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Executive Director

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Posted: 04/13/2013

Harbor History Museum

The Harbor History Museum (HHM) was founded as the Peninsula Historical Society in 1963 and the first museum opened in 1974. In 2010, a new state-of-the-art 14,500 sq. ft. facility opened to the public located on Gig Harbor’s beautiful waterfront. Since opening our doors in 2010 in our new facility, we have attracted over 27,000 residents and tourists to our historic waterfront to experience the museum and surrounding neighborhoods contributing to our vibrant community. The Museum features a professionally designed exhibition gallery; special exhibitions gallery with rotating exhibits; and Maritime Gallery focusing on commercial boat building. Also on the museum campus is the Midway Schoolhouse where students are immersed in a hands-on learning experience to relive a day of pioneer school life intended to strengthen their understanding of local history. HHM has received the following awards and recognition: Washington Museum Association Capital Projects Award 2011; Heritage League of Pierce County Award, 2011, 2012; Antenna Audio Gallery Tour Award, 2009; Voted “Best Family-Friendly Activity” by South Sound Magazine, 2011; Washington Museum Association Award of Project Excellence, 2012.

Executive Director
Professional Opportunity
Gig Harbor, WA

The Harbor History Museum Executive Director is the chief executive of the Museum and, as such, is responsible for the general and fiscal leadership and management of the entire organization, including programs, partnerships, fundraising, budgets, and external relations. Above all, the Executive Director is charged with delivering on the mission and goals of the organization in a fiscally sound manner. This person plays a leading role, working closely with the Board and staff, in developing and articulating the strategic direction of the Museum and in implementing the resulting strategies and initiatives.

Other job responsibilities include for day-to-day direction to the organization, executing its short- and long-range strategies and plans and taking full responsibility for all operations. The Executive Director leads the development and marketing efforts and is often called upon to represent HHM in fundraising, recruiting, and other public efforts.  The Executive Director is expected to provide integrative leadership to staff for consistent direction, communication, organizational alignment and visioning.


The Executive Director is responsible for managing the maintenance of the facility and to develop strategies to optimize the buildings use. The Executive Director develops appropriate administrative processes and procedures to inform the board and staff as to key decisions, meetings and information that aid in understanding outcomes.


The Executive Director must interact effectively with many constituencies students, participants, funders, school and civic organizations, and local and state units of government. He or she is expected to take a leadership role in monitoring public history trends and recommending appropriate programming to keep pace with a changing environment. This individual must be a pro-active, visible symbol of HHM. The Executive Director must have a deep passion for preserving history and an enthusiasm for passing that ethic on to others.


Some of the key issues and challenges for the Executive Director in the first year include:

  • Increasing local and regional public awareness of the unique mission and programming offered by HHM so that it is broadly recognized and attracts people to the museum as visitors, volunteers, and donors;
  • Connecting more directly to the Gig Harbor Peninsula community to ensure the HHM reflects their needs and it's contributions are recognized and valued;
  • Developing new fundraising strategies that bring in additional outside revenue from public, corporate, foundation, and individual sources; effectively balancing income and expeditures to assure financial health of the organization
  • Review the organization to ensure all involved are working effectively together to address the HHM's opportunities and challenges.

This position requires an outstanding leader with exceptional communication skills. Excellent fundraising skills, a strong public presence, and enthusiasm for making the case for HHM to a variety of donors and partners. This individual must have the ability to work with the Board to create and carry out a unified vision for what the Museum can and should do. The ability to articulate a vision must be combined with the drive to achieve results.

The director must effectively build relationships across a broad spectrum of personalities. Ideally, he or she will have at least seven years overall nonprofit experience as a leader or manager within a historical society, public museum, 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.

Success in this role requires moving the organization ahead while preserving those cultural qualities from which the organization has derived its success. The ideal candidate is a hands-on leader and motivator committed to fostering a positive and forward thinking environment.

The Executive Director must demonstrate an authentic passion and commitment for the mission of Harbor History Museum   This person must be creative, innovative, and have the drive to achieve excellent, timely results.


SalaryCompetitive, including benefit package.

Reports to Board of Trustees through President

Salaried/full time exempt position


Employment in this position is contingent upon a satisfactory background check. Harbor History Museum is an AA/EO Employer. HHM is a 501(c)(3) organization. 


OPen until
Until Filled

How to apply
Please submit your resume to the President at president@harborhistorymuseum.org or mail to President, Harbor History Museum 4121 Harborview Dr Gig Harbor, WA 98332. No telephone calls please.
Frank Ruffo
4121 Harborview Ave
Gig Harbor, WA 98332

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