Skip to main content Skip to home page

Director of Museums

Newport Restoration Foundation in Newport, Rhode Island is looking for an enthusiastic and dedicated leader to serve as its Director of Museums. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Museums oversees operations at NRF’s museum properties: Rough Point, Whitehorne House Museum, and Prescott Farm. The ideal candidate will be an exceptional leader and administrator with a thorough understanding of 21st century museums and a willingness to adopt new approaches to improve the visitor experience and expand our engagement with the community.

The Director of Museums assumes full supervisory responsibility for all Museum Department activities including interpretation and presentation of collections; exhibitions; education; public programming; audience development; and budget management. S/he will work with the staff and Board to ensure the continued relevance of NRF’s museums, and through the development of tours and programming, cultivate a radically welcoming atmosphere for all visitors. The next Director of Museums will have extensive background, knowledge, and experience in the field of museum studies and demonstrate an understanding of and appreciation for art generally and American material culture especially.

NRF was established in 1968 by Doris Duke, who devoted her resources to the acquisition and restoration of Colonial-era buildings in Newport. NRF owns 78 historic properties, including 70 buildings that are rented as residences. In 1999, NRF inherited Doris Duke’s Newport estate, Rough Point, along with her extensive collection of furnishings, fine arts and decorative arts. Rough Point opened as a museum the following year. The next Director of Museums will work with the NRF staff to align the interpretive approach at Rough Point with the preferences and expectations of a contemporary museum audience and the community at large.

NRF also operates Whitehorne House Museum, which features a collection of 18th century Rhode Island furniture. Whitehorne is currently open on a very limited basis. The responsibilities of the Director of Museums will include working with the NRF staff and Board to oversee the final preparation and execution of a plan to reopen Whitehorne on a broader basis.

NRF also owns and operates Prescott Farm in Middletown, Rhode Island, a 48 acre property to which NRF has moved several historic buildings, including an early 19th century windmill. The Director of Museums will work with the NRF staff and Board to consider the ways in which we might accommodate more visitors at Prescott Farm.

The Director of Museums serves as a member of the NRF leadership team and, as such, works together with the Executive Director, the other directors, and the Board of Trustees to chart the organization’s future, setting strategy and establishing the organization’s annual goals and working together to address organizational challenges. Increasing visitation at NRF’s museum properties will be a priority.

Qualifications:                                                                                                                   

  • Master’s degree or Ph.D. in art history, history, material culture, museum studies, or related field
  • A minimum of eight (8) years of professional experience in museums with increasing supervisory responsibility for collections, exhibition and program development, interpretation, visitor engagement, and team building
  • Comprehensive knowledge of professional museum standards and trends, public programming and curatorial practices as well as a basic understanding of historic preservation practices and standards
  • Outstanding interpersonal, analytical, and communications skills
  • Ability to develop, track and maintain budgets and the flexibility to adjust budgets, as needed, to meet the overall financial goals of the organization
  • Ability to exercise good judgment with a strong attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently and in team settings
  • Experience with grant writing and fundraising helpful
  • Demonstrated proficiency working in a dynamic not-for-profit environment
  • Willingness to work evenings and weekends, as required
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office
  • Ability to climb stairs and lift weights up to twenty-five pounds and climb and work from a ladder up to fifteen feet off the ground. Other hands-on work is required to assist with programming and exhibit installation.
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license
  • Speak and take direction in English

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, résumé and salary requirements to maeve@newportrestoration.org or to Human Resources, 51 Touro Street, Newport, RI 02840.  Applications accepted until July 27, 2018.  EOE.

Back to top