Iowa, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Jun 18, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Grinnell College Museum of Art (GCMoA) seeks an experienced and forward-thinking director to take the helm of this enterprising and highly valued 22-year-old museum. Formally established in 1999, GCMoA is known for presenting regional, national and international exhibitions with strong ties to course curricula, and for working extensively with both campus and external partners to deliver high-caliber programs and activities. The director will engage with faculty, students, staff, alumni, donors, and community members to foster an inclusive culture of innovation, collaboration and diversity. The director will enhance the museum’s national and international networks, with an eye toward bringing world-class exhibitions, loans, artists, and artists-in-residence to the museum, and increasing opportunities for scholarship and collections research. This position requires a person who is passionate about art and museums and the many ways art serves individuals, campus and community life. Connecting the museum to Grinnell students is also essential work. With the strong motivation of Grinnell students to make a positive impact in the world, the museum offers a platform to engage positive change through the medium of art.


The director will provide intellectual leadership and lead donor cultivation to ensure the GCMoA remains a relevant and effective 21st-century museum. That includes taking risks and exploring new platforms and approaches to curatorial work – including digital engagement – supporting a wide array of programs and partnerships, and planning for capacity needs, such as staffing, space, collections growth and stakeholder engagement.


In addition to nearly a dozen exhibitions yearly, the small staff organizes and hosts over 250 programs and events, including virtual events and educational outreach activities for the community. The museum’s collection comprises approximately 5,000 objects, predominantly works-on-paper, much of which is held in the Print and Drawing Room in Burling Library. There is a robust acquisitions budget and a commitment to collecting contemporary work and works that reflect the social justice commitment of Grinnell College.


The director will oversee five full-time and two part-time staff, and will manage an annual budget of $450,000, plus significant in-kind university support from departments ranging from marketing and advancement to HR, security and facilities. This position reports to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. The museum has two advisory boards, a GCMoA Leadership Council comprised of alumni and arts friends from across the US, and a GCMoA Advisory Committee that participates in collections review, comprised of current Grinnell faculty, museum staff and students.



  • Leverage the museum’s existing financial resources, scholarship, interest, and support across all campus constituencies to expand and solidify its position as a respected 21st-century museum embedded in a world-class, residential liberal arts college.
  • Continue to build on the museum’s already-strong reputation as a site of artistic and intellectual exploration and innovation.
  • Work with an academic community committed to interdisciplinary engagement and social justice goals, including identifying and dismantling systems of cultural oppression, through collection development, exhibitions and programming.
  • Direct a hardworking and creative staff and build capacity for future staffing as programming opportunities develop.
  • Inherit well-established community relationships and further develop outreach initiatives and off-site museum activities.
  • Develop measurement tools to better understand who uses the museum and how, in order to optimize programs, reach a wider and more diverse audience of visitors, and develop new initiatives.
  • Continue to care for, assess and build the museum collection with a generous acquisitions endowment.
  • Develop collections research opportunities.
  • If interested and qualified, teach/co-teach a course at Grinnell.


  • Provide vision and leadership for the museum so that it remains a significant and relevant cultural and academic resource for the campus, community and region.
  • Work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion through collection development, exhibitions and programming, community outreach and audience development, as well as in future staff development.
  • Successfully build and maintain complex relationships through clear and proactive communications, collaborative planning, and meetings with all the museum’s stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, community and external partners.
  • Provide significant leadership and engage in long-term planning with relevant college administrative units for capacity-building, especially for facilities and staffing needs.
  • Bring strategic management expertise to lead and inspire staff. Develop and foster talent and a culture of teamwork and excellence among staff, interns and volunteers.
  • Provide significant leadership in identifying and raising money for the museum, helping to personally cultivate, solicit and steward major donors, working in partnership with the college’s office of Development and Alumni Relations, and identifying and pursuing local, regional and national grant opportunities.
  • Oversee acquisitions, maintain and strengthen collections policies, and ensure for the care and future use of the collection.
  • Market the museum, its brand and reputation. Expand campus, local and regional visitation and participation.
  • Be the face of the museum and represent the museum on campus, with alumni, in the community and among regional and national museum professionals.
  • Engage in campus life, including serving on select committees and convening the museum’s advisory boards. Attend events and be available to be onsite on weekends and evenings for museum functions.



  • A master’s level degree required, preferred in art history, studio art, museum education, museum studies, or a field related to the mission. A PhD is an asset.
  • Five or more years’ experience as a museum director or in an equivalent nonprofit executive-leadership or department-head position. Museum experience required and experience at an art institution preferred.
  • Experience managing professional staff, including hiring, motivating, developing, and retaining talent. Must be a diplomatic person who understands the nuances of motivating and directing a multi-talented staff, as well as delegating oversight of annual interns.
  • Ability to lead and facilitate. Strong communication and bridge-building skills and commitment to collaboration.
  • Demonstrated success with operational budgeting and long-term financial planning to set strategic priorities and align outcomes with resources.
  • Experience working in an academic institution is an asset.
  • Desire to work with a small staff and willing to wear many hats when needed.
  • Excellent written, verbal and listening skills.
  • Knowledge of and passion for art and museums. Able to enthusiastically advocate and transmit art’s value to civic life to specialists and general audiences. Respected as a steward of a prominent academic museum.
  • An individual who supports Grinnell College’s strong social justice goals and who actively advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion in programming, collecting, staffing and strategic planning.
  • Can establish residence in central Iowa in or near the city of Grinnell, in order to be a part of the community.


  • A record of expertise and/or scholarship relevant to an aspect of this museum or its collection.
  • Curatorial experience, engagement with digital platforms, and/or experience working with living artists.
  • Connections in the art and museum world, to facilitate borrowing works and bringing in traveling exhibitions.
  • Experience leading or developing a small arts institution through a growth phase.



  • $100,000 - $150,000 per annum (commensurate with experience)
  • Comprehensive benefits package


Grinnell College seeks candidates that align with our values and have the ability and desire to advance diversity, equity, social justice, and belonging within our community and the communities we engage. Ideal candidates will be prepared to collaborate and contribute to the mission and values of the college across all constituencies. A career decision is a life changing moment; please utilize the following links to learn more about our institution and why making the career decision to work at Grinnell College would be a positive life change for you.



To apply in confidence: email cover letter and résumé (Word documents preferred), salary request or range, and names of 3 references with contact information by July 30, 2021, to Connie Rosemont, Senior Search Consultant, at: References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant, and all applications and nominations are kept confidential. Nominations are welcome.


Grinnell College is committed to establishing and maintaining a safe and nondiscriminatory educational and working environment for all College community members. It is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in matters of admission, employment, and housing, and in access to and participation in its education programs, services, and activities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, veteran status, pregnancy, childbirth, religion, disability, creed or any other protected class. Discrimination and harassment on any of the bases covered by state or federal antidiscrimination statutes is unlawful and a violation of Grinnell College policy.


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