(MVM) is a century-old historical and cultural museum that has collected art,
artifacts, oral histories, documents, and photographs that help tell the
stories of Martha’s Vineyard from its prehistoric stage to the present. Committed
to inspiring all people to discover, explore, and strengthen their connections
to the island and its diverse heritage, MVM is the leading cultural and historic
institution on the island. A venue for ongoing surprise and discovery, the museum
offers thought-provoking programming, exhibits, and educational opportunities
for children and adults.As historians and storytellers, MVM
strives to provide a framework for understanding the past in order to create a
better future. Everyvisit
to the museum, like every visit to the island, surprises, challenges, delights,
and leaves lasting memories.
Founded in 1922 as the Dukes County Historical Society and
incorporated in 1923, the Historical Society met in libraries, churches, and
private homes until 1932 when it acquired the early eighteenth-century Cooke
House in Edgartown. Over time, the organization grew and in 2006, the
Historical Society officially changed its name to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum
to better reflect its focus on both collecting the history of the island and
presenting, educating, and sharing it with the public. By that time, it was
also clear that MVM had outgrown its historic home and needed to move in order
to achieve its mission.
In 2011, MVM purchased the four-acre 1895 Marine Hospital site in
Vineyard Haven and set out on a $31 million capital campaign to transform it
into a new museum with more than 10,000 square feet of exhibit, library,
collections storage, and office space. MVM was also gifted three properties
adjacent to the Marine Hospital site, including one that serves as vital office
space for its curatorial department and additional collections storage.
Additionally, MVM made a commitment to transform the historic Edgartown site
into a learning experience that would continue to interpret the Cooke House
property and create a public garden for the community. The museum also operates
two lighthouses, owned by the towns of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.
In March 2019, the Vineyard Haven site opened to the public with
great fanfare and a blockbuster exhibit celebrating the island’s profound
influence on the work of Thomas Hart Benton. With nearly 30,000 visitors in its
first year—a fivefold increase over its best year at the Edgartown campus—it
was ready for another robust summer. Exactly one year after opening in Vineyard
Haven, the museum was forced to close due toCOVID-19. The staff quickly pivoted to respond to the needs of its local school
children, senior citizens, and anyone who had a connection to Martha’s
Vineyard. The museummounted a strong online presence with daily oral
history and object posts and offered downloadable lesson plans more than 1,500
times to parents for at-home teaching.
Today, MVM’s collections include more than 43,000 different items and
than 350 individual subject collections consisting of manuscripts, maps and
charts, and genealogical materials. Its Hackney Research Library provides anyone
interested in the history and culture of Martha's Vineyard with access to more
than 3,500 books, 900 maps and charts, and 50,000 photographic images. The
library fields 500 to 600 inquiries each year from scholars, local governments,
media, and the public, as well as offering genealogical services. The museum’s
Quarterly, has been published continuously since 1959. Established
in 1993, the Oral History Collection contains more than 1,700 interviews.
Through partnerships with Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools and other
organizations, MVM offers curriculum-based, in-classroom instruction and
on-site opportunities to explore and discover the collection. The museum also
houses a permanent exhibit, Hands On History, as well as summer camp
experiences and educational programs for young children.
Over the past 15 years, the museum has
broadened its outreach to the island community with the goal of being more
inclusive and representative of the entire island population. As MVM approaches
its centennial year, a strategic priority is to fill in the untold stories. Of
particular importance, the museum is dedicated to elevating the voices of the
voiceless, bearing witness to the overlooked, and challenging the myths that
have given aid and comfort to injustice. In its recentStatement
on Racial Injustice,
MVM stated that it is deeply troubled by the events unfolding across the
nation. MVM is committed to partnering with its community to collect and tell all
the histories on the island. It knows that history is too often written only by
the powerful and that museums have too often amplified their voices while
ignoring or silencing others.
MVM is governed by a 30-member board of
directors, led by Chair Cathy Weiss. Heather Seger, the Director of Advancement,
was appointed as Interim Executive Director overseeing a mission-oriented staff
of 15 curatorial, exhibition, program, research, visitor services, education,
development, facility, and finance employees. The total non-COVID
operating revenue in 2019 was approximately $2.6 million, with $1.4 million
from contributions, grants, and special events and $1.2 million from admissions,
membership fees, and sales, as well as appropriations from the capital campaign.
Total reported expenses were approximately $2.9 million in 2019 and $1.9
million in 2020, excluding depreciation and interest expense. At the end of 2020,
its permanently restricted endowment stood at $2.8 million.
Located five miles off the coast of Cape Cod,
Martha’s Vineyard is the largest of Massachusetts’ coastal islands. Approximately
87 square miles, the island is home to six towns: Aquinnah, Chilmark,
Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury. The island has a population
of approximately 17,000 people that swells to 90,000 during the summer and may
exceed 100,000 during busy holiday weekends. Accessible to vehicles and
passengers via ferry, the island also has an airport with four carriers,
allowing easy access to major east coast cities and a range of connecting
airports. Public transportation carries residents and visitors to all the major
points on the island, though a car is essential for navigation away from the
Rich in history and tradition, Martha’s
Vineyard is called Noepe (dry land amid the waters) by the Wampanoag, whose
ancestors settled it 10,000 years ago. It was first colonized by the English in
1642 and was part of New York until the 1690s. Fishing and farming, the
backbone of the island economy, were supplemented in the nineteenth century by
the offshore whaling industry. The slow decline of whaling and coastal shipping
between the Civil War and World War I was matched by the island's emergence as
a summer destination. Initially a destination for Methodists and Baptists
seeking solitude for their summer camp meetings, by the end of World War II the
tourist economy had taken hold across the island, joining fishing and farming
as an economic mainstay.
Over time, the maritime trades and the tourist
trade combined to make Martha's Vineyard steadily more diverse. The first
Azorean immigrants, sailors who arrived in the late eighteenth century,
established a Portuguese-speaking community that blossomed in the decades
around 1900 and was further expanded by the arrival of Brazilian immigrants a
century later. Middle-class African Americans from cities in the Northeastern United
States began to vacation in Oak Bluffs early in the twentieth century. Staying
at Black-owned inns and buying summer houses of their own, they established a
thriving summer colony that now welcomes the fourth and fifth generations of
its founding families. The Wampanoag, though dispossessed of nearly all their
ancestral lands, remained central to the island's cultural and economic life,
particularly in the town of Gay Head (now Aquinnah) and in the Chappaquiddick
region of Edgartown. The Aquinnah Wampanoag became a federally recognized tribe
in 1987 and has remained a part of the island’s culture, with an active
reservation in Aquinnah including the largest number of registered tribal
Martha’s Vineyard has always welcomed artists
of all fields who found inspiration in its natural beauty. There is a vibrant
arts and culture scene with year-round performances and events. Dining and
shopping are plentiful on the island and land conservation and farming help to
maintain its beauty. Seasonal farmers markets and numerous local farms are part
of the year-round community of sustainable agriculture. Each town has its own
unique character and sites that have been featured in films such as Annabel Lee(1921), Jumping the Broom(2011), and most famously Jaws(1975), where Edgartown portrayed the fictional Amity Island.
Martha’s Vineyard is a casual community that
takes pride in being a place where the famous can come to be anonymous and
where everyone can be who they are. Several presidents have vacationed on the
Vineyard, including President and Mrs. Obama who recently purchased a home in
Edgartown. While industries related to tourism are a key part of the island’s
economy, education, healthcare, and professional services are critical. There
are five public elementary schools and a regional high school serving the island's
children, as well as a public charter school and a Montessori school.
the board of directors,
the Executive Director will serve as a forward-thinking chief executive officer
of the newly revitalized MVM, with overall responsibility for the execution of
its mission and achievement of its vision. An outgoing leader, the Executive
Director will be committed to museum excellence and possess a deep appreciation
for the changing museum field, community engagement, and high-quality visitor
experiences. This individual will represent MVM regionally and nationally to
external stakeholders, constituents, and community partners. They will build excitement,
provide leadership, and invigorate a strategic direction in support of MVM. Maintaining
a high professional profile, the Executive Director will support growth in both
contributed and earned revenue, closely collaborating with the board to complete
the capital campaign while identifying opportunities for legacy and endowment
gifts. The Executive Director will also partner with the board to cultivate
relationships and financial resources that will ensure the success of an
institution that serves as a symbol of community engagement and pride to the
residents and visitors of Martha’s Vineyard.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Direction and Revenue Enhancement
§ Communicate the museum’s strategic direction, vision, and
impacts to build membership, attendance, commitment, and support for the
organization and its mission and programs.
§ Pursue an expanding dialogue about Vineyard histories
through collection enhancement, creative and relevant exhibits, meaningful
educational opportunities, and programming that deepens the exhibit narrative.
§ Cultivate major donors and expand fundraising activities to
support the completion of the comprehensive capital campaign and to build financial
resilience for ongoing programs and operations.
§ Guide development activities in partnership with the Director
of Advancement and board of directors, maintain strong relationships with donors
and the funding community, and establish strong stewardship and cultivation
methods with the board and staff.
§ Ensure the implementation of the strategic plan and completion
of the business planning process, working with the board, staff, and community
stakeholders to attain a clear vision for programming, financial growth, and community
§ Define short-term and intermediate goals towards the growth
of the endowment and legacy giving programs.
§ Embrace other strategic
direction and revenue enhancement responsibilities as needed.
Community Engagement and Governance
§ Develop an active
community presence and authentic relationships to foster opportunities for new
initiatives and partnerships that build connections and the collection, support
increased attendance and membership, and strengthen the fabric of social and
cultural organizations on the island.
§ Deepen and refine all
aspects of communication to support and strengthen the museum’s brand and visibility,
particularly during the robust tourist season.
§ Seek opportunities to
collaborate with arts, cultural, and educational organizations and other
businesses to ensure that the museum campus is an accommodating and welcoming
venue for programing, educational activities, and other events.
§ Build strong, positive
relationships with government officials, civic leaders, social innovators, and
cultural champions who seek to advance the interests and reputation of the
entire Martha’s Vineyard community.
§ Identify, cultivate, recruit,
and orient new board members in partnership with the governance committee and
provide ongoing education for existing board members.
§ Mobilize and best
utilize the board’s insights, connections, talents, and resources as ambassadors
and volunteers who wholeheartedly support the museum’s overall goals and
§ Develop and support an
effective and engaged board of directors, serving as an ex-officio member of
its committees in seeking to build board involvement.
§ Provide concise,
relevant, and timely information to the board so that it can fulfill its policy-setting
and decision-making responsibilities.
§ Embrace other community
engagement and governance responsibilities as needed.
Leadership and Administration
§ Lead a performance- and
outcomes-based organization, overseeing all day-to-day operations, with a focus
on providing quality exhibitions and programs within the framework of
excellence in the visitor experience.
§ Establish systems to
track progress and measure organizational effectiveness, communicating key
metrics and performance indicators to the staff, board, community, and key
§ Oversee the preparation
of the annual operating budget with the Director of Finance and the Finance
Committee and provide regular, ongoing updates on financial operations to
ensure the most effective use of financial, human, and technological resources.
§ Ensure that the necessary organizational structure,
policies, systems controls, and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed
§ Inspire, mentor,
evaluate, and guide a high-performing team that supports a culture of
inclusion, growth, and continuous improvement and values staff well-being.
§ Actively engage with a comprehensive network of museum
professionals, artists, and art collectors by participating in relevant
fieldwide convenings to share industry trends and implement current best
§ Maintain an
organization with the highest ethical standards.
§ Embrace other
leadership and administration responsibilities as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will have a well-rounded
set of competencies as a resourceful and creative museum professional who
values frequent interaction and collaboration with others. A visionary leader
with the ability to set, pursue, and achieve goals in a timely manner, the
Executive Director will have excellent communication skills, imagination,
entrepreneurial spirit, leadership abilities, and a passion for the unique
mission and impact of MVM. A results-oriented relationship builder who
maintains a high professional profile, the Executive Director will inspire a
long-term vision with achievable goals and a strategy that embraces many constituencies.
They will value MVM’s social impact on its community and articulate its cultural,
educational, and economic impact messages. A strong conceptual thinker and
creative generator of curatorial ideas, the Executive Director will have the
ability to move from dialogue to timely decision making and action.As a people-oriented servant leader receptive to new ideas
and innovations, the Executive Director will be open to considering new approaches
that achieve desired outcomes and exceed donor, visitor, and community expectations.
Other key competencies include:
§ Leadership and Goal Orientation– The aptitude to organize
and motivate others to set, pursue, and accomplish goals regardless of
obstacles while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation
among a variety of stakeholders.
§ Personal and Professional Accountability–The authenticity
to self-evaluate and take responsibility for personal actions and decisions,
accept setbacks, look for ways to progress, and understand how obstacles impact
§ Planning and Organizing
– The capacity to set and prioritize relevant, realistic, and attainable goals
and objectives; to anticipate effects, outcomes, and risks; and to manage
resources according to set priorities.
§ Time, Priority
and Project Management. – The ability to prioritize and complete tasks
and to oversee all resources and people to obtain desired results with allotted
§ Diplomacy– The dexterity to effectively and tactfully handle difficult situations
and treat others fairly regardless of differences while maintaining positive
Experience and Qualifications
master’s degree or equivalent experience with at leastseven years
of progressive executive leadership or senior management experience in a
museum or related nonprofit organization are required. A deep understanding of
historical collections and archives, particularly in a multi-facility
organization, is highly desired.Aproven
track record as an effective fundraiser with supervisory budget
oversight is essential.The ideal candidate will possess skill, passion, creativity,
and an appreciation for cultural history, educational programming, and community partnerships,as well as a
demonstrable commitment to the importance of equity,
diversity, and inclusion.
Compensation and Benefits
Compensation is anticipated in the range of
$145,000 to $165,000 plus a three-bedroom home adjacent to MVM.Employee benefits include grouphealth and life
insurance, vacation time, andmatching403(b) retirement plan.Public
transportation discounts, relocation assistance, andoptional dental insurance arealso available.
Application and Inquires
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary
of demonstrable accomplishments, please clickhere
or visitartsconsulting.com/employment.For questions or
general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Bruce D. Thibodeau, President
Arts Consulting Group
Newbury Street, Suite 315
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201
Martha’s Vineyard Museum stands on
Wampanoag land, acknowledges these native peoples, and commits to cultural equity now and in
the future. The museum is dedicated to diversity in all forms in its staffing,
governance, volunteers, and interns, as well as in its programs and educational offerings, to create an accessible and
inclusive organization and ensure a welcoming community.