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Executive Director - Glenn H. Curtiss Museum (Updated)

  • July 27, 2021 9:24 AM
    Message # 10777418
    Hadley DesMeules (Administrator)

    Position Summary

    For 60 years the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum has celebrated the history and culture of Hammondsport, New York, the Finger Lakes region, and the life and legacy of aviation pioneer Glenn Hammond Curtiss. With nearly 60,000 square feet of display space, the Curtiss features exhibits and programs related to regional history, motorcycles, aircraft, engines, and automobiles. The restoration shop facility has restored or recreated nearly a dozen early aircraft, and our Museum Store features one-of-a-kind items for the whole family.

    As we look ahead to the next 60 years, the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum is looking for an experienced non-profit leader and museum professional to serve as the next Executive Director. The Curtiss Museum Board of Trustees has recently completed the planning and conceptual planning stages of an exciting and dynamic Master Plan for the future renovation and expansion of this fantastic organization. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will serve as a forward-thinking, innovative, and creative chief executive officer with overall responsibility for the execution of the GHCM’s mission and programming efforts. The Executive Director will be committed to museum excellence and best practices, cultivation of multiple stakeholder and constituent groups, and carrying out the long term direction and strategic plan developed by the Board.

    The incumbent Executive Director is expected to begin on or around October 1, 2021.

    Primary Duties and Responsibilities

    Strategic and Operational Leadership

    Responsible for strategy development and implementation, development and fundraising, community relations, curatorial and exhibition-making, educational program development, personnel administration, financial and facilities management, marketing, and archival and collections management. Able to conceive, articulate, and realize a professional curatorial vision for exhibitions and programs that is innovative, creative, thought-provoking, and forward-thinking. Responsible for hiring, tasking, and managing staff employees, independent contractors, volunteer organizers, and interns.

    Oversees all day-to-day operations, with a focus on providing quality exhibitions and programs within the framework of excellence in the visitor experience. Manages communications with stakeholders to articulate a clear vision for programming, financial support, and community partnerships, and ensuring consistency of branding and messaging.

    Ensures that the necessary organizational structure, policies, systems controls, and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed for effectiveness. Meets regularly with the Board of Directors, including with the Executive Committee and other Board-established committees, to report on and coordinate organizational activities.

    Fundraising and Financial Management

    Partners with the Board to cultivate relationships and financial resources that will ensure the success of the institution. Cultivates major donors, members, and event volunteer leaders to expand fundraising activities and build financial resilience in support of ongoing programs and operations.

    Manages the development of institutional funding sources including government agencies and private foundations. Manages the preparation of the annual operating budget with the Treasurer and the Finance Committee, and provides monthly financial reports to the Board.

    Oversees the preparations of the annual audit report and 990 tax filings with an independent auditor, and coordinates reporting by the auditor to the Board. Oversees routine financial transactions and management with the accountant and coordinates liability and collections insurance coverage.

    Community Relations and Engagement

    Develops an active community presence and relationships to foster opportunities for new initiatives and partnerships that build connections, support increased attendance and membership, and enhances organizational reputation.

    Develop local networks in the community to identify and cultivate support and collaborative programs with a variety of individual and institutional partners.

    Experience planning and executing large community events is preferred.

    Communications and Marketing

    Serve as an official spokesperson by clearly articulating a compelling case for support of the Society’s mission to a variety of audiences, community leaders, existing donors, prospective donors, local businesses, and sponsors, etc.; enhance collaboration with organizations within Hammondsport, Steuben County, Finger Lakes Region and surrounding areas.

    Oversee the maintenance of a strong brand in all aspects of communications—from web presence to external relations.

    Attend community, government, and tourism promotion agency meetings to represent the Society.

    Oversee the development of marketing strategies, content, graphics, editing, producing material and more. 

    Experience and Qualifications

    • 5+ Years’ of progressively responsible experience in business management, non-profit management, or museum administration.
    • Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, History, Anthropology, Museum Studies, Curatorial Studies, Cultural Studies, Interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities, or a related field. Graduate degree preferred.
    • Professional experience at the senior management level - experience in history museums or arts/cultural non-profit sector organizations preferred.
    • A seasoned professional with multiple literacy skills: social, business, civic, programmatic, and media.
    • Agility to transition between strategic direction and operational management.
    • A mindset of cross-disciplinary and collaborative thinking.
    • A desire to embrace innovation and new ideas in museum practices and programming.
    • Advanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
    • Experience and enthusiasm for working with a wide variety of public constituents; excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
    • Enthusiasm for participating in a wide range of organizational functions.
    • Experience managing staff, independent contractors, volunteers, and interns.
    • Proficiency with MS Office suite.
    • Familiarity with QuickBooks, WordPress, DropBox, PastPerfect, and Google Cloud Apps.
    • Knowledge of the local and regional community history and aviation history preferred.

    Experience managing and overseeing long-term projects and initiatives is advantageous.  High integrity and sound judgment are essential to success in this role.  This person must demonstrate consistent success in selecting highly-qualified staff and developing a cohesive team of professionals.  A management approach that is described as accessible, inclusive, collaborative and empowering must be demonstrated and balanced by results-oriented accountability.  A keen understanding of what it takes to develop and promote highly-effective, customer-centric services and attitudes among all staff (i.e. enhancing the visitor experience) is a must.

    Salary and Benefits

    This is an exempt, full-time position with a salary range of $65,000-85,000 per year with Paid Time Off.

    Application Process

    Interested individuals should submit a cover letter and resume to CurtissMuseum@gmail.com.

    Applications will be accepted through August 15, 2021 at 5pm (ET)

    Equal Opportunity

    The GHCM is committed to a policy of non-discrimination and equal opportunity for all employees and qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other category protected under applicable law. The GHCM will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities, in accordance with applicable law.


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The Museum Association of New York strengthens the capacity of New York State’s cultural community by supporting professional standards and organizational development. We provide advocacy, training, and networking opportunities so that museums and museum professionals may better serve their missions and communities.

Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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