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Job Listing: Director of Museums

Job Postings ,

Portsmouth Museums - Portsmouth, VA

Closes - 8/23/2021 11:59 PM ET

Position Title – Director of Museums

Salary - $74,997.07-$112,564.35/Annually

Job Type - Full-Time

To learn more and apply, click here


Under limited supervision, this position provides development and leadership for the strategic vision and establishment of initiatives for the Department of Museums to include collections, exhibitions, educational programming, events, fundraising, community outreach and the visitor experience to fulfill the missions of the City of Portsmouth’s five museums: (Children’s Museum of Virginia, Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum and the Lightship PORTSMOUTH Museum).  Reports to the Deputy City Manager.



Provides effective strategic leadership and vision for the future of Department of Museums by establishing initiatives for the creation and achievement of annual, short, and long range plans partnering with all stakeholders, including the Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission, the Portsmouth Museums Foundation, and City of Portsmouth leadership and management.

Responsible for overall management and supervision of all department administration, to include; budgeting, collection management, community outreach, development, education, events, exhibitions, fiscal, fundraising, grants, marketing, operations, policy, public relations, programming, purchasing, research, revenue, staffing, visitor experience, and volunteers. 

Responsible for preparing and monitoring the annual budget to ensure cost effectiveness; ensures purchasing and financial transactions are properly conducted in accordance with city administrative policies and procedures; researches, coordinates and administers grant proposals for available government and private funding, maintains records and prepares reports for submission as required by funding authorities; meets with monitors to review progress of program and maintains files of grant sources and supporting data.

Develops proposals and reports as requested by City Manager and Portsmouth City Council; responsible for coordinating with City Manager planning related items for placement on agendas and work sessions; contracts, bids, accounts payable, purchasing, general ledger monitoring, audits ensures reports, studies, and plans are appropriately processed in accordance with federal, state and city laws and ordinances.

Provides oversight and delegation over the city’s museums and ensures the current and anticipated needs of the city are being met; anticipates municipal growth and develops tactics to render services; projects current and future needs, and manpower and staffing requirements for; provides input to the City Manager; and ensures the availability of resources so that departmental objectives are accomplished in a cost-effective manner.

Oversees the coordination, development, and growth of community activities to promote the goals, missions, and public image of the Department of Museums through educational programming, events, and public speaking.  Utilizes effective and strategic traditional and non- traditional advertising sources including print media, social media, radio, television, websites, events and programs, to market all activities within the Department of Museums.

Serves on federal, state and local committees relating to library issues; plans, implements and monitors all capital improvements to museum buildings; gathers and analyzes data to ensure the needs and expectations of city residents with regards to museum services are being met; establishes, reviews and updates departmental procedures and standards for work; develops departmental plans and goals.

Performs other related work as required.  Individual assignments will be determined by supervisor based on current workload and department needs.



Knowledge of Job: Thorough knowledge of Museum policies and procedures; applicable regulations related to the Museum operations; quality management techniques; modern leadership, motivation, administration and management techniques; general knowledge of budget development as well as routine office management function. Has considerable knowledge of the principles of supervision, organization and administration. Has general knowledge of the principles, methods, and techniques of public administration. Has general knowledge of the literature, trends and developments in the field of museums. Is able to plan, direct and coordinate the work of subordinate employees. Is able to use common office machines. Is able to compile technical information from a variety of sources and prepare clear and concise reports. Is able to exercise considerable initiative and independent judgment in analyzing and applying standards to a variety of situations. Is able to establish and maintain effective working relationships as necessitated by work assignments.

Quality of Work: Maintains high standards of accuracy in exercising duties and responsibilities. Exercises immediate remedial action to correct any quality deficiencies that occur in areas of responsibility. Maintains high quality communication and interacts with all departments and levels of government, co-workers, elected officials and the general public.

Quantity of Work: Maintains effective and efficient output of all duties and responsibilities as described under “Essential Job Functions”.

Dependability: Assumes responsibility for doing assigned work and meeting deadlines. Completes assigned work on or before deadlines in accordance with directives, city policy, standards and prescribed procedures. Accepts accountability for meeting assigned responsibilities in the technical, human and conceptual areas.

Attendance: Attends work regularly and adheres to city policies and procedures regarding absences and tardiness. Provides adequate notice to higher management with respect to vacation time and time-off requests.

Initiative and Enthusiasm: Maintains an enthusiastic, self-reliant and self-starting approach to meet job responsibilities and accountabilities. Strives to anticipate work to be done and initiates proper and acceptable direction for completion of work with a minimum of supervision and instruction.

Judgment: Exercises analytical judgment in areas of responsibility. Identifies problems or situations as they occur and specifies decision objectives. Identifies or assists in identifying alternative solutions to problems or situations. Implements decisions in accordance with prescribed and effective policies and procedures and with a minimum of errors. Researches problems, situations and alternatives before exercising judgment. Seeks expert or experienced advice when necessary.

Cooperation: Accepts direction from Board of Directors and strives to meet the goals and objectives of same. Questions such instruction and direction when clarification of results or consequences is justified i.e., poor communications, variance with policy or procedures, etc. Offers suggestions and recommendations to encourage and improve cooperation between all staff persons within the department.

Relationships with Others: Shares knowledge with supervisors and staff for mutual and departmental benefit. Contributes to maintaining high morale among all department employees. Develops and maintains cooperative and courteous relationships with department employees and managers in other departments, to project a good departmental image. Tactfully and effectively handles requests, suggestions and complaints from other departments and persons in order to maintain good will within the city. Emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive image within the city. Interacts effectively with fellow employees, Board of Directors, professionals, elected officials, all levels of government and the general public.

Coordination of Work: Plans and organizes daily work routine. Establishes priorities for the completion of work in accordance with sound time-management methodology. Avoids duplication of effort. Estimates expected time of completion of elements of work and establish a personal schedule accordingly. Attends meetings, planning sessions and discussions of time. Implements work activity in accordance with priorities and estimated schedules. Maintains a calendar for meetings and deadlines.

Safety and Housekeeping: Adheres to all safety and housekeeping standards established by the city and various regulatory agencies. Sees that the standards are not violated. Maintains a clean and orderly work place.

Planning: Plans, directs and uses information effectively in order to enhance activities and production of the department. Knows and understands the expectations of the city regarding the activities of the department and works to see that these expectations are met. Designs and formulates ways, means and timing to achieve the goals and objectives of the department and the city. Within the constraints of city policy, formulates the appropriate strategy and tactics for achieving departmental and city objectives. Organizes, arranges and allocates manpower, financial and other designated resources in an efficient and effective way so as to achieve the goals and objectives of the department and city.

Organizing: Organizes work and that of subordinate staff well. Ensures that staff members know what results are expected of them and that they are regularly and appropriately informed of all city and department matters affecting them and/or concern to them.

Staffing: Works with other city officials and management to select and recommend employment of personnel for the department who are qualified both technically and philosophically to meet the needs of the department and city. Personally directs the development and training of department personnel in order to ensure that they are properly inducted, oriented and trained.

Leading: Provides a work environment that encourages clear and open communications. Have a clear and comprehensive understanding of the principles of effective leadership and how such principles are to be applied. Provides adequate feedback to staff so that they know whether their performance levels are satisfactory. Commends and rewards employees for outstanding performance yet does not hesitate to take disciplinary action when necessary. Exercises enthusiasm in influencing and guiding others toward the achievement of city goals and objectives.

Controlling: Provides a work environment that is orderly and controlled. Coordinates, audits and controls manpower and financial resources efficiently and effectively. Coordinates, audits and controls the utilization of materials and equipment efficiently and effectively. Has a clear and comprehensive understanding of city and Department standards, methods and procedures.

Delegating: Assigns additional duties to staff as necessary and/or appropriate in order to meet department goals, enhance staff abilities, build confidence on the job and assist staff members in personal growth. Has confidence in staff to meet new or additional expectations.

Decision-Making: Uses discretion and judgment in developing and implementing courses of action affecting the department. When a particular policy, procedure or strategy does not appear to be achieving the desired result, moves decisively and definitively to develop and implement alternatives.

Creativity: Regularly seeks new and improved methodologies, policies and procedures for enhancing the effectiveness of the department and city. Employs imagination and creativity in the application of duties and responsibilities. Is not adverse to change.

Human Relations: Strives to develop and maintain good rapport with all staff members. Listens to and considers suggestions and complaints and responds appropriately. Maintains the respect and loyalty of staff.

Policy Implementation: Has a clear and comprehensive understanding of city policies regarding the department and city function. Adheres to those policies in the discharge of duties and responsibilities and ensures the same from subordinate staff.

Policy Formulation: Keeps abreast of changes in operating philosophies and policies of the city and continually reviews department policies in order to ensure that any changes in city philosophy or practice are appropriately incorporated. Also understands the relationship between operating policies and practices and department morale and performance. Works to see that established policies enhance same. Writes and approves policies and procedures for existing and new programs.


Preference will be given to Master’s Degree in Art History, History, Museum Administration, or a related field and 5-7 years of progressively responsible experience in a Children’s Museum, History Museum, Art Center, or other art, cultural, or history non-profit related organization focusing on cultural arts, history, or early childhood education/administration to include 5-7 years in a supervisory role; or a related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience.


An acceptable general background check to include a local and state criminal history check and sex offender registry check.

Individuals in this position cannot be listed as having a founded child abuse or neglect complaint.

Must be able to work a schedule that includes nights, holidays and weekends.



Physical Requirements: Must be physically able to operate a variety of automated office machines which include computer, adding machine, calculators, copiers, facsimile machines, telephones, etc. Must be able to exert up to 20 pounds of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull or otherwise move objects.

Data Conception: Requires the ability to compare and/or judge the readily observable, functional, structural, or compositional characteristics (whether similar to or divergent from obvious standards) of data, people or things.

Interpersonal Communications: Requires the ability of speaking and/or signaling people to convey or exchange information. Includes giving instructions, assignments and/or directions to subordinates or assistants.

Language Ability: Requires the ability to read a variety of correspondence, reports, records, forms, statistical summaries, policy manuals, etc. Requires the ability to prepare reports, correspondence, records, forms, etc., using prescribed formats and conforming to all rules of punctuation, grammar, diction, and style. Requires the ability to speak before groups of people with poise, voice control and confidence.

Intelligence: Requires the ability to apply principles of logical or scientific thinking to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions; to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in mathematical or diagrammatical form; deal with several abstract and concrete variables.

Verbal Aptitude: Requires the ability to record and deliver information, to explain procedures, to follow oral and written instructions. Must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently.

Numerical Aptitude: Requires the ability to utilize mathematical formulas, to add and subtract, multiply and divide. Must be able to utilize decimals and percentages; interpret graphs.

Form/Spatial Aptitude: Requires the ability to inspect items for proper length, width and shape.

Motor Coordination: Requires the ability to coordinate hands and eyes rapidly and accurately in using automated office equipment.

Manual Dexterity: Requires the ability to handle a variety of items, office equipment, control knobs, switches, etc. Must have minimal levels of eye/hand/foot coordination.

Color Discrimination: Requires the ability to differentiate between colors and shades of color.

Interpersonal Temperament: Requires the ability to deal with people beyond giving and receiving instructions. Must be adaptable to performing under minimal levels of stress when confronted with persons acting under stress.

Physical Communication: Requires the ability to talk and/or hear: (talking - expressing or exchanging ideas by means of spoken words; hearing - perceiving nature of sounds by ear).



The City of Portsmouth is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  ADA requires the City to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.  Prospective and current employees are invited to discuss accommodations.

This is a class description and not an individual position description.     A class specification defines the general character and scope of duties and responsibilities of all positions in a job classification, but is not intended to describe and does not necessarily list the essential job functions for a given position in a classification.

FLSA Status: Exempt

EEO Cat: 1