Director - Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Applications for this position are closed.

The Chazen Museum of Art opened in 1970 as the Elvehjem Art Center (named for the president of the university from 1958 to 1962) to further the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s mission of education, research, and public service. In 1978 it became the Elvehjem Museum of Art, and in 2005, in honor of a lead gift for expansion from alumni Simona and Jerome Chazen, was renamed the Chazen Museum of Art. The expansion opened in October 2011, doubling the size of the museum. The new building is joined to the Conrad A. Elvehjem building by a dramatic and functional bridge gallery. 

The Chazen is home to the second-largest collection of art in Wisconsin: more than 20,000 works cover diverse historical periods, cultures, and geographic locations, from ancient Greece, Western Europe, and the Soviet Empire, to Moghul India, eighteenth-century Japan, and modern Africa. The collection continues to grow thanks to artwork donations and purchases. The collection is funded entirely by private money; no public money has ever been used to purchase art.

The museum also presents frequent temporary exhibitions that highlight the collection or are borrowed from other museums, broadening the offerings to visitors. These temporary exhibitions may be local, national or international, contemporary or historical in scope.

As a state educational resource, the Chazen offers tours, talks by artists and scholars, and other educational programs and outreach for schoolchildren, college students, families and art lovers of all ages. Special events include exhibition receptions, Art•Spin family days, Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen, and Sunday Cinematheque at the Chazen. These offerings are free and open to the public.

The total museum size is 176,000 square feet. The Conrad A. Elvehjem building is 90,000 square feet including the Kohler Art Library, classrooms and lecture halls, and the art history department offices. The new building is 86,000 square feet, and includes the Museum Shop, Object Study Room, Print Study Room, Docent’s office, Art Studio Classroom, a state-of-the-art auditorium, and two temporary exhibit galleries. Behind the scenes, the expansion includes extensive storage, preparatory workspace, a 10,000 lb. capacity pass-through freight elevator and a self-leveling loading dock. The expansion was designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates and opened in 2011. The entire $43 million cost of the building project has been met through gifts and grants from private sources.

The Chazen Museum of Art operates with a budget of approximately $3.7 to 4 million exclusive of art acquisition and capital expenses; a full time staff of 17; a part time staff of 27; and a 25 member national Council. Annual visitation is approximately 110,000. The museum has just been re-accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

To learn more about the Chazen Museum of Art please visit their web site:

To learn about the University of Wisconsin-Madison, please visit their web site:


The director will be expected to generate new initiatives, and to infuse the Chazen with vision, energy, and excitement that build on existing strengths. 

The director will explore collaborations on campus in order to develop new approaches in teaching, learning, and content as well as creative applications of technology to advance the museum’s utilization of its collections, and to enhance its exhibitions and programs.

To build audiences and awareness for the Chazen, the director will assure that the museum is innovative, accessible, connected to, and engaged with the UW-Madison community and external constituencies locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. 

The director, in partnership with the University Foundation and the museum’s Council, will lead the effort to develop new sources of funding and revenue.  An immediate priority is staff development.


The director of the Chazen Museum of Art is responsible for the 176,000 square foot art museum whose collections comprise approximately 20,000 works of art.  The staff of the Chazen Museum of Art serves the campus community and represents the university to the people of the State of Wisconsin, the region and beyond as well as the scholarly community at large. The director provides conceptual leadership through specialized knowledge of the discipline of the museum and is responsible for overall leadership, growth, and management of the museum, which is an integral part of the university..  The Chazen Art Museum cultivates an active education program and, in support of the university’s commitment to the strongest academic experience for its students, the director must collaborate with faculty in the art and art history departments and other departments across the university to serve the curricular needs of UW-Madison students. The director shapes the vision and future directions of the museum and is the guiding force in its philosophy, strategic planning, programming, and management.  The director reports directly to the Provost of the university.


Specifically, the director is responsible for supervising and/or participating in the following activities:

Oversees policies and procedures and all associated professional practices related to acquisitions, deaccessioning, preservation, conservation, research, loans, interpretation and exhibition of the collections.

As the Chazen is a central educational resource of the University of Wisconsin-Madison,  the director should actively engage and collaborate with departments and units on campus.  Engagement with the broader community is also essential.

Represents the museum and its collections, exhibitions, and programs to the university community, general public, the donor/collector population, appropriate government agencies, professional organizations, and the national and international arts community.

Advocates and acts as spokesperson for the museum.

Works effectively with the Chazen Advisory Council and chairs the museum’s Accessions Committee.

Develops and maintains rapport, cooperation, and a productive working relationship with the faculty, administration, and students of the university.

Cultivates resources for funding of the museum’s operations, exhibitions, programs, facilities and collection development. Works closely with the University of Wisconsin Foundation to develop relationships with current and prospective donors.

Responsible for the financial strength of the organization, including the development of various funding sources, as well as analyzing and encouraging efficient operations.

Manages the museum staff; serves as the key leader and motivator of the staff and additional volunteers including docents and students in meeting the goals of the institution.

Oversees and assures a consistently high level of quality in all activities of the museum, including exhibitions, acquisitions, cataloging, deaccessioning, preservation, research, interpretation, and presentation.

Oversees all museum business activities, including budgeting, financial management, marketing, and building operations.

Develops and implements short- and long-range plans for the efficient management of the museum, assuring a consistent direction toward achievement of vision and mission.


Creativity is required for the conceptualization and organization of museum programs, as in the case of fostering innovative exhibitions, accompanying publications, fundraising initiatives, and outreach.  Because the director serves as spokesperson for the institution to the press, to funding agencies, and to the scholarly world at large, original thinking and clarity of expression are essential.

An appreciation for and a significant knowledge of visual art with an understanding of most periods and cultures of art history.  Understanding of and competency in academic scholarship.  At least five years of senior administrative experience within an art museum and/or related organization. 

Demonstrated experience with professional practices in museums and significant experience in staff management.  Demonstrated experience with major gift fundraising and collection development.  A high level of qualitative and quantitative skills and the ability to apply them to policy development and decision making.  Demonstrated experience with museum business operations, including budgeting, financial management, and marketing.

Ability to work within university priorities, policies and structure.

Ability to work with individuals and diverse constituent groups to resolve differences and develop constructive consensus.  The director must simultaneously manage and motivate a professional staff, successfully attract substantial community support, and sustain a high level of quality and scholarship.  Short- and long-range planning related to budgets, the physical plant, the collections, exhibitions, academic service, educational programming, and the development of funding for all of these are an on-going responsibility of the director.

An advanced degree in art or art history or another appropriate academic discipline is preferred.


The position will offer a competitive salary and benefit package.


Summer 2017


April 29th, 2017


For questions regarding this position, please contact Linda Sweet or Diane Frankel of Management Consultants for the Arts, the executive search firm working with the Chazen Museum of Art and the University of Wisconsin, via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To apply for this position, please click here: 

The University application requires a resume and cover letter outlining relevant qualifications and experience.

The University of Wisconsin is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.>

Last modified on Monday, 05 June 2017 08:22