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Executive Director, Steamboat Era Museum

18 Aug 2023 9:37 AM | Steve Humphrey

Position: Executive Director

The Steamboat Era Museum, a small community history organization in Irvington, Virginia, seeks an energetic, creative, and goal-oriented leader with non-profit and development experience to serve as Executive Director (ED).

About the Steamboat Era Museum 

The Steamboat Era Museum collects and preserves artifacts of the Steamboat Era on the Chesapeake Bay.  Through the design of dynamic exhibits and educational programs, the Museum illustrates and interprets the important economic and lifestyle changes steamboats brought to Virginia and Maryland communities on the Bay from 1813-1937. The pilothouse of the Potomac was installed as the central exhibit in 2019 after three years of fundraising and restoration work.

The museum was founded in 1998 by a group who wanted to ensure the history and importance of steamboats to the Northern Neck and Chesapeake Bay were not forgotten.  In 2001, the largest remnant of a Chesapeake Bay steamboat in existence, the pilothouse of the Steamer Potomac, was acquired by the museum. The museum building opened in 2004.

The museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, Virginia Museum Association, Council of American Maritime Museums and is recognized by the National Park Service as a Chesapeake Bay Gateway.  For the past few years, it had been designated one of the “Best Museums in Eastern Virginia” by Virginia Living Magazine.

Job Description

The general responsibilities of the ED are broad, but focus on management and operation of the museum, development, and collection management.  In conjunction with the Board, the ED undertakes long- and short-range planning, policy development, budget preparation and monitoring, and development of museum programs and services.  Work hours will be flexible and commensurate with museum requirements and ED’s needs/preferences.  The baseline expectation is a 24-hour work week (three eight-hour days or equivalent).  The ED manages one part-time staff member, a contracted marketing consultant, and volunteers who serve as docents and on established committees that support the core work of the museum.

The ED represents the museum in the community, participates in events which increase awareness of the Steamboat Era and museum, expands community outreach, and performs duties which encourage donation of relevant artifacts and funds to the museum.

The ED is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the mission and vision of the museum, reports directly to the President of the Board of Directors (the Board), works collaboratively with the Board, and is responsible and accountable for efficient day-to-day operation of the museum.  The ED serves as a non-voting, ex-officio member of the Board and Board committees.  The Executive Committee of the Board will conduct an annual review of the ED’s performance prior to setting the budget for the next fiscal year.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities of the Executive Director

The Board believes engagement and philanthropy are critical activities for the next five years and has recently completed a strategic plan supporting its goals.  A key component of the plan is the Full Steam Ahead Campaign started this year.  The following duties and responsibilities reflect the Board’s priorities.

Engagement, Philanthropy, and Grant Writing.  The ED will work with the Board to support the Full Steam Ahead Campaign.  The ED will assist efforts to identify and pursue fundraising and grant opportunities and make regular reports to the Board and relevant committees.  The ED will assist Engagement Committee efforts to increase donors/members, manage donor/member relationships, and maintain accurate donor/member records.  It is anticipated that engagement, philanthropy, and grant writing will require 40 percent of the ED’s time.

Planning.  The ED will support Board and committee planning efforts to achieve the museum’s vision and execute the strategic plan.  It is anticipated that planning will require 10 percent of the Executive Director’s time.

Fiscal Stewardship and Financial and Non-financial Records Maintenance.  The ED will be responsible for day-to-day financial management of the museum and will maintain essential financial and non-financial records.  The ED will ensure maintenance of accurate membership and donor records and records related to utilization of the museum.  Both digital and hard copy records will be maintained in an orderly and accessible system.  It is anticipated that fiscal stewardship and records maintenance will require 10 percent of the ED’s time.

Facilities Management.  The ED will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the museum building, grounds, and equipment and will ensure the safe and reliable operation of the museum.  The ED will ensure a proactive approach to maintenance, replacement, and budgeting.  It is anticipated that facilities management will require five percent of the ED’s time.

Information Technology Management.  The ED will be responsible for the execution of the Information Technology Management Plan and monitoring and maintenance of the museum’s hardware and software architecture to ensure uninterrupted continuity of operations.  It is anticipated that information technology management will require five percent of the ED’s time.

Other Duties and Responsibilities of the Executive Director

The following duties and responsibilities will together require approximately 30 percent of the ED’s time.  Demands will vary based on the season, planned activities, availability of volunteers, and the museum’s capacity to hire staff or consultants to assist with specific duties or tasks.

Museum Visitor Services.  Working with the Museum Manager, the ED will ensure the museum is open and staffed during posted hours of operation.  The ED will support and coordinate, as required, the scheduling of group tours and coordination of volunteer staffing for regular hours, special tours, and events.  The ED will exercise oversight of the museum shop, including shop purchases, inventory records, price-setting, and mandatory reporting.  The ED will ensure that all volunteers are trained, that staffing is sufficient, and that a congenial atmosphere and environment conducive for recruiting and retaining volunteers is maintained.  From time-to-time, the ED may conduct tours and educational programs.

Community Engagement.  The ED will develop and implement programs, community activities, and other events to further the mission of the museum and benefit the community.

Brand, Communications, and Marketing.  Working closely with the Engagement Committee, the ED will promote the museum and its events and activities through a variety of media and will ensure the website and social media accounts are current.  

Exhibits.  The ED will work with the Board and assigned exhibit project teams to develop, implement, and install exhibits for the museum and off-site venues, as appropriate.

Education and Programs.  The ED will work with the General Education Committee and Children’s Program Director to develop and implement adult, continuing education, and children’s programs.

Collections (Acquisition, Preservation and Conservation).  The ED will work with the Board and Historian/Curator to ensure that items donated to the museum are appropriately reviewed, accessioned, conserved, preserved, cataloged, and displayed.

Event Planning and Execution.  The ED will support planning and execution of events such as the Annual Crab Festival and other special events.

Skills and Expertise Required:

• Experience in planning, philanthropy, and management in a non-profit setting.

• Proficient and capable of representing the museum eloquently and effectively.

• Strong people skills, specifically working with volunteers, a Board of Directors, paid staff, and consultants/contractors.

• Previous experience with museums desirable, but not mandatory.

• Familiarity with the PC Windows environment and knowledge of the following applications: MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive.  Experience with Publisher, PastPerfect CRM, QuickBooks Online, and LightSpeed POS desirable.

• Adept at information technology and social media, especially Facebook and Instagram.


The Executive Director will have a relevant bachelor's degree and 3-5 years' work in a related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience, demonstrating the ability required to support a non-profit organization.  Experience in planning and development in a non-profit organization is an important qualification for this position.

Salary: This is a part-time salaried position with no benefits and a salary range $24-32,000.  The salary is based on an average 24-hour work week for 49 weeks a year.  The work schedule may vary, requiring some weekend and evening hours, with the opportunity of working from home during the off-season.  The work schedule will be coordinated with and approved by the Board.

Closing date: September 15, 2023

To Apply: Please submit cover letter and resume to: No phone inquiries please.  EOE

Steamboat Era Museum

PO Box 132

156 King Carter Drive

Irvington, VA 22480

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