President & CEO - Staten Island Museum, Staten Island, NY

The Staten Island Museum (SIM), New York City’s only general interest museum, engages visitors with interdisciplinary exhibitions and educational programs that explore the dynamic connections between natural science, history, and fine art. The Museum is dedicated to making its special exhibitions and diverse collections broadly accessible by providing authentic experiences at the Museum, in the Staten Island community, and beyond.

The Museum seeks qualified candidates for the position of President & Chief Executive Officer to lead the Museum’s next phase of institutional growth. Following the opening of a new home in 2015, the SIM needs a seasoned and gifted manager with a track record of executing projects of scale while successfully directing ongoing operations. With an annual operating budget of $2.3 million and a talented and dedicated full-time staff of 15, the President & CEO will work with the Museum’s leadership, staff, and stakeholders to implement the design and renovation of a second, adjacent building, and to create a long-term strategic vision focused on audience development.



Founded in 1881 as the Natural Science Association of Staten Island by a private society of local naturalists and antiquarians who pooled their personal collections to create a public museum, the Museum continues to focus on environmental protection as part of its ongoing programmatic initiatives. In the first decade of the twentieth century, the Museum developed collaborations with the Audubon Society, organized its art collections and, in 1918, incorporated the Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences to reflect a broader mission which has grown to include the research, documentation, and presentation of local history. As the oldest cultural organization on Staten Island, the Museum has been instrumental in the founding of other important institutions in the area, including the New York Botanical Garden, the Staten Island Zoo, and the Staten Island Historical Society. Today, the Museum is an essential part of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden campus joining other cultural attractions.


The Museum is based on the 19th century model of creating a public resource for the education of its community. Holdings are organized into three main collections: natural sciences, history, and fine art. These areas of collection focus, along with the Museum’s archives and library, encompass an encyclopedic range of materials that foster the public education of the people of Staten Island. Highlights include: 

• Natural Sciences: The Museum houses a 150-year comprehensive record of the changing biodiversity of the New York metro area, including specimens of birds and mammals, a collection of fish, amphibians and reptiles preserved in alcohol, 500,000 mounted insects, and 25,000 plants preserved in the herbarium.

• History: The Museum has over half a million items in the local History Collection, including authentic land grants with the wax seals of King Charles II and King William III as well as a 1776 military document signed by William Howe, Commander in Chief of the British Armies.

• Fine Art: The Museum’s art collection ranges from ancient Egyptian sculpture and Renaissance paintings to Hudson River School landscapes and 21st century abstract art, photography and new media. Among the holdings are 19th-20th-century paintings featuring Staten Island and New York Harbor, fine portraits from the same period, and works by local contemporary artists.  In addition, the Museum has Old Master prints, historic costumes, African sculptures and masks, Greek and Roman antiquities, Asian art, Pre-Columbian ceramics, ancient and modern Native American artifacts, and English and American silver.


The Museum is currently operating at three locations. The original building, the Staten Island Museum in St. George (1918) is conveniently located just two blocks from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Less than 2 miles down the road on the historic grounds of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is the Staten Island Museum History Center & Archives (Building H, 2009), and directly adjacent is the flagship location, the Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor (Building A, 2015). Snug Harbor is an 83-acre campus situated on parkland that is home to several cultural agencies in a unique cluster of 19th century Greek Revival buildings. Since the completion of the $24.4 million New York City funded renovation of an 1879 dormitory for retired sailors into a state-of-the-art museum, the Museum is embarking on the renovation and restoration of Building B with $7 million toward the $15 million construction project committed from the City of New York. Seen in the light of the current renaissance of Staten Island’s North Shore, this will further advance Snug Harbor as a cultural destination. 


The Museum serves all of Staten Island (500,000 residents) and the Metropolitan region.  The immediate neighborhood is an ethnically and racially diverse community that is home to low and moderate income residents. 40,000 visitors (including 15,000 school children) annually enjoy exhibits and public programs at the Museum, with an additional 100,000 served through outreach and exhibit loans.

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General Management & Fundraising:

• Promote a culture of excellence and flawless execution in all museum activities and at all levels within the institution; 

• Mentor and manage a talented staff; promote a culture that rewards initiative, accountability and collaboration;

• Lead all fundraising and cultivation activities; work with the Board and VP of External Affairs & Advancement in order to determine short and long-term development needs in the context of the Museum’s strategic goals; proactively expand the Museum’s reach in order to cultivate new corporate, institutional and individual supporters;

• Work closely with elected officials at the Federal, State and City level including agencies of the City of New York such as Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the Office of the Staten Island Borough President;

• Ensure completion of capital projects on schedule, on budget and with the requisite standards of quality; 

• Oversee the organization’s budgeting and financial controls, operating within a balanced budget;

• Provide outstanding stewardship of the Staten Island Museum’s collections of art, natural science and local history and continue to enhance the standards for exhibitions and public programs; 

Program Leadership:

• Work with the Board of Trustees, staff and constituents in developing a new 5-year Strategic Plan;

• Serve as a thought leader and advocate for the arts, environment, and local history, the Staten Island Museum and Staten Island at home and in the field;

• Oversee the development and implementation of a new exhibition and program schedule to attract visitors working closely with the Museum’s VP of Exhibitions & Programs;

• Ensure evaluation of the Museum’s public and education programs leading to the integration of exhibition and education objectives; foster new ideas internally as well as through collaborations with relevant cultural institutions and other partners; 

• Embrace technology to aid the Museum in capturing new audiences;

• Oversee completion of design and plan for future renovation of Building B, including relocating science, library, history collections and archives.  

Board Relations and Governance:

• Forge strong working relationship with the Board and its leadership; understand its members’ strengths and bring forth their best ideas, efforts, resources and contacts;

• Foster open communication with the Board, as well as responsiveness to issues affecting the strategic direction and operating health of the museum;

• Encourage all Board members to participate actively; work to ensure an effective committee structure and find ways to appropriately engage board members; help to identify and cultivate new trustees whose talents, interests and commitment will further the Museum’s mission and expand support;

Communications and Marketing:

• Develop new ways to promote the Museum’s activities to its member base and increase its appeal to potential new members.  

• Develop innovative fundraising activities and promotional events;

• Aggressively advance and broaden the Staten Island Museum’s educational and community outreach; continue to encourage technological advances and creative initiatives that will appeal to new audiences;

• Provide inspirational community leadership to enhance the visibility of the Staten Island Museum as an important cultural, economic and civic resource, and to bring the pleasure and meaning of its offerings to the widest possible audience; explore opportunities to establish and enhance partnerships;

• Improve communications and transparency among staff and leadership to foster greater collaboration; practice an inclusive approach to outreach that values and engages key stakeholders and volunteers.


The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications and experience as well as characteristics:

• The President & CEO must have an enthusiasm for the Museum’s diverse collections as well as an ability to convey excitement about its value to all, from scholars to the general public.

• A cultural leader and advocate for Staten Island, the President & CEO must demonstrate the ability and passion to energize the community in support of the Museum, its upcoming building project and its attendant capital campaign.  

• A diplomat who can build consensus, generate enthusiasm and manage change; a persuasive advocate on behalf of the importance of natural history, science and art who is able to connect with a broad spectrum of people in a meaningful way. 

• A strategist who is able to collaborate successfully; open-minded and consultative, one who listens well, can bend when necessary, and yet be firm and decisive. 

• A problem solver with an understanding of the subtleties of motivating, directing and working with a group of diverse personalities, as well as the abilities to delegate, handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities.

• An individual who acts from a belief in, or first-hand experience with, the importance of diversity and broad accessibility to the success of a public institution.

 An advanced degree in a field related to the Museum's collections and management.

• 5 to 10 years of experience in senior management, including budget and staff leadership responsibilities, at a similar arts organization. 



Applicants should submit a resume, a one-page narrative describing interest and experience, and the names of three references. Applications will be reviewed by Management Consultants for the Arts, an executive search firm working with the Museum’s Board and Search Committee.  Suggestions of candidates are welcome. 

Send resume and accompanying materials to:

Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
Attn: Bill Appleton

Email only:     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject line:    Staten Island Museum

The Staten Island Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 January 2017 10:59