Associate Director for Audience and Engagement, SAWHM

Smithsonian Institution

Washington, DC 20013


Oct 20, 2023


Sep 28, 2023

Full time / $141,022 - $212,100 annually / Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum / Washington, DC

This position serves the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum (SAWHM), overseeing the departments of Curatorial Affairs and Education, to include sub departments and special programs. The incumbent supports planning, developing and implementing audience engagement through curatorial, collection, education, interpretation, public programming, and outreach initiatives onsite, nationally and online.


Provides leadership and direction to Curatorial Affairs in the planning, development, and execution of museum exhibitions, symposiums, and other scholarly content driven activities. Works with the curatorial, collections and conservation teams to formulate goals and objectives and appropriate policy guidelines for curatorial, collections, conservation activities. Ensures the development and incorporation of digital content regarding exhibitions, publications, and other content related scholarship. Makes policy decisions concerning Curatorial Affairs programs, including matters of budget, staffing, and organization.

Works closely with the Project Management Office, Museum Operations, Digital Strategy and External Affairs to ensure and coordinate collaboration for the development, implementation and execution of public programs, exhibitions, and publications. In coordination with the Director and the curatorial, collections and conservation teams, reviews and evaluates proposals for new scholarly programs, exhibitions, or any significant changes in existing programs in research and collections. In concert with the Director reviews scholarship proposals and provides leadership and guidance on implementation of the proposed programs. In coordination with Director, establishes standards for research, exhibitions, collections, digital development, scholarly publications, and other professional programs. Directs and coordinates the efforts of the research and other professional staff to ensure that a high quality of performance is maintained, and that program emphases and museum strategic priorities are effectively carried out. This includes the monitoring of staff research and publication efforts, and the effective dissemination of scholarly work by professional staff and visiting researchers through lectures, symposia, and publications to both general and specialized audiences.

Performs historical research which results in authoritative scholarly contributions to the field. Participates in national and international conferences, meetings, and symposia and serves on national and international museum committees. Explores and develops joint programs in cooperation with universities, other museums, and community groups. Provides expert advice and consultation to professional and other organizations.

Serves as principal advisor to the Director on all matters relating to educational activities, audience development, interpretation, digital learning, programming and public engagement. Collaborates with the Director on education and audience development planning, policies, resources, and implementation. Collaborates with the Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships in developing audience engagement vision; onsite and national/international visitor experiences; and electronic representation of the SAWHM; creates and implements short-and long-term plans to guide museum education, audience development and engagement. Maintains close working relationships with other Associate Directors to ensure integration of planning and activities.

Through subordinate supervisors, directs the Education office, leading staff, interns, docents and contractors to ensure creative, quality and audience-sensitive activities and programs consistent with the Museum’s strategic plan, emphases and priorities. Assures appropriate collaboration with curatorial and other staff (administrative, business, communications and marketing, special events and development) in all areas relating to audience engagement. Assures effective process of program and exhibition evaluation.

Develops and implements operating policies, standards, and procedures. Develops performance standards for subordinate supervisors and evaluates their performance. Reviews and approves recommendations for personnel actions and acts to resolve major personnel problems. Actively supports safe environment and practices, staff development, labor relations, equal employment and diversity. Ensures compliance with procurement, financial and HR regulations, policies, and practices.

Develops, justifies, executes, and controls the office federal and trust budgets and ensures compliance with all Federal, Institution and Museum financial management policies and procedures. Ensures adequate office control systems are in place to monitor expenses and budget limitations, contracts, and procurements. Ensures that all applicable safety policy, standards, procedures, and reviews are in place and followed.

Represents the Director as required at a variety of meetings and conferences, with delegated authority to commit the Museum to programs and courses of action. Serves as member of Director’s Council. Represents the Museum on all matters related to audience engagement.

Conditions of Employment
Pass Pre-Employment Background Investigation
May need to complete a Probationary Period
Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service
Meets the basic qualifications and specialized experience as listed below.

A degree in Museum Education, Management, or a related field; or a combination of education and appropriate experience that provides knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through successful completion of a four year course of study in an applicable subject matter field.

In addition, applicants must have one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS-15 level. Specialized experience is defined as the demonstrated knowledge and leadership skills as it relates to educational programming/activities, audience development, interpretation, digital learning and public engagement of a large museum or cultural organization.

The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrated experience in leading and supporting a program related to education and public engagement that consists of visitor orientation and guest services, K-12 outreach and digital learning, audience development and public programs.

  2. Demonstrated ability to lead and manage strategic priorities and initiatives related to education and audience development. This should include local, national, and international audiences both onsite and online.

  3. Demonstrated experience in leading and supporting a museum or other cultural organization related to collections management, scholarly activities, and exhibition planning. This should include examples of managing strategic priorities and initiatives related to building collections, exhibition development, and scholarly activities.

  4. Skill in executive level budgeting and resource management, including managing relationships across large, multi-tiered organizations.

  5. Skill in leading and managing a multi-disciplined and culturally diverse workforce, including developing team-work and high morale; attracting, retaining, motivating, and providing guidance; and implementing EEO/Affirmative Action policies and programs for a highly performing team.

Additional information:
Relocation expenses will not be paid.




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