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Executive Director

APPLICATION DEADLINE: APRIL 6, 2020


The Connecticut River Museum (CRM) seeks an innovative, collaborative Executive Director to lead it further on the path of a newly expanded mission. The museum has broadened the scope and variety of its programs on the river’s history and culture to encompass river ecology and environmental history. CRM has completed a significant portion of a capital campaign that has restored its wharf, created climate-controlled collections storage, and will soon provide a 5,000 square-foot, hands-on environmental discovery center.

It is an exciting moment for a new Executive Director. A museum in an attractive location, with potential for many new audiences, is broadening its scope and expanding its facilities. Its new leader will have the chance to raise CRM’s profile and dramatically increase its reach and impact.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • The incoming Executive Director will play a principal role in shaping the museum’s future.

  • There is great potential for growth in museum collections, programs, and audiences.  The complex and multi-faceted nature of the museum make it a launching pad for opportunity.

  • CRM has a talented, generous, supportive board that will be a great asset to a skilled Executive Director.

  • CRM is in an affluent area visited by tourists from CT and surrounding states.

  • There is room to grow the museum’s existing, strong base of private support and healthy earned income to increase stability and sustainability.

  • CRM can build on its recent success in making the museum more integral to community life.

  • Other entities in the region offer potentially valuable partnerships: a steam train that draws 200,000 riders annually; land trusts and the Nature Conservancy; nearby major universities; local historical societies and theaters.

  • There is rich potential to expand the geographical reach of programs, interpretation, collaboration, and audience development along the 410-mile length of the Connecticut River, and thus establish a strong presence regionally and in New England. 

CHALLENGES

  • The new Executive Director will need to develop a plan for financial sustainability and effective operation of the expanded facilities.

  • He/she will need to unite the staff and board members behind a shared vision.

  • It may be necessary to reorganize the staff for greater effectiveness in meeting future goals.

  • Special events are taking much staff time and energy. It will be timely to review all fundraising events in light of their effectiveness, use of resources, and relation to the mission.

  • There are some lingering notions from the past of the museum as an elitist, private club, and some fallout among community residents from a past controversy over concerns about a construction project adjacent to the museum campus.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM

CRM was founded in 1974 by volunteers dedicated to river and maritime history to preserve Essex’s former steamship wharf, 1878 warehouse, and 1813 chandlery. In 2012, the museum purchased an adjacent historic property, the 1732 Samuel Lay House with a freestanding carriage barn on .8 acre. Today the AAM-accredited museum is the only one presenting the story of the Connecticut River. Over 24,000 people visit each year. They tour a permanent exhibit providing an overview of the river’s history on two floors of the warehouse. The third floor houses changing exhibitions exploring topics in art, history, and nature. For 25 years there has been an elaborate holiday model train show there that is very popular and is heavily attended over the Christmas/New Year holidays. CRM increases its reach by sending some of these exhibits to other venues. Nearly 5,000 school-age children experience field-trip activities serving state educational curricula, as well as summer day camps. Over 1,000 adults take cruises or paddle kayaks on the river from the museum, take eagle-sighting boat trips, enjoy nights in CRM’s historic tavern, or attend public talks and workshops. Community residents gather on the museum’s grounds for weekly concerts in summer and thematic special events throughout the warmer months. A small research library/archives facilitates scholarly studies.

CRM’s collections document maritime history related to the Connecticut River: shipbuilding and boatbuilding, industries along the river, trade, transportation, recreation, fisheries, agriculture, and social history along the river. Within the collection are 2,357 objects and works of art, 3,006 photographs, 2,268 books, and 5,084 documents and other archival holdings. The museum’s site on the river and near the river-mouth’s estuary affords diverse subjects for nature programming. CRM’s long-term ambition is to expand its collections and outreach to the entire 410-mile length of the Connecticut River, providing documentation of and education on its role in the lives of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont residents.

The CRM board consists of sixteen members from Essex and nearby communities, including a few with business ties to New York City. Among them are generous donors, people with valuable skills and professional expertise, and people deeply involved in the community and region. The board advises and assists the Executive Director, and joins staff and volunteers for occasional hands-on projects. CRM has a staff of 5 full-time and 11 part-time who enjoy working together and pitch in as a team to do whatever is needed. Volunteers and interns augment the staff, especially during busy summer season.

The museum is vibrant, with a budget of a little over $1 million and an endowment recently valued at $1.8 million.  However, like most museums and small institutions, its financial model needs to be monitored closely and amended as necessary.  It relies on a solid mix of income sources with potential for further strengthening.  The museum enjoys the support of 1,050 member households. CRM’s board and the previous Executive Director exceeded the initial capital campaign goal of $5 million without the benefit of campaign counsel. The board has determined that an additional $1.7 million is needed to fulfill the final campaign objective of building and furnishing the discovery center. The new Executive Director will play a vital part in raising capital and operating funds.

In recent years CRM has expanded its reach to Connecticut towns upriver and to a broader demographic. This has been accomplished through outdoor activities, concerts, and food-and drink-related programs. While these efforts have been successful, more will need to be done to ensure the continued growth and utilization of the facilities.

As the realization of its vision for facility expansion nears, CRM has been at work on a new strategic plan to take full advantage of its capability and recent success. The museum is poised for a new level of visibility and service to the region’s residents and visitors.

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The successful candidate will be a proven leader with broad interests and a record of accomplishment leading or in a senior management position with a community-based cultural or environmental organization, including effective fundraising.  An outgoing relationship-builder, the new Executive Director will enjoy being the public face of the museum and will seek opportunities for partnerships with area arts, cultural, and environmental organizations and educational institutions.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

The Executive Director is charged with oversight and management of the museum, working collaboratively with professional staff and the board to ensure strategic goals and annual objectives are met. Early priorities will include:

  • Serve as a vital teammate with staff and board members to meet the goals for operating funds and the capital campaign, taking part in personal solicitation of individuals and businesses, and developing proposals to granting entities as needed.

  • Work closely with the staff and board putting the new strategic plan into effect to guide the operation going forward.

  • Provide regular oversight and coordination between the museum and the construction manager while the discovery center is built, collaborating with board members who have construction expertise

  • Work with the Curator to support the operation and maintenance of the new collections storage facility.

  • Collaborate with the Curator to develop a three-year exhibition plan, including refreshing the ten-year-old permanent exhibit.

  • Lead development of plans for interpretive components of the new discovery center and sustainable operation of the expanded museum.

  • Plan and manage the maintenance of the museum’s four historic structures in accordance with the standards of the Secretary of the Interior.

  • Lead or delegate creation and implementation of procedures to ensure safe waterfront utilization.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • A Master’s degree in museum studies focused on either history or environmental science; or a degree in public history, nonprofit management, or a related field; or the equivalent in education and experience.

  • At least five years successfully leading another nonprofit organization or a significant department within one.

  • A track record of successful fundraising from individuals, businesses, and granting entities.

  • Strong people skills. Enthusiasm for and a record of connecting with the community. Strong speaking and writing skills, and an effective ambassador.

  • The ideal candidate will have a passion for public speaking and the eagerness to use their platform to further the goals of the museum in terms of fundraising, preservation and education.

  • Broad-mindedness, wide-ranging and interdisciplinary interests. Willingness to fill gaps in her/his knowledge of the museum’s subject areas.

  • “Fire in the belly” ambition and self-motivation.

  • Ability to manage multiple demands and execute efficiently.

  • Willing to get in the trenches and pitch in when needed but not micromanage.  Available to staff; a good listener.  This is a small institution and requires each member of the staff to perform a multitude of tasks on an as-needed basis.

  • Knowledge of museum standards. Experience with AAM accreditation and best practices is advantageous.

  • Financial acumen.

  • Experience with capital expansion desirable.

  • Maritime skills are advantageous as the museum is situated upon a working waterfront.

  • Willingness to work irregular hours and some weekends.

ABOUT ESSEX, CT AND THE REGION

Essex is a charming historic town on the Connecticut River six miles upriver from Long Island Sound. Three villages comprise the town: Essex, Ivoryton, and Centerbrook. The combined year-round population is just under 6,700. The town retains its scenic beauty and historic character, with many examples of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century architecture. It is a safe place to live. Area public schools are first-rate. The region around Essex has extensive conservation land in addition to the river for outdoor enthusiasts. Long Island Sound beaches are fifteen minutes from the town center.

Essex is located centrally to urban areas, universities, and cultural attractions. New York City and Boston are each only about two hours away by car, and Hartford or New Haven, forty minutes.  Transportation is readily available. Amtrak and Interstate 95 serve the area, and the Hartford and Providence regional airports are just over an hour’s drive away.  Yale University, the University of Connecticut, and Wesleyan University are all within 45-minute drives, and Connecticut College is 25 minutes away. There are many museums, art galleries, and theaters in the region. Spouses and partners will find many potential employers within an easy commute from Essex.

HOW TO APPLY

Nominations welcome.  Apply in confidence: Email cover letter, résumé (Word documents preferred), salary requirement, and names of 3 references with contact information by April 6, 2020 to retained search firm: Scott Stevens, Senior Search Consultant, Museum Search & Reference/Marilyn Hoffman, SearchandRef@museum-search.com. References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant. EOE.

Education Coordinator

Education Coordinator

To make application: Email letter of interest, resume and 3 professional references to Suzanne Burns, Director of Education at sburns@ctrivermuseum.org by March 20, 2020.

Position Summary

The Education Coordinator supports the Connecticut River Museum (CRM) in achieving its mission to lead in the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley. The Education Coordinator will develop, manage and implement education programs for a variety of audiences that will deepen visitor engagement in and exploration of the Museum. Oversee student field trip visits, classes, camps, and youth/adult groups.  The Education Coordinator will also provide support to the Education Director in areas of the operation of the department as directed.  Qualified applicants will be passionate, motivated, able to work within a team, as well as on their own, and have proven skills working with children.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Create and implement learning experiences for diverse audiences: schools, youth, college, homeschool, adult-groups and intergenerational general visitors at the Museum and off-site.
  • Organize museum teacher trainings.
  • Provide programming at CRM campus, at partner location Bushnell Farm, aboard partner vessels such as RiverQuest or Onrust at offsite locations such as schools, outdoor trails or other bodies of water.
  • Participate in leading Summer Adventure Camps. This involves the development and implementation of programs.
  • Coordinate guided paddles and hikes.
  • Act as lead teacher for Eagle Watch cruises.
  • Assist with public programs- lectures, community forums, symposia, etc.
  • Conduct open tours and scheduled tours as needed.
  • As a member of the education team, work to develop strategies to reach new audiences, assist with grant writing and develop education components of exhibits.
  • Participate in Museum’s special events and other special projects as assigned.
  • Write copy and prepare marketing materials to promote programs.
  • Assist curator with written exhibit content.

 

Qualifications

Education/Certifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree and minimum 3 years of experience working in non-traditional learning environments or equivalent experience.
  • Background in museum studies, history or environmental science.
  • Experience with developing and implementing innovative education programs.
  • Understanding of educational theory and techniques, knowledge of state standards.
  • Maintain the requirements of a crewmember on our U.S. Coast Guard certified vessels. All crewmembers are subject to U.S. Coast Guard Drug and Alcohol Testing, in accordance with 46 CFR Parts 4 and 16.
  • Must be able to lift at least 30 pounds and be on your feet for long periods of time.
  • Valid Driver’s License & your own transportation

 

Preferred Qualifications

  • USCG OUPV 6-Pack License or greater
  • State of Connecticut Youth Camp Waterfront Director Certification.

 

Skills/Knowledge/Experience

  • Positive, energetic, interactive approach with participants of all ages and learning styles.
  • Excellent oral, written and computer communication and organizational skills.
  • Attention to detail while setting priorities and meeting critical deadlines.
  • Flexibility solving problems in fast-paced, team-oriented environment.

 

Position Structure

  • Regular hourly, permanent, part-time position (up to 24 hours/43 weeks)/ full time position as director of summer camp (40 hours/9 weeks).
  • Some weekend and evening hours require
  • Supervises Museum Teachers, Summer Interns, and volunteers
  • Reports to Director of Education.

 

To make application: Email letter of interest, resume and 3 professional references to Suzanne Burns, Director of Education at sburns@ctrivermuseum.org by March 20, 2020.

 

Summer Education Internship

Education Internship

 

Supervisor: Director of Education

Department: Education

Schedule: Full-time; seasonal

Hours & Duration: Monday-Friday; 8am-5pm; Some evenings and weekends required.

Start & End dates: May 18-August 18; flexible with dates

 

$1,200-$1,800 or academic credit

 

Summary: Interns will have the opportunity to receive broad-based experience through a wide range of projects. Interns in education will work primarily with school, youth and camp groups.  Interns will gain experience in leading inquiry based STEAM lessons focused on the cultural and natural history of the Connecticut River and its valley at the Museum and at outreach locations.  Interns will also assist with major Museum events and work with all departments.  Interns will end internship with experience creating, organizing and leading education lessons, assisting with public programs, collaborating with marketing, curatorial, and development departments, and engaging with our members, friends and supporters.

 

Responsibilities:

  • Set up lessons in appropriate spaces.
  • Assist Museum Teachers in leading school based programs.
  • Independently lead camp activities.
  • Communicate daily with Education Staff about status of programs.
  • Create an independent project to be completed by end of internship.

 

Learning Component (examples)

  • Customer Service skills
  • Family engagement skills
  • Data collection and analysis skills
  • Research skills
  • Database software skills
  • Event planning

Qualifications:

  • Experience teaching in nontraditional learning environments such as museums, nature centers or camps.
  • Enrolled in a academic program in museum studies, education, history, environmental science or related field.
  • Able to lift at least 30 pounds and be on your feet for long periods of time.
  • Positive, energetic, interactive approach with participants of all ages and learning styles.
  • Excellent oral, written, and computer communication and organizational skills.
  • Flexibility solving problems in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment.
    Must have consistent, reliable transportation.

To make application: Email letter of interest, resume and 3 professional references to Suzanne Burns, Director of Education at sburns@ctrivermuseum.org .

Internship

The Connecticut River Museum, located on the waterfront in Essex, CT is seeking interns to assist in many areas of important Museum work. Internship opportunities are available for College Students in the education, collections, marketing, and fundraising departments. The Connecticut River Museum uses its exhibitions, museum programs and on-water activities to explore the rich cultural and environmental heritage of the River. Interns will have the opportunity to receive broad-based experience through a wide range of projects. Some evening and weekend time may be required.

Per-diem Museum Teacher

The Connecticut River Museum, a regional interdisciplinary museum that explores and documents the history, culture, and environment of New England’s largest river, seeks a per-diem, enthusiastic Museum Teacher. Teachers must support the objectives and goals of CRM by implementing educational activities in support of the educational mission of the museum.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Act as a Museum Teacher and deliver:
School Programs, in house and outreach
Summer Camp programs
Adult Education Programs
Group Tours
Public Programs
Assist with interdisciplinary youth group and overnight programs.
Assist with events and fundraisers as assigned.

Qualifications:

Minimum 2 years’ experience teaching in nontraditional learning environments.
BA in museum studies, education, history, environmental science or related field.
Understanding of educational theory and techniques, knowledge of state educational standards.
Able to lift at least 30 pounds and be on your feet for long periods of time.
Positive, energetic, interactive approach with participants of all ages and learning styles.
Excellent oral, written, and computer communication and organizational skills.
Flexibility solving problems in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment.
Must have consistent, reliable transportation.

Hourly, part-time position; hours vary seasonally. May work up to 15 hours during peak season, average 4-8 hours.

To apply email cover letter and resume, with 3 references to Education Department, CRM, 67 Main Street, Essex, CT 06426. No phone calls please.

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