituencies and within complex governance structures
Ability to effectively communicate processes and build relationships at all levels of an organization
Experience leading strategic resource planning and budgeting, operations, and risk management
Experience recruiting, developing, and retaining a high-performing workforce
Ability to build diversity and instill values related to equity and inclusion
Experience building a customer service culture
A track record of generating revenue through legacy giving, major gifts, corporate sponsorships, foundation/state/federal grants, and memberships
This position is based in Cambridge, MA.
The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University. With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccines.
You must submit a cover letter to be considered for this position.
All formal written offers will be made by FAS Human Resources.
Salary Grade: 061
Union: 00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.
EEO Statement We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
About Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, offering a truly global education. Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.