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Executive Director of Sultana Historical Preservation Society and Sultana Disaster Museum

07 Apr 2023 2:47 PM | JOHN FOGLEMAN


$50,000 to $85,000 Annually


Marion, Arkansas--15 minutes from Downtown Memphis, Tennessee

Job Type

Regular - Full Time




 October 31, 2023

General Overview of Position

The Board of Directors of the Sultana Historical Preservation Society, Inc. (hereafter SHPS) is seeking an experienced and visionary Executive Director for SHPS and the Sultana Disaster Museum to memorialize the deadliest maritime disaster in American history. The museum is in Marion, Arkansas, fifteen minutes from downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The Executive Director will work collaboratively with a dedicated board to steward a bold new future for the organization. The Director will have overall responsibility for the leadership of and successful operation of the Sultana Disaster Museum and will supervise a staff of employees and volunteers. Currently the museum is very small with approximately 1000 square feet and one paid employee. The permanent museum is in the initial stages of construction and upon completion will encompass 22,000 square feet.

Under the supervision of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for:

·        Overseeing major functions of community engagement, education, exhibitions and programming, fundraising, budgeting, visitor experiences, and mission delivery.

·        Works closely and transparently with the Board of Directors of SHPS and its committees, providing updates, soliciting feedback, and engaging members in constructive dialogue.

·        Protects the organization’s financial assets, practices sound financial management and ensures stability.

·        Establishes and maintains fundraising, partner, donor, sponsor relations and cultivation. Plays a leading role in increasing financial support for the museum. Must have a proven record of successful fundraising, developing relationships with foundations, corporations, and individual donors.

·        Serves as the public face and advocate, clearly articulating mission and activities, and fosters and maintains a close working relationship with regional/national museums and other related institutions.

·        Provides institutional direction guided by the mission, vision, values, annual goals and the strategic plan.

·        Supervises all employees and volunteers.

·        Ability to maintain, inspire and mentor a strong staff and board(s), set clear priorities and delegate effectively is essential.

·        Has a demonstrated knowledge of standards and best practices for museums and not-for-profits and a willingness or history of involvement in relevant regional and national professional organizations. Regional and National annual meeting attendance is optimal.

Example of Duties & Responsibilities

The Executive Director will provide the strategic leadership, creativity, management, and direction necessary to advance the missions of the museum. The Executive Director has the responsibility for ensuring that the museum meets its financial and programmatic goals. They are the primary spokesperson, fundraiser, and ambassador for the organization, articulating vision, values and contributions to the community, partners, educators, the broader museum community, the news media, regional and national partners. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors. The Director is responsible for working with the board, the city of Marion administration and financial as well as collection donors.
Particular characteristics for the Executive Director include, but are not limited to demonstrated success in the following areas:

·        Leading and being part of a highly cohesive and functioning team.

·        Community relations and partnerships.

·        Substantial experience in fundraising and donor relations, including familiarity with regional and national organizations, philanthropic foundations and corporations.

·        Works with Architects and Contractor to complete construction of museum.

·        Financial management acumen and sophistication.

·        A self-starting, self-motivated and proactive leader.

·        Successful candidates shall have substantial high-level communication skills, and experience in the non-profit realm and/or museum content related field.

·        Works with the Board of Directors to foster supporting and fundraising relationships with foundations, corporations, and individual donors.

·        Works with Museum Staff and the Board of Directors to provide leadership and oversight in fulfilling the mission of the Sultana Disaster Museum.

·        Leads and manages a team of full time staff, part-time staff, and volunteers while maintaining a climate that attracts, keeps, and motivates strong team members.

·        Increases local, statewide and national awareness and prominence of the Sultana Disaster Museum through publishing, speaking, and presenting at regional and national conferences and events.

·        Assures that the museum operates with the guidance of a strategic plan to make consistent and timely progress toward achieving the strategic objectives within the plan.

·        Promotes financial stability by raising funds and by creating and overseeing an annual financial plan and budget. Prepares the financial plan and budget documents for Board of Directors approval, as well as a capital improvement plan.

·        Supports the function of, creates and works as museum liaison to the Friends of the Museum

·        Communicates with government officials, community members and the media concerning museum matters.

·        Directs and approves human resource postings and the hiring process.

·        Oversees the professional development, mentoring, and performance evaluations of staff members.

·        Prepares Executive Director reports for meetings of the Board of Directors.

·        Prepares an annual report and economic impact statement for the Board of Directors.

·        Serves as the ex-officio secretary at meetings of the Board of Directors.

·        Assists in the selection, evaluation, and orientation of Directors.

·        Formulates policy and planning recommendations for the Board of Directors.


Training and Experience:

·        Five years of overall experience in a museum, learning institution, or not-for-profit organization. A minimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in the management or development field, three (3) years of which must have been at the supervisory level. Or an equivalent combination of training and experience.

·        Master’s degree in museum studies, archaeology, anthropology, public history, public administration, historic preservation, architectural history, or related field.

·        Strong and effective organizational, leadership and administration skills.

·        Strong business management skills and ability in developing, managing, and growing an annual operating budget.

·        Successful record of fundraising and developing relationships with donors.

Physical Requirements:
Task is essentially sedentary, with occasional walking, bending, light lifting, or
other restricted physical activities including driving and physical field

Environmental Requirements:
Task is regularly performed without exposure to adverse environmental

Sensory Requirements:

·        Task requires color perception and discrimination.

·        Task requires visual perception and discrimination.

·        Task requires oral and written communications ability.

Other Requirements:

·        Possession of a valid driver's license and a good driving record.

·        Some out-of-town travel will be required.

·        May be required to provide a personal vehicle for use on the job.

Method of Selection

Selection will be based upon review of education and experience to evaluate the
knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for successful job performance. An oral
panel interview will be required prior to a final interview with the Museum Board of
Directors. The Museum Board of Directors may require selected candidates to
participate in a job trait assessment.


The preceding job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and essential functions and responsibilities of work performed by the employee in this job position. It may not contain a comprehensive list of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required for this role. Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time.


The Sultana Historical Preservation Society, Inc. is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status.


Send a cover letter detailing fit and interest in position, resume, and three references to John Fogleman, President, Sultana Historical Preservation Society, Inc., at  Please reference SHPS Executive Director Position


Sultana Historical Preservation Society, Inc.


P.O. Box 211

Marion, AR 72364


(870) 514-7394


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