The Director of Learning and Engagement reports directly to the President/CEO of the Taft Museum of Art (TMA). The Director of Learning and Engagement is a member of the Museum’s leadership team and will manage a department budget of almost $500,000 and oversee a professional staff of 4.5 individuals, plus a dedicated group of volunteers. This position requires a dynamic, creative, and visionary leader to help the Taft engage new audiences, increase public involvement, and expand its role in the community by delivering our mission, which is to provide meaningful experiences connecting people with great art in a historic setting. This role requires a commitment to community engagement through partnerships based on community needs. The Director of Learning and Engagement will proactively reach, both inside and outside our museum, those who may otherwise not be able to experience art, and engage audiences in a way that is meaningful to them.
The Taft Museum of Art opened in 1932. A founder-based museum like the Frick Collection and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Taft presents the collections of Charles and Anna Taft, noted Gilded Age collectors. The facility comprises a historic house (built c. 1820) that is on the National Historic Register and a modern wing completed in 2004. The small, exquisite collection consists of European Old Master and 19th-century paintings; 19th-century American paintings and sculpture; European decorative arts, with particular strength in French Renaissance enamels, Italian maiolica, and watches; and American Federal-period furniture. Located in downtown Cincinnati, the Museum is part of a resurgent city culture characterized by vigorous residential development of historic downtown row houses in a vibrant commercial, dining, and theater district.
The Taft offers a wide array of programs for students and teachers, families, adults, and seniors, both within the Museum and out in the community. Programs for schools include free admission/tours for students, curriculum-based tours, online lesson plans for teachers, and outreach programs for special exhibitions. Adult programs include tours and talks, concerts, workshops, and events for young professionals. Youth and family offerings include 3rd Sunday Fundays, Taft Jr. for preschoolers, Summer Art Camp, and programs for homeschoolers and Girl Scout/Brownie troops. Education and Experience
- MA or equivalent in art history preferred. Coursework or degree in museum education highly desirable.
- Five–seven years of professional experience in art museum education, with two–three in a management role.
- Ability to assess existing programs and reshape them as needed to increase public involvement with the Museum.
- Interest in and knowledge of current issues in museum education; willingness to acquire and share new ideas about learning, visitor participation, and audience building from the national professional arena.
- A passion for art and object-based learning and the ability to arouse curiosity and spark interest among staff, public, board, and volunteers.
- Experience with organizational development and strategic planning in a leadership capacity.
- Interest and experience in utilizing technology as part of exhibit interpretation and programming
- Successful track record of managing docents or volunteers. The Taft has a dedicated docent and volunteer organization that serves the Museum in many ways, including fundraising, greeting visitors, and, with the staff, developing tours.
- Willingness to be a hands-on leader, working alongside staff and volunteers to ensure the success of museum programs and events.
- Interest in creating new and innovative programs in art history, American history, music, and other relevant areas to engage new audiences of adults, children, and families.
- Experience in developing and implementing audience evaluation and visitor surveys. Required Skills
Highly resourceful team player, with the ability to also be extremely effective independently. Collaborative approach to solving problems and creating new ideas.
- Communication and Enrollment:
Very strong interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with stakeholders, including staff, board members, external partners, volunteers, donors, and contractors. Expert written and verbal communication skills. Calm demeanor, especially in a crisis. Communicates proactively and concisely, both in writing and face-to-face, with Museum leadership, co-workers, volunteers, and the public.
Finding unique and different ways that people want to learn about and experience art. Will search for current best approaches and apply to TMA programs and tours to deliver excellence to our visitors.
- Engagement and Diversity:
Ability to develop new audiences by introducing programs that will engage a broader, more diverse constituency that better reflects the population profile of the region.
A leader who fosters change and innovation while maintaining an appreciation and respect for the Museum’s traditions and history.
- Planning and Organizing:
Strong organizational skills that reflect the ability to prioritize and perform multiple tasks seamlessly with excellent attention to detail. Proficiency at improving work methods and procedures as a means toward greater efficiency.
Adeptness at analyzing facts, problem-solving, decision-making, and demonstrating good judgment. Emotional maturity. Ability to make sound decisions and good judgment within the guidelines of Museum policy and procedures. Forward-looking thinker, who actively seeks opportunities and proposes solutions. Demonstrated proactive approaches to problem-solving with strong decision-making capability.
- Mission Focus:
Embraces the mission of the Museum and all strategic documents. Integrates these documents into daily work.
- Visitor Experience:
Demonstrates the highest level of service and response to the board of directors, the director, staff, volunteers, and visitors.
Proven ability to handle confidential information with discretion, and to adapt to various competing demands. Must be able to perform duties in a professional manner, have an appearance that reflects favorably on the Taft Museum of Art, and adheres to the Museum’s code of ethics, employee handbook, and other organizational policies. Roles and Responsibilities Collaborative Initiatives
- Work with the Development Department to prepare grants. Oversee implementation of and reporting on grants for Learning and Engagement Department programs. Meet with potential donors and supporters as needed.
- Assist Marketing Department with promoting and publicizing Museum programs. With learning and engagement staff, maintain education components of the Museum’s website and e-commerce site. Community Engagement
- Increase and broaden audiences for the Museum by developing innovative school and public programs in accordance with the Taft’s mission and long-range plan.
- Represent the Museum in the community on a regular basis, including presenting programs and speaking to civic groups. Interpretation
- Assist Curatorial Department staff in creating interpretive materials for the permanent collection and changing exhibitions. Docents
- Serve as liaison to the docents. Attend docent meetings and arrange for support as needed.
- Provide leadership and process to the docent team regarding Museum priorities and goals. Duncanson Artist-in-Residence
- Prepare and oversee annual budget for the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program and serve as the liaison for the Duncanson Society (a group that supports an ongoing African American presence in the Museum). Attend meetings of the group and arrange for support as needed. Leadership
- Oversee all Learning and Engagement Department staff and activities, including docent training and continuing education; school and teacher programs; family, studio, and adult programs; and community outreach programs.
- Coach and train the learning and engagement team and others affiliated with the department.
- Serve as part of the Museum’s senior management team, which develops strategies and sets museum-wide goals.
- Regularly attend board of directors meetings, and the board’s collections and education committee meetings, and present reports on Learning and Engagement Department activities. Programming
- Provide program support as needed to education staff.
- Evaluate education programs with staff. How to Apply
- Apply in confidence. Send résumé (Word document preferred), cover letter, salary requirement (a range is fine), and names with contact information of three references to: email@example.com
by Friday, September 15, 2017. Nominations welcome.
- The Taft Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer.