Located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the James A. Michener Art Museum (Michener Art Museum) seeks an Executive Director to lead the museum with artistic and programmatic excellence as a guide.
Located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the James A. Michener Art Museum (Michener Art Museum) collects, preserves, interprets, and exhibits American art and promotes the work of nationally and internationally known Delaware Valley artists of all eras and creative disciplines. The Michener Art Museum presents exhibitions that explore a variety of artistic expressions and offers diverse educational programs that develop a lifelong involvement in the arts.
In 1988, with the support of many dedicated citizens, the Michener Art Museum opened as an independent nonprofit cultural institution dedicated to the art and cultural heritage of the Bucks County region. The museum is named for Doylestown’s most famous son, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who first dreamed of a regional art museum in the early 1960s. His Quaker heritage and impoverished youth led Michener to a remarkable focus on philanthropy. A lifelong supporter of the arts, he and his wife donated more than $117 million to universities, libraries, and museums. When it was proposed that the former Bucks County Jail be transformed into a museum site, Michener agreed to lend his name to the project. With extensive renovation and rebuilding, this project would become the James A. Michener Arts Center. It was later renamed the James A. Michener Art Museum. Michener donated $1 million as the first endowment gift and continued to provide endowment gifts for the rest of his life.
The Michener Art Museum has evolved from a modest facility with a locally derived mission to an American Alliance of Museums accredited world-class facility with a broad vision. Its collection of Pennsylvania impressionist paintings and special exhibitions showcasing a wide range of historical and contemporary work attract more than 135,000 visitors annually from around the world and is supported by more than 12,000 members. Its focused permanent collection is supplemented by over 10 changing exhibitions annually, drawn from a broad range of art and cultural genres. The Michener Art Museum has published more than 50 catalogues documenting its research and exhibitions in areas such as American paintings, drawings, sculpture, craft, and decorative art.
Surrounded by historic prison walls, the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden and terraces, and a landscaped courtyard, the Michener Art Museum encompasses 40,000 square feet of public space that includes seminar and conference facilities, a museum shop and cafe, an art research library, and gallery space. The dynamic glass-walled Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion provides a dramatic space for Michener Art Museum programs as well as weddings, conferences, special events, and celebrations.
Throughout the year, the Michener Art Museum hosts a wide range of programs that are open to the public, including lectures, artist conversations, gallery talks, artist studio tours, dance performances, concerts and other musical performances, Ladies Nights Out, and family-themed activities. In 2017, more than 12,000 people participated in adult and community programs. The Michener Art Museum also offers art classes for children and adults, which include instruction in drawing, painting, sculpting, and printmaking as well as programs designed to enhance artistic awareness. In 2017, approximately 18,000 youth and adults participated in 175 on-site and off-site art programs.
Michener Art Museum is governed by a 22-member board of trustees, under the leadership of Board President Gregory Church. For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2016, Michener Art Museum had a $16 million endowment and reported revenues of $3.2 million, with $1.9 million from contributions and grants, $506,212 from investment income, and total expenses of $3.6 million.
Located in pastoral Bucks County, just 27 miles north of Philadelphia and 80 miles southwest of New York City, Doylestown’s history began with the founding of William Doyle’s 18th Century Inn, at the intersection of the Philadelphia to Easton and Swedesford to Coryell’s Ferry roads. As a major crossroads in a largely agricultural area, Doylestown became a central village in the county, leading to its designation as the county seat. Doylestown is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
With the prosperity of the late 20th century and the rediscovery of traditional small towns as high-quality places to live, Doylestown has seen a renaissance of its downtown and an increased appreciation for its architectural heritage. Doylestown is home to approximately 8,300 residents, with a median household income of about $74,000 annually and a median home value of $419,000. Connected to Philadelphia via the SEPTA Regional Rail, Doylestown also has a local public transportation system and is in close proximity to Philadelphia International Airport and Trenton-Mercer Airport in New Jersey.
Home to the Mercer Museum, Fonthill Castle, and Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, Doylestown offers a wealth of cultural and historic attractions. With seven municipal parks totaling more than 80 acres, residents enjoy ample parks and recreational facilities, including fully developed parks, athletic fields, passive natural areas, and neighborhood pocket parks.
Reporting to the board of trustees, the Executive Director is charged with leading the Michener Art Museum, with artistic and programmatic excellence as a guide. An outgoing leader with a commitment to the organization’s mission, the Executive Director will serve as the chief spokesperson, representing the Michener Art Museum regionally and nationally to many external stakeholders and constituents in the Center City/Philadelphia community. The scope of responsibility includes providing leadership and strategic direction in support of the museum’s exhibitions, permanent collection, and partnership activities.
The Executive Director will maintain a high professional profile and ensure operational success to support growth in both contributed and earned revenue. Working together with the board of trustees, the Executive Director will ensure the success of an institution that serves as a symbol of community pride and a beacon of cultural heritage in Bucks County.
Roles and Responsibilities
Leadership and Personal Accountability
- Oversee all day-to-day operations, with a special emphasis on curatorial staff, staffing programs, facilities, and educational activities to ensure the continued quality of exhibitions and an excellent visitor experience.
- Working with the CFO and the recommendations of the Finance Committee, prepare an annual operating budget and provide ongoing updates on financial operations to ensure the most effective use of resources.
- Ensure the development of an engaging exhibition program, consistent with the organization’s mission, and a collection management program that supports the preservation and growth of the permanent collection.
- Actively engage with a national network of museum professionals, artists, and art collectors, participating in relevant field meetings and organizations to share and implement current best practices and industry trends with members of the board and staff.
- Ensure that the necessary organizational structure, policies, systems controls, and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed for effectiveness.
- Interview, hire, and mentor staff, assign work, and provide performance appraisals on a regular basis.
- Maintain an organization with the highest ethical standards.
Strategy, Planning, and Organization
- Lead the Michener Art Museum through an inclusive strategic planning process, working with the board, staff, and community stakeholders to develop a clear vision for programming, financial growth, and partnership opportunities.
- Ensure the completion of the ongoing master planning to support the organization’s long-term goals, as approved by the board, including possible capital campaign evaluation, planning, and execution.
- Provide concise, relevant, and timely information to the board so that it can fulfill its policy and decision-making responsibilities.
- Guide, direct, and support the board and its committees in their fundraising, governance, and community ambassador duties for the Michener Art Museum and its activities.
- In partnership with the collections committee, implement a professional collections management program with a goal to grow and develop of a distinguished collection, consistent with the organization’s mission.
- Lead the curatorial and educational teams in developing annual plans, providing appropriate resources to meet the organization’s strategic vision.
Customer Focus and Community Engagement
- Develop and foster an internal culture that maintains the highest standards for customer service, excellence of visitor experience, and fiscal, operational, and organizational integrity.
- Internally and externally communicate the Michener Art Museum’s direction and vision to build commitment and support for the organization’s mission, driving contributed and earned revenue strategies.
- Guide the board and staff in identifying stakeholders, developing strategies, and defining key messages to individuals and institutions to ensure that revenues meet organizational goals.
- Cultivate relationships with organizations and participate in community activities both regionally and nationally to build partnerships and expand the Michener Art Museum’s reach.
- Connect with the community to understand what it wants and needs from the organization and effectively network and bring the community in to the Michener Art Museum.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a dynamic and assertive leader who values frequent interaction and collaboration with others. This individual will be people-oriented with a commitment to exceeding customer expectations. As a versatile leader, the Executive Director will balance tasks and projects with a sense of urgency. The selected individual will have a track record of successful fundraising and will bring energy, passion, and an appreciation for art history and arts education.
Other key competencies include:
- Leadership – Organizes and motivates others to accomplish goals while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among a variety of stakeholders.
- Self-Management and Personal Accountability – Prioritizes and completes tasks necessary to meet or exceed the agreed upon expectations of the role and to assume accountability for personal actions.
- Planning and Organizing – Sets and prioritizes relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives. Anticipates effects, outcomes, and risks and then manages resources according to set priorities.
- Customer and Donor Focus – Consistently places a high value on visitors and donors. Objectively listens to, understands, and respects feedback, anticipates needs, develops appropriate solutions, and exceeds expectations.
- Conceptual Thinking – Demonstrates the ability to forecast long-range outcomes and develop suitable business strategies. Identifies, evaluates, and communicates potential impacts of hypothetical situations.
- Interpersonal Skills – Builds rapport and demonstrates a sincere interest in others. Effectively communicates and relates well to all kinds of people.
Experience and Qualifications
A master’s degree, or equivalent, and 10 years of progressive experience with at least seven years at a senior leadership level are required. Qualified candidates must have a demonstrated success in a senior leadership position, ideally in a cultural organization, and a proven track record as an effective fundraiser. Past experience at an art museum and an understanding of art history is ideal. Possessing a passion for arts education and partnerships, the successful candidate will be people-oriented and versatile.
Compensation and Benefits
Compensation is commensurate with experience. Appropriate benefits, including health and dental insurance, vacation time, and participation in 403(b) retirement plan, are also provided.
Application and Inquires
Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:
Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite, Vice President