The Yakima Valley Museum (YVM) is the only comprehensive collecting institution in South Central Washington with a focus on material culture and fine arts. The museum preserves and interprets the history of the people, cultures, and commerce of the Yakima Valley as well as the natural history and fine arts of the region. Through its exhibitions, programs, interactive children’s space, and Sundquist Research Library and Archives, the YVM creates a conversation with visitors and community members on issues such as cultural diversity in the Yakima Valley, stewardship of the land and natural resources, and the balance between honoring traditions and adapting to a changing world.
Founded in 1951, the YVM was singled out as one of 10 great museums with hidden treasures by USA Today in 2014. The museum’s exhibits include the spectacular Neon Garden, a collection of neon advertising art from the Yakima Valley's past. Orchard equipment and related agricultural objects trace the history of agriculture in the Yakima Valley, from the earliest irrigated gardens planted by the Yakama Indians to the modern tree fruit and produce industry that has made the Yakima Valley the "Fruit Bowl of the Nation." The YVM has a collection of more than 3,000 different apple box labels, many of them extremely rare, and a large collection of period clothing dating from 1800 to the present.
The YVM also has an extensive and noteworthy collection of Native American art, crafts, and artifacts, focusing especially on the tribes and bands of the Yakama Nation and neighboring cultures of the plateau region. The exhibit Land of Joy and Sorrow: Japanese Pioneers of the Yakima Valley tells the story of the Japanese families who settled in the Yakima Valley, including their forced relocation to Heart Mountain, Wyoming during World War II. A recent permanent exhibition is Miocene Forest, featuring 15-million-year-old trees unearthed from a ridge in the Yakima Valley and reconstructed inside the museum. Yakima artist Tom Chet Hausken is the museum's 2016-17 artist-in-residence. An exhibit of his new work runs February through August 2017.
Located in Yakima’s Franklin Park, the YVM hosts live performances under the Neon Garden in the Great Hall, Old Movies on the Big Screen, and lunchtime lectures. Educational programs include school class tours, summer programs for youth, hands-on activities that complement the museum’s core exhibits, and a library of teacher resource materials. The 65,000-square-foot building also houses the Museum Soda Fountain, a 60-year-old working exhibit where visitors can enjoy ice cream treats and other favorites, a well-stocked museum gift shop, and a large ballroom for business meetings, seminars, and other special events.
With an annual operating budget of approximately $600,000, endowment net assets of more than $4 million, a staff of 5.5 full-time equivalent employees, and many volunteers, the YVM is governed by an engaged and committed 20-member board of trustees and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. John Baule is the YVM’s Director Emeritus. The museum recently completed a project to provide dedicated storage to safely house the museum’s growing art collection. Anticipated future initiatives include strategic planning, the completion of an exhibit on the historical and contemporary domestic lifeways of the Yakama people, and exploration of the feasibility of a new children’s museum expansion.
Yakima has been the cultural, business, educational, health services, and governmental focal point of the Central Washington region since it was founded more than 125 years ago. Just 140 miles from Seattle, Yakima is the largest city in Yakima County, which has a population nearly 250,000. The county is one of the most diverse in the state of Washington. Forty-eight percent of its population is Latino – much higher than Washington State’s 12 percent. Yakima County’s Native American population is 6 percent, compared to 2 percent statewide.
Ranked number one in the country for the production of apples, hops, and mint, Yakima County produces more than $1.2 billion of agricultural products annually, making it the 12th largest farming area in the nation. The region’s agricultural base is complemented by significant economic activity in warehousing, processing, and manufacturing. Professional business, education, and health care services combine for 18 percent of the valley’s economy.
The Yakima Valley’s cost of living is among the most favorable of any urban area in the Pacific Northwest. Business Insider recently picked Yakima as one of its top 15 housing markets in the country over the next five years. There are numerous K-12 educational opportunities with a diverse offering of public and private schools. Yakima County also offers a complete range of higher education resources, including a major community college, a private university, satellite campuses for two state universities, a new medical university, and a nationally recognized private technical institute
In addition to the YVM, cultural organizations include the Capitol Theatre, Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Yakima Area Arboretum, and Larson Gallery. World-class wineries and wine-related events make the region a food and wine destination. Mount Rainier National Park, one of Washington State’s treasures, abuts Yakima County, and there are ample opportunities to hike, ski, paddle, fish, hunt, and enjoy other outdoor recreational activities throughout the region.
Sources: ycda.com; Washington State Employment Security Department Yakima County Profile September 2016
The Executive Director (ED) of the YVM must be a strategic and practical leader. As the face of the organization, the ED will further elevate the museum as a major cultural and educational resource and tourist destination for the Yakima Valley and Central Washington. Reporting to the board of trustees, the ED will have day-to-day oversight of all museum operations, using widely-held museum best practices in the care and stewardship of collections and in all matters related to board governance and financial management. The ED will also maintain a high professional profile in the community and personally cultivate financial resources while educating, engaging, and energizing the board of trustees in its role as fundraisers, policymakers, and community ambassadors. This individual will build a culture of teamwork, open communication, learning, and community impact and will show respect for and commitment to the history, culture, diversity, and traditions of the Yakima Valley as well as its future.
Roles & Responsibilities
Leadership, Outreach, and Community Relations
The ED will create new opportunities for learning and collaboration that further the mission, programs, and impact of the YVM and act as its primary spokesperson along with the Board President, enhancing the organization’s reputation as an active and relevant regional cultural asset.
- Cultivate and secure appropriate strategic partnerships throughout the community to embrace the diverse needs of the Yakima Valley populace and advance the educational impact of the YVM programs, outreach, and museum activities.
- Communicate and advocate the work and mission of the organization to the public in a manner that enhances its reputation and standing locally and regionally.
- Develop and maintain good relations with civic leaders throughout the region, other arts and cultural organizations, community service organizations, and the media.
The ED will take a leadership role in all fund development programs and identify appropriate funding opportunities from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies with the board of trustees and staff.
- Develop strategies and define how key messages will be delivered to various individuals and institutions to maximize the YVM’s visibility, brand, relevancy, and earned and contributed revenues.
- Lead staff and board in development activities, maintain strong relationships with the funding community, and develop the most effective donor stewardship and cultivation methods with the board and staff.
- Develop marketing, communication, and public relations programs, including social media platforms, with the board and staff that achieve earned income goals from memberships, special programs, events, and rentals while enhancing the YVM’s visibility, value, and reputation in the community.
Collections Stewardship, Exhibition, and Program Planning
The ED will ensure the sound and responsible management of the collection, library, and archive, including legal, social, and ethical obligations to provide proper care. In collaboration with the curators, the ED will develop a coordinated exhibition and program schedule that maximizes use of the YVM’s collection and resources in order to advance its mission.
- Support the development, management, and care of the permanent collection.
- Seek opportunities to strengthen connections and partnerships with other arts and culture organizations in support of the programs, collections, and exhibitions.
- Identify and develop external exhibitions that support the museum’s mission and program goals.
Operational and Strategic Planning
The ED will oversee and drive short-term operational and long-range strategic planning and implementation processes, including the effective management of the organization’s human capital and financial resources.
- Conceptualize, implement, and monitor a long-range strategic and facility development vision and plan in coordination with the board and staff.
- Consult and strategize with the board and staff regarding annual programming, educational, and outreach plans and appropriate budgets.
- Develop and foster an internal culture that maintains the highest standards for customer service, excellence of visitor experience, and fiscal, operational, and organizational integrity.
- Direct administrative personnel to ensure an effective, collaborative team that understands accountabilities and achieves goals. Ensure that the museum meets all legal and ethical obligations to its staff and volunteers.
- Develop a strategy to effectively mobilize and utilize volunteers in support of the YVM and its programs.
Governance and Financial Management
The ED will provide support to best utilize the talents and resources of the board and work closely with board members to ensure strong fiscal health and organizational governance.
- Maintain fiscal responsibility for the overall budget and ensure the most effective use of resources.
- Manage cash flow and regularly present appropriate balance sheets, income statements, and other financial oversight tools for board review.
- Initiate and maintain effective communication with and between board members, staff, and volunteers.
- Partner with the board in prospect identification, cultivation, recruitment, and orientation of new board members.
- Develop, educate, and engage board members to maximize their effectiveness.
- Acknowledge and celebrate the collective and individual successes of the board and its members, recognizing their contribution of time and resources as community ambassadors.
- Assist board committees in developing and implementing their goals and objectives for the museum.
Traits & Characteristics
The successful candidate will bring a balance of professional expertise and credibility, interpersonal skills, and commitment to internal and external stakeholder satisfaction, with a strong capacity for self-management and the highest levels of personal accountability and integrity. This individual will be an intellectually curious, diplomatic, and assertive professional and hands-on manager with a proven track record of success.
Other key competencies include the following:
- People Oriented – Successfully works with a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds to achieve win-win outcomes.
- Planning and Organizing – Sets relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and prioritizes activities to meet those goals and objectives. Anticipates effects, outcomes, and risks and manages resources according to priorities.
- Conceptual Thinking – Demonstrates the ability to forecast long-range outcomes and develop business strategies. Identifies, evaluates, and communicates potential impacts of hypothetical situations.
The ED should have demonstrated skills in all aspects of nonprofit management, an understanding of and passion for regional museums, and at least three to five years of senior management experience with increasing levels of responsibility. A bachelor’s degree is required and an advanced degree is preferred. The position requires excellent knowledge of and ability in fundraising, marketing, audience development, and museum operations as well as proficiency with standard computer software and electronic communication tools. Experience with direct stewardship of boards of trustees is preferred.
Compensation & Benefits
The YVM provides competitive compensation for an organization its size and a standard benefits package, including health insurance and paid time off and holidays, as well as the quality of life offered by the beautiful Yakima Valley.
Applications & Inquiries
Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:
Ms. Rebekah Lambert
Vice President, Arts Consulting Group
818 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 236
Portland, OR 97204-2405
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 207
Fax (888) 284.6651
Yakima Valley Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer.