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Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History seeking Executive Director

09 Jul 2023 11:07 AM | Lucinda Cockrell

Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History Executive Director

The Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History is seeking a dynamic, innovative Executive Director to help lead the Museum toward an optimistic future of continued success and new opportunities in beautiful Middlebury, Vermont.

The oldest community-based museum in the country, the Sheldon Museum has welcomed visitors and researchers since 1884. Local businessman and tireless collector Henry Sheldon filled the Museum with fine Vermont furniture, paintings, documents, household objects, and artifacts that provide a glimpse into Addison County and Vermont’s past. The Museum is housed in an historic 1829 Federal house and in addition to the permanent collection, includes a Research Center with an exceptional archival collection, exhibit galleries, lovely garden and barn, and Museum Store in the heart of the vibrant college town of Middlebury, Vermont. Residing in a thriving area between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, our region frequently appears on lists of the best places to live and work.

The Executive Director is appointed by the Board of Trustees to promote the mission of the Henry Sheldon Museum to collect, preserve and share the historic, artistic, and cultural heritage of Middlebury and greater Addison County, Vermont for the enjoyment and edification of residents and visitors. The Executive Director is responsible for the overall operations and management of the Museum, including fundraising and development, day-to-day operations, staff enrichment, and long-range planning.

Employment type: This is a full-time salaried position with paid time off.

Salary Range: Salary $70-80K, commensurate with experience and proven record of success, and benefits reimbursement up to $5K/year.

Summary of Responsibilities

  • Works in partnership with a responsive and experienced staff and Board of Trustees to oversee all aspects of the institution, sustain its excellence and broaden its impact.
  • Directs the Museum’s operations, to ensure the alignment of revenue opportunities, development, exhibits, education and public programming, finances, external communications, and staffing.
  • Creates a strong and stable financial foundation for the Museum. Develops and implements new fundraising strategies (annual and longer-term capital campaign), with staff and Trustee partners, to bring in revenue from public, corporate, foundation, state/federal and individual sources to assure the financial health of the Museum.
  • Serves as pro-active spokesperson, ambassador, and chief advocate for the Museum. Establishes strong partnerships in the community to leverage good will, financial support, and program and service development. Enhances the Museum’s public image to expand interest and support.
  • In collaboration with staff, oversees curation and installation of all Museum exhibitions and the development and coordination of public programs.
  • Works closely with the staff to create an effective communications plan to raise the profile of the Museum. Directs and oversees development of marketing initiatives. Oversees promotion of the Museum through innovative media outreach including press releases, website management, social media, museum mailings, etc.
  • Oversees management, maintenance and capital projects of the property, facilities/grounds, and collections of the Museum, engaging outside expert advice as necessary. With staff, develops strategies to optimize their use.
  • Directs recruiting, hiring, and training of staff as appropriate. Supervises and provides enrichment opportunities for staff.
  • Works with the Stewart-Swift Research Center Archivist and the Collections Manager to increase and enhance the stewardship, access, utilization and promotion of archival and collections materials in supporting the research needs of the community.
  • Works with staff and trustees to outline and deliver environmental sustainability goals for the Museum.

Desired Leadership Attributes

  • Demonstrates and communicates passion for the organization’s mission, vision, strategic plan and accomplishments with stakeholders, potential donors and funding entities.
  • Exhibits outstanding interpersonal skills to build collegial rapport and effective relationships both internally and externally. Relates well to people of diverse backgrounds in a collaborative and welcoming manner. Demonstrated success in development/fundraising, networking and capacity to develop strong community relationships.
  • Cultivates a supportive, respectful organizational culture and ensures a diverse and inspiring workplace encouraging innovation and collaboration.
  • Demonstrates commitment to highlighting the historical and contemporary experience of underrepresented communities. Ensures that Museum exhibits and programming engages with critical national conversations about equity, inclusion, and system bias.

Required Qualifications

  • BA degree required, MA/Ph.D. preferred in Museum Studies, Public History, History, Art History or a discipline related to the Museum’s mission and collections.
  • The ideal candidate will have at least three years of overall nonprofit experience as a leader or manager within a public museum, historical society or a similar non-profit organization. Candidates who have not led an organization but can demonstrate the above skills and a high potential to grow into this profile will also be considered.
  • Ability to provide strong leadership, vision, and strategic direction. Experience developing and implementing strategic plans, in concert with a Board of Trustees.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of standards and best practices for museums, nonprofits, or similar organizations, as well as a history of involvement in relevant professional organizations.
  • Strong record of success in fundraising, grant-writing, membership and audience development.
  • Demonstrated excellence in writing and public speaking.
  • Excellent museum operations management skills. Demonstrated ability to supervise, as well as work successfully with, museum staff, volunteers, trustees and diverse public constituencies.
  • Demonstrated success in developing and managing annual operating budgets and long-term planning models. Strong business management and computer skills required.
  • Excellent planning, time management and decision-making skills.
  • Willingness to work a variable schedule, including weekends and evenings, when needed.

The Henry Sheldon Museum is an equal opportunity employer.

How to Apply:

Interested candidates please send a letter of interest, resume, and three references to or mail hard copy to: Henry Sheldon Museum, Executive Director Search Committee, One Park Street, Middlebury, VT 05753. All materials will be confidential and references will not be contacted without advance permission. No phone calls please.

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