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Director and Chief Executive Officer

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Posted: 1/24/2018

Minnesota Historical Society

Director and Chief Executive Officer
professional Opportunity
Saint Paul, MN

The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) is seeking a progressive, experienced and innovative Director and Chief Executive Officer who will lead MNHS and work collaboratively with a dedicated board and highly motivated staff to create a bold, exciting new future for the organization and keep history fresh and relevant in a changing world. Founded in 1849 and headquartered in St. Paul, MNHS is America’s largest state historical society with a national reputation for being a leader in using the power of history to transform lives.

This statewide organization enjoys the diverse cultural, historic, and active lifestyles of the Twin Cities. Saint Paul and Minneapolis boast world-class amenities such as museums, sports stadiums, shopping, restaurants, and a vibrant entertainment and music scene, while retaining their welcoming, family-friendly Midwestern feel. The Twin Cities are regular winners on nationwide surveys of happiness, health, well-being, and fitness, making the cities an ideal place to live. Statewide, Minnesota is known for its first-class outdoor recreational venues, its rich natural resources, agricultural innovation, several higher educational institutions, and is also home to the world-famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester and the world's largest freshwater port in Duluth.

MNHS is a large and complex organization with an annual budget of nearly $60 million (61% from public funding, 26% earned revenue and 13% contributed income), nearly 350 full-time and 350 part-time employees and more than 2,500 volunteers. It preserves and makes available a collection of a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota’s history and culture, including approximately 250,000 objects, 500,000 printed works, 300,000 historical photographs, 50,000 maps, extensive archaeological collections, and nearly every issue of each newspaper of record published since Minnesota’s statehood. Digitization of the collection is a priority of MNHS. Including its flagship facility, the Minnesota History Center, MNHS protects and manages a network of 26 historic sites and museums. MNHS is known for its innovative exhibitions and for its Traveling Exhibits Program. In addition, MNHS operates a world-class library and research center, and it publishes award-winning books, a quarterly magazine and MNopedia, a digital encyclopedia. Among MNHS’s other responsibilities are a multi-million dollar grants program for local historical societies and other organizations, extensive educational programs, and Minnesota’s National History Day, all of which have national reputations.

MNHS has re-envisioned its mission and restructured its Executive Leadership Team, culture and organizational structure to more closely align with and execute strategic priorities, shape operating standards and institutional policy, and develop management talent. The preservation of historic resources and promotion of history education remain core values. MNHS is also embracing a new strategic direction that emphasizes inclusion, diversity and civic engagement. The Director and CEO must be committed to carry out these strategic priorities and must demonstrate an understanding of the political, social, economic and cultural factors that are shaping public history organizations today.

Position Purpose

The Director and CEO is the strategic and operational leader of MNHS with responsibility for ensuring that the organization continues to deliver on its mission and maintains its commitment to preserve and present Minnesota’s history. In addition, he/she is the primary spokesperson, fundraiser and ambassador for the organization, articulating its value and contribution to state government, historians, educators, donors and the general public. The Director and CEO is also responsible for maintaining positive and productive relationships with the Office of the Governor, the state legislature and agencies of the executive branch.

The Director reports to an Executive Council with as many as 30 members plus ex-officio members. The Director supervises an Executive Leadership Team that includes senior directors for Administration and Support Services; External Relations; Collections and Research Services; Guest Experience and Educational Services; Earned Income, Guest Services and Sales; and Membership and Contributed Income. In addition, directors for Institutional Policy and Direction, American Indian Initiatives, and Inclusion and Community Engagement report to the Director and CEO.

Position Summary

  1. Lead the operations of MNHS and its major functions of government relations, development, library and archives, interpretive programs, and finance and administration.
  2. Oversee the programs and finances of all MNHS operations, both at the History Center and other MNHS locations, including the State Archives and the State Historic Sites network.
  3. In collaboration with the Executive Council and staff, develop, articulate and implement a vision for the organization’s future and translate the vision into strategic concepts, tactical directions and operating policies necessary to fulfill MNHS’s mission.
  4. Oversee MNHS’s work and relationships with local historical societies and tribal governments throughout the state of Minnesota.
  5. Ensure items that represent the history of Minnesota are collected, restored and maintained, and that public use of MNHS and its resources continues to grow.
  6. Play a lead role in increasing funding support for MNHS; serve as the primary interface with the state legislature; develop strategies for cultivating and raising private funds; and be the public face of MNHS’s capital campaign.
  7. Serve as the organization’s key spokesperson, clearly articulating the mission and activities of MNHS; foster and maintain a close working relationship with historians and county and local historical organizations and other related institutions.
  8. Work closely with the Executive Council and its committees, providing updates, soliciting feedback, and engaging members in constructive dialogue.
  9. Identify, recruit, develop, and retain a talented, accomplished and diverse staff to meet the evolving needs of the organization.

Position Requirements

  • Successful experience leading a similar organization or agency, or senior management level leadership experience including strategic planning, fundraising or sales, personnel supervision and evaluation, budget preparation and management, and program implementation.
  • Superior management skills, including an eye for talent and an ability to attract and retain a first-rate staff.
  • Knowledge of MNHS and its programs, including its charter, by-laws, mission statement and institutional goals.
  • Sufficient familiarity with Minnesota history to know what makes it distinctive with an ability to understand major public history issues.
  • Ability to work with a strong Executive Council and staff, donors, government officials, state legislature, Tribal Leaders and communities, and the general public.
  • A strong commitment to diversity and gender equity.
  • Ability to work with MNHS staff and a broad range of constituents.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to lead and work as a member of a team, plus inspire an organizational culture that supports MNHS values and principles.
  • An appreciation and understanding of the disciplines of public history, archival, or museum management.
  • Ability to work in an educational organization or public agency, library, archives, museum or historic site, with progressive responsibility or related experience.
  • A strong commitment to presenting Minnesota’s history that reflects the state’s diverse population.
    • This is a full time, salaried position. The final salary will be determined based on the experience and qualifications of the successful candidate.

OPen until

How to apply
Review of candidate materials will begin immediately with a deadline of February 9, 2018. Please email your application to MNHSsearch@gmail.com. The application should include a resume with contact information for at least three professional references and a letter of interest addressed to Dr. Brent D. Glass, c/o Bryan and Jordan Consulting LLC, 1921 Sunderland Place NW, Washington, DC 20036. Hard copies of application packages may be mailed to: Dr. Brent D. Glass, c/o Bryan and Jordan Consulting LLC, 1921 Sunderland Place NW, Washington, DC 20036. Only applications submitted to MNHSsearch@gmail.com or hard copy mail will be reviewed.

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