Executive Director, Berkshire Museum

Berkshire Museum

Job Type: Museums and Libraries

Application Deadline: November 21, 2018


The Berkshire Museum is seeking an experienced and innovative Executive Director to advance the Museum as a regional resource providing impactful experiences around art, science, and history across a broad and diverse community constantly confronting change and challenge. The Executive Director will encourage the interdisciplinary interpretation of the Museum’s collections in art, history, and the natural sciences by providing experiences that are fresh and relevant in a changing world. The Museum is financially secure with a substantial capital budget, providing the next leader of this 100+ year-old institution an opportunity to expand its relevance, status, and influence.


In 1903, Berkshire Museum founder Zenas Crane, inspired by such institutions as the American Museum for Natural Science, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, decided to blend the best attributes of these establishments in a new museum for the people of western Massachusetts. Thanks in large part to Crane’s efforts, the broad and varied collections of the Berkshire Museum include objects from virtually every continent. The collection includes more than 40,000 works of art and objects, artifacts of fine and decorative art, ancient history and natural science including: impressive fossil collections; a 143-pound meteorite; an Egyptian mummy; shards of Babylonian cuneiform tablets; samplings of early Mediterranean jewelry; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s desk; a live aquarium, and representations of Berkshire ecosystems including local mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, plants, and minerals.

The Berkshire Museum is a dynamic educational and cultural center for adults and children alike. It is a cornerstone of the Pittsfield and larger Berkshire communities and an attraction for
tourists as well. The Museum offers educational and public programming and activities for visitors of all ages. The Museum welcomes nearly 100,000 visitors each year and provides more than 29,000 student experiences annually at the Museum and in the community. The Berkshire Museum hosts close to 700 public programs throughout the year, including films, talks, performances, camps, hands-on workshops and demonstrations.


Zenas Crane’s vision when he created the Berkshire Museum was to provide the community with a “window on the world.” The Museum now must realize that vision in a changing community and world, remaining true to the Museum’s mission to bring people together for experiences that spark creativity and innovative thinking by making inspiring educational connections among art, history and natural science.

The Museum faced immediate financial challenges, including the need to create an endowment to ensure long-term financial stability and to improve and repair an aging facility in need of modernization both for public safety and for the protection of the museum’s collection. After extensive outreach and consultation across the community served by the museum, the Board of
Trustees developed a plan to secure the Museum’s future as an innovative 21st-century institution, with the financial stability to sustain itself and continue to serve the community.

The Board made the difficult decision to sell a limited number of artworks from the more than 40,000 pieces in the Museum’s collection. That decision prompted legal action against the
Museum that was resolved by an agreement with the Attorney General of Massachusetts and approved by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. The agreement allowed the Museum to sell up to
40 works approved for deaccessioning with the goal of raising up to $55 million to fund an endowment, make needed repairs and improvements to the museum building, and better integrate
the museum’s collection through an interdisciplinary approach that connects art, science, and historical objects in more meaningful and creative ways.

The new Executive Director will be responsible for working collaboratively with the board and staff to lead the museum through this transition, including a significantly expanded
aquarium/living collection experience; open storage experiences to allow for more of the collections to be on view and interpreted; two new theater spaces (one with 360 degree projection capabilities); and two new classroom/community spaces to meet the needs of the museum’s dynamic and growing education and programming model.


The Berkshire Museum is located in the heart of the Berkshire Mountains in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The cities and towns of this famous region are a popular vacation destination, known for outdoor activities, fall foliage viewing, excellent farm-to-table restaurants, and thriving arts institutions. Pittsfield is a small city surrounded by scenic beauty that has inspired and attracted generations of artists, writers, and visitors from around the world.


The Executive Director is the strategic, creative, and operational leader of the Berkshire Museum with responsibility for ensuring that the organization meets its financial and programmatic goals
to bring people together for experiences that spark creativity and innovative thinking through connections among art, history, and natural science. In addition, he/she is the primary spokesperson, fundraiser, and ambassador for the Museum, articulating its vision, values, and contribution to the Berkshire community, elected officials, educators, donors, the broader museum community, the news media, and others who could support the museum in meeting its goals.

The Director reports to a twenty-person Board of Trustees that also has three honorary life trustees. The Executive Director supervises three core teams of the Museum, including Support
Services, Engagement, and Experience.


  • Lead the operations of the Museum and its major functions of community engagement, education, exhibitions and programming, fundraising, budgeting, and visitor experiences;
  • Oversee the programs and finances of all Museum operations;
  • In collaboration with the Board of Trustees and staff, develop, articulate, and implement plans for the organization’s future and translate those plans into tactical directions and operating policies;
  • Be the point of contact for capital projects;
  • Oversee the Museum’s work and relationships with local, state, and federal elected officials, foundations, and the news media;
  • Ensure that the public use of the Museum and its resources continue to grow;
  • Play a leading role in increasing financial support for the Museum and developing strategies for cultivating and raising private funds;
  • Serve as the public face and spokesperson of the organization, clearly articulating the Museum’s mission and activities; fostering and maintaining a close working relationship with regional and national museums and other related institutions;
  • Work closely and transparently with the Board of Trustees and its committees, providing updates, soliciting feedback, and engaging members in constructive dialogue;
  • Identify, recruit, develop, and retain a talented, accomplished, and diverse staff and volunteers to meet the evolving needs of the organization.


  • A minimum of five years successful experience leading a similar organization or agency, or senior management level leadership experience including strategic planning, fundraising and sales, personnel supervision and evaluation, project management, budget preparation and management, financial literacy, communications, and program implementation;
  • Advanced degrees in history, natural sciences, art history, or a related field preferred;
  • Superior management skills, including an eye for talent and an ability to attract and retain a first-rate staff;
  • Ability to work with an engaged Board of Trustees and staff, donors, members, government officials, the local community and media;
  • A strong commitment to diversity and gender equity;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to lead and work as a member of a team, plus inspire an organizational culture that supports the Museum’s values and principles;
  • Ability to collaborate with partners in the local and regional cultural community;
  • An appreciation and understanding of the disciplines of art, history, the natural sciences, and museum management;
  • Ability to work in an educational organization or public agency, museum or historic site, with progressive responsibility;
  • Basic knowledge of the Berkshire Museum and its programs, including its charter, bylaws, mission statement, and institutional goals.

This is a full time, salaried position. The final salary will be determined based on the experience and qualifications of the successful candidate.

The Berkshire Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Review of candidate materials will begin immediately with a deadline of November 21, 2018. Please email your application to BerkshireMuseumSearch@gmail.com.

The application should include a resume with contact information for at least three professional references and a letter of interest addressed to Dr. Brent D. Glass, Brent D. Glass LLC, 1921
Sunderland Place NW, Washington, DC 20036.

Hard copies of application packages may be mailed to:
Dr. Brent D. Glass
Brent D. Glass LLC
1921 Sunderland Place NW
Washington, DC 20036

Posted: October 26, 2018