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MIT Museum
Cambridge, MA, United States
30+ days ago
MIT Museum
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
30+ days ago

Description

The MIT Museum (The Museum) seeks an experienced and highly motivated leader to serve as its first Deputy Director. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the MIT Museum sits at the heart of one of the world’s premier universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT” or “The Institute”). The Museum stands alone among university museums in its focus on the nature and significance of the research, teaching, scientific, and technological innovations of its parent institution. The Deputy Director will join the Museum at a key inflection point, as it prepares to transition to a new headquarters building in the newly imagined MIT Kendall Gateway in Cambridge, where the Museum will occupy more than 58,000 square feet of galleries, classrooms, and state-of-the-art program and performance spaces. Scheduled to open in spring 2022, the MIT Museum in Kendall Square will herald a new era: one in which the museum plays a larger and more prominent role in the life of the Institute. At this buzzing, lively gateway location in Kendall Square, the new Museum will strengthen the connection between the Institute and the Kendall Innovation District, becoming a meeting ground for MIT community members, entrepreneurs, and the wider community.

The MIT Museum’s galleries, exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops, performances, conversations, and debates invite visitors to participate in the ongoing adventure of research and innovation. The Museum displays objects from its vast collection and features rotating exhibitions on a wide range of topics in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) field. The Museum also presents regular programs, events, and festivals, including guided gallery tours, demonstrations by MIT faculty and students, workshops in its educational classrooms, hands-on activities in its Maker Hub, and the annual Cambridge Science Festival.

The Deputy Director will serve as second-in-command at the Museum and report directly to the Mark R. Epstein (Class of 1963) Director, John Durant, in leading the MIT Museum at a most important moment. In the wake of an international health crisis and systemic racial injustice that cannot be ignored, museum leaders have been called to action. This period will require expansive thinking through both global and local efforts as the MIT Museum examines its role as an inclusive, accessible, and thought-provoking leader in an evolving museum landscape and society.

The Deputy Director will take on a significant scope of responsibility in this newly created leadership role. Broadly, this individual will function as the senior advisor and strategic partner to the Director and share responsibility for the general operations of the Museum. The Deputy Director will maintain momentum across all areas of the Museum while simultaneously preparing for the transition to the new headquarters. This individual will be responsible for: the financial administration and operations of the Museum, including the development and implementation of an operating financial plan for the new headquarters in Kendall Square; administrative oversight of the Museum, including Human Resources; managing the Museum’s finance, visitor services, information technology, communications, and development departments; and representation of the MIT Museum to key stakeholders, including the Advisory Board, the Institute’s Senior Administration, and individual and corporate donors. This individual must demonstrate an inclusive leadership style and a deep appreciation for science and technology while simultaneously recognizing and articulating the critical role all museum staff play, including frontline service and operational professionals of all levels.

Diversity and inclusion are core values at the heart of what the MIT Museum does and, as a cultural institution, the Museum benefits from the rich diversity of the communities that it represents and serves. The Museum is committed to recruiting candidates from historically marginalized or underrepresented backgrounds and identities, as well as individuals who embrace the values and practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their leadership. The MIT Museum has retained the Boston-based executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to conduct this search. Confidential nominations, inquiries, and applications may be directed to the search firm as indicated at the end of this document.

THE INSTITUTE

The enrollment of MIT’s first students in 1865 marked the culmination of an extended effort to establish a new kind of educational institution relevant to an increasingly industrialized nation. The MIT motto “Mens et Manus,” Latin for “Mind and Hand,” expresses the Institute’s ideal of a productive continuum between reflection and action. In the land-grant tradition, MIT promotes teaching coupled with research, focusing attention on real-world problems, and forging the notion of the teaching laboratory.

MIT is independent and co-educational, with a private endowment of over $18.4 billion, a total annual budget of approximately $3.7 billion, and a workforce of approximately 12,852. Undergraduate enrollment at MIT is approximately 4,530 and graduate enrollment is just over 6,990 students. A distinguished faculty of just over 2,000 instructs both graduate and undergraduate students and engages in research. Ten current members of the MIT faculty have won the Nobel Prize, three have won the Pulitzer Prize, and over 160 are currently members of the three National Academies.

MIT focuses on scientific and technological research and comprises six schools and colleges, with more than 30 academic departments as well as interdepartmental programs, laboratories, and centers. The schools and colleges include: Architecture and Planning; Engineering; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; Science; the Sloan School of Management; and the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing. In addition to world-renowned programs in science and engineering, the Institute is also home to top ranked programs in economics, management, linguistics, philosophy, political science, art, architecture, and city planning.

For more information about MIT: www.mit.edu

THE MIT MUSEUM

The MIT Museum was founded in 1971 with a mission of engaging the wider community with MIT’s science, technology, and other areas of scholarship in ways that would best serve the nation and the world. The Museum fulfills this mission by collecting and preserving objects that are significant in the life of MIT; creating exhibits and programs that are firmly rooted in MIT’s areas of endeavor; and engaging MIT faculty, staff, and students with the wider community. The collections and exhibitions serve as a resource for the study and interpretation of the intellectual, educational, and social history of the Institute and its role in the development of modern science and technology. The MIT Museum has more than 1.5 million objects, prints, rare books, technical archives, drawings, photographs, films, holograms, and more that reveal the wide interests of the MIT community, from the Institute’s founding to the present day.

The Museum’s collections include:

Architecture - Important collections for the study of architectural instruction and practice from America’s first architecture program.

Art - Includes the world’s most comprehensive holography collection, distinctive collections of maritime paintings, paper-folding, kinetic art, and works from the pioneering Center for Advanced Visual Studies.

MIT History - The MIT History Collection tells the social and cultural history of MIT, including student and faculty life as well as MIT’s role in the development of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

Nautical - Among the oldest marine technology archives in the United States, the Francis Russell Hart Nautical Collections document marine design and shipbuilding.

Photography - The museum’s photography collections include works by almost every significant photographer of the 20th century as well as major industrial and academic collections.

Science - Historic artifacts documenting key scientific discoveries as well as instruments and apparatus for teaching, from test tubes to the prototype of the LIGO interferometer.

Technology - Instruments, artifacts, photographs, and related materials that document the history of technology from the mid-19th century to the present, through the lens of MIT.

The MIT Museum welcomes nearly 180,000 visitors annually from across the globe who are eager to experience the dynamic and innovative culture of MIT. Local audiences (people living in the Greater Boston Metropolitan Area) are served mainly through visitation and outreach, while global audiences (other than visitors to the Institute) are served mainly through online services. Every spring since 2007, the MIT Museum hosts the Cambridge Science Festival, the first festival of its kind in the United States. The annual 10-day event draws many tens of thousands of visitors each year and hosts events in scores of venues from Boston to Cape Cod. The Museum works with collaborators across the Institute and far beyond, to celebrate science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics in the community, for the community.

To learn more about the MIT Museum: https://mitmuseum.mit.edu/

Museum Leadership

Since 2005, John Durant has served as the Mark R. Epstein (Class of 1963) Director of the MIT Museum and as a member of the faculty in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. In the 16 years since John took the helm at the MIT Museum, he has led the implementation of multiple ambitious strategic plans for the Museum: he has expanded the current museum to gain much needed street-level visibility, launched the Cambridge Science Festival, and grown Museum attendance from around 50,000 to approximately 180,000 visitors a year.

Prior to MIT, John was the Chief Executive of At-Bristol, an independent science center in the West of England. Earlier still, he was Assistant Director and Head of Science Communication at the Science Museum, London and Professor of Public Understanding of Science at Imperial College, London. John received his BA in Natural Sciences from Queens’ College, Cambridge in 1972 and went on to earn a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science, also at Cambridge, in 1977.

The MIT Museum is supported by a 22-member Board of Advisors who help the Museum carry out its mission by offering advice and support, and by assisting in the development of museum policies and programs. The current chair of the Board is Dr. Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor and Professor of Biology at MIT.

Staff Capacity and Finances

At the heart of the Museum is its workforce—approximately 50 staff members across the departments of collections, research and reference; galleries and exhibitions; engagement and education services; communications; technology; development; administration; and visitor and enterprise services—unmatched in their dedication and professionalism. Several have been at the Museum for decades and represent the Museum’s greatest resource in intellectual energy and institutional memory. The FY20 operating budget for the Museum was $7 million. Annually on average 35 percent comes from MIT, 30 percent from earned revenue, and 28 percent from sponsorships, grants and fundraising, and 7 percent from endowment. The MIT Museum’s endowment is approximately $13 million.

The New MIT Museum

The presence of the Museum at 314 Main Street in Cambridge will provide a bold welcome to the Institute for many visitors from around the world. Located adjacent to the newly renovated Kendall/MIT MBTA subway stop, and directly opposite the relocated MIT Welcome Center and Admissions office, the new MIT Museum will be a vibrant introduction to the Institute, and a new cultural presence in one of the fastest growing innovation districts in the world. The Museum will occupy the first three floors of a 17-floor building, the rest of which is devoted to commercial office space that will soon house large, innovative technology companies such as Boeing and IBM, among others. Google is set to open its new Kendall Square headquarters directly across the street from the Museum in 2022.

Compared to the current museum building in Central Square, the new MIT Museum will showcase more of the Museum’s collections, providing better amenities for hands-on work with collections by researchers, scholars and students, as well as stronger digital infrastructure support, including a new online collections portal. Educational programs will be greatly expanded to include a wider array of workshops for students and teachers, regular evening events for adults, and outdoor activities in Kendall Square’s public spaces. The new museum has significantly more space devoted to public amenities (galleries, programs, etc.), as well as generous circulation spaces, high-ceilinged and purpose-designed galleries, a 100-seat Exchange, a fully equipped maker space, and two flexibly configurable classrooms.

Architectural renderings and floor plans of the new MIT Museum can be found in the appendix.

The Current Moment

The MIT Museum located in Central Square has been closed to the public since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. To facilitate remote work, teams from across all museum departments have utilized technology and pivoted to online collaborations to continue the Museum’s work. The Museum made use of digital channels and tools to extend the museum experience for visitors online, offering video broadcasts, workshops, and a gallery walkthrough, and relied on a variety of tools for these purposes, including Zoom and several social media platforms such as: Twitter Live, Facebook Live, YouTube, and Instagram.

The Museum offered several online programs, ranging from a weekly “maker series” engaging youth and families in making, tinkering, and hands-on engineering activities, to collaborating with colleagues across MIT’s campus to share their work with an international audience. The pivot to virtual engagement allowed the Museum’s education staff to develop and evaluate new methods for bringing MIT’s ethos of hands-on, minds-on learning, and current research and scholarship to its audiences. In addition to its public offerings, the Museum supported over 150 teachers in 25 schools across the U.S. and 85 schools internationally through professional development programs and education initiatives.

In recent years, the Museum began an Initiative on Racial Prejudice and Racism with a goal of increasing staff diversity as well as the diversity of the Advisory Board. The Initiative also supports staff initiatives designed to cultivate greater awareness and understanding about institutional racism, and creates new opportunities for continuing conversation about these subjects in the Museum.

The museum accessioned 37 major gifts and made four deaccessions over the last 18 months. Among the most notable acquisitions are: the collection of oral history interview cassette tapes made by Dr. Clarence Williams for the MIT Black History Project; the digital collection created by Draper Laboratory for the “We Hack the Moon” website; and the photo archives of noted Cambridge photographer Elsa Dorfman.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the MIT Museum is well-positioned for the future. The Museum staff is intact, several important new hires have been made, and it remains on track to launch the new MIT Museum in spring 2022.

Kendall Square

Kendall Square in Cambridge is home to some of the most innovative companies on earth and is central to the life and character of its local community. It has been called "the most innovative square mile on the planet," in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups which have emerged in the vicinity of the square over the last decade. The neighborhood sits on the edge of the Charles River, across from Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, and has about 50,000 people who work in the area daily.

Since 2010, MIT has been working with the broader community to bring new vibrancy and diversity to Kendall Square. High-tech firms are drawn to Kendall Square in large part because of its proximity to MIT, which owns a significant amount of the commercial real estate in the square and has been actively constructing space for new high-tech tenants, as well as rebuilding and renovating its own facilities. In addition to the newly constructed MIT Museum, nearby MIT facilities include the Stata Center, a 720,000 square foot academic complex, and the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as many other buildings on the eastern end of the MIT campus.



Requirements

THE ROLE OF THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR

The Deputy Director will work closely with the Mark R. Epstein (Class of 1963) Director, John Durant, in leading the MIT Museum through the most important change in the museum’s history: the transition to a new headquarters building at 314 Main Street, Cambridge, MA. This new role is designed to serve as the Museum’s second-in-command and will be responsible for driving the strategic execution of the Museum’s mission and vision. The Deputy Director will navigate a changing social, educational, and technological climate, and they will contribute significantly toward positioning the MIT Museum to respond to the evolving role of museums and the need to become more inclusive and accessible for diverse populations.

In this newly created role, the Deputy Director will be responsible for: the financial administration and operations of the Museum, including the development and implementation of an operating financial plan; administrative oversight, including Human Resources; managing the Museum’s finance, visitor services, information technology, communications, and development departments; and representation of the MIT Museum to key stakeholders across the Institute and in the greater community. The ideal candidate will be a leader who promotes integration and coordination across various functional areas and further coalesces, fully mobilizes, and inspires their team. The following positions will report to the Deputy Director: Communications Officer, Development Officer, Director of Technology, Director of Visitor Experience, and Financial Analyst.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

The Deputy Director will be empowered and expected to:

Define and lead achievement of strategic goals throughout the Museum

In close consultation with the Director, the Deputy Director will help create and execute a comprehensive approach to strategic goals that support the vision of the Museum. The strategic approach will bolster the Museum’s financial performance, grow and diversify the Museum’s audience, and continue to increase the Museum’s role both within the Institute and as MIT’s most prominent connection to the community.

Through a data-driven approach, the Deputy Director will define goals and action steps that will be ambitious, measurable, and achievable. The Museum will increase its efficiency in overall decision-making, prioritization, and collaboration across departments, and will track its progress through the support and facilitation of the Deputy Director. The new museum building provides great potential of increased capacity and prominence in a location that must be maximized by intentional planning and a goal-oriented approach.

Carefully steward and strengthen the Museum’s long-term financial sustainability

Building on the Museum’s impressive trajectory, the Deputy Director must successfully manage the Museum’s strong financial position and ensure that all operations are run effectively. Situated within the umbrella of MIT, managing the Museum’s finances requires adept skill in navigation of the greater Institute’s policies and resources in addition to skillful management of general museum operations and practices. The Deputy Director will have strong financial acumen and the ability to create reporting, tracking, and transparency for a culture of sustainability that the staff of the museum can partner in maintaining. The Deputy Director must instill a habit of financial rigor and best practices in museum-wide financial management. Success on the financial front will require growth in audience, increased earned revenue, and continued prudent management of expenses. A business-savvy approach that is grounded in the values and vision of the Museum will be essential.

Build a community that fosters and appreciates diversity, equity, and inclusion

MIT is committed to increasing the diversity of its community and removing barriers to equity, opportunity, and belonging, creating an environment in which all people can do their best work and thrive. The Museum must adhere to these values both internally as a working culture and externally as it engages with the greater public and local community. The Museum will reflect the rich diversity of the MIT community and the surrounding area by positioning itself as a place where diverse audiences are welcomed, respected, celebrated, and engaged. As the strategic driver of goals within the Museum, the Deputy Director will be dedicated to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all decision-making and practices, and mindful of how championing these values is essential to the success of the Museum and the community.

Lead and support a high-performing team

The Deputy Director will be an effective and tireless communicator who recognizes and supports the efforts and accomplishments of others. Internally, the Deputy Director will model a culture of transparency, focus, and unity of purpose; empower the staff to make full use of their strengths and experiences; and ensure organizational cohesion and collaboration. The Museum has a professional and highly knowledgeable corps of employees but is in a time of change and growth as it reopens in a new building. The Deputy Director must have a full understanding of work across the Museum and identify where further investment or reorganization is required to achieve the Museum’s full purpose and impact. A willingness to evaluate, an ability to think strategically and tactically, and a decisive approach will be necessary to facilitate growth in operations.

Engage stakeholders and externally promote the MIT Museum

The Deputy Director will be an ambassador and relationship-builder throughout MIT. Integrating with the Institute both builds connections to support the Museum and promotes appreciation of the broad scope of activities and people across MIT. The Deputy Director will also serve as the second-most prominent representative of the Museum in external relationships with donors and partners in the community. In support of the Director, the Deputy Director will attend meetings, connect with audiences, and develop relationships, including when the Director is not available or when engagements may be more appropriately within the Deputy’s purview. The role requires enthusiasm, diplomacy, and persistence to cultivate and sustain successful relationships.

EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS

The  successful  candidate  will  bring  many  of  the  following  professional  and  personal  experiences, qualifications, and characteristics:

  • Significant senior management experience and the proven ability to lead teams and indirectly manage multiple stakeholder groups, both internal and external;
  • Proficiency in developing and implementing operational plans and strategies to advance the mission and goals of the organization;
  • Significant and tested financial management acumen and the ability to understand complex budgets and contractual agreements;
  • Strong detail orientation with a data-driven approach to strategic decisions;
  • Strong communication skills and the capacity to represent the MIT Museum compellingly to donors, University constituents, and the wider public. The ability to effectively convey the MIT Museum’s key messages both face-to-face and online, both in public meetings and one-to-one;
  • A record of dedication to and success in the advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Ability to model and establish a culture of mutual respect, transparency, and empowerment;
  • A natural affinity for relationship building and broad network engagement; experience working with a variety of constituencies to create and support symbiotic external partnerships;
  • Demonstration of visionary organizational leadership in a museum or comparable organization;
  • Understanding of and/or appreciation for the role of a university museum and its integration with the academic mission of a large private research university;
  • A deep, lived passion for and understanding of science and technology;
  • Openness and flexibility in considering solutions and strategy development;
  • Ability to maintain composure during times of stress. The ability to professionally discuss complex issues with others who have varying perspectives and objectives. Adept at conveying information using language non-technically trained individuals can understand.

INQUIRIES, NOMINATIONS, AND APPLICATIONS

Confidential inquiries, nominations, and resumes with cover letters can be sent electronically to:

Micah Pierce, Managing Associate

Ryan Leichenauer, Senior Associate

Isaacson, Miller, Inc.

www.imsearch.com/8103

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.

Job Information

  • Job ID: 58371747
  • Location:
    Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • Position Title: Deputy Director
  • Company Name: MIT Museum
  • Job Function: Assistant/Deputy/Associate Director
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Job Duration: Indefinite
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