Position: Executive Director of Yakima Valley Museum (AAM Accredited)
Yakima Valley Museum seeks a charismatic, imaginative, and collaborative leader to become the next Museum Executive Director.
Purpose/Function of the Position: The Yakima Valley Museum seeks an Executive Director to lead a dynamic museum of history and culture in a valley rich in diversity and layered with stories. The successful candidate will be a persuasive, resourceful, and energetic leader, able to inspire and empower the Board, staff, and other key internal and external stakeholders to advance the mission of the museum, which is “to inspire our community, learn from our past, celebrate our present, and guide our future.” That person will be responsible for the overall vision and financial and operational leadership of the organization, including actively supporting fundraising initiatives and efforts to build donor relationships. Demonstrated financial acumen, strong analytical abilities, and experience with strategic planning and developing a visionary path for an organization are also crucial to long-term success. The museum seeks a highly credible, proactive, dynamic, creative, and dedicated leader to provide innovative leadership.
Description of Yakima Valley Museum:
The Yakima Valley Museum is fully accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is located in Yakima, in south-central Washington, in the shadow of the Cascade mountains, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams. A diverse group of over 250,000 people live in the Yakima Valley in eleven small communities including the City of Yakima which has the bulk of the population. Yakima has a vibrant arts community, a full symphony orchestra, and the historic 1500-seat Capitol Theatre. It is also home to the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Heritage University on the Yakama Reservation, Yakima Valley College, and Perry Technical Institute. The Yakima Valley is one of the richest agricultural regions in the country, providing a high percentage of the nation’s apples, pears, cherries, hops, and mint, and it is home to many of Washington’s 900 wineries.
The museum was founded in 1952 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN: 91-0828572). Today, the museum provides residents and visitors with high-quality, engaging, accurate, and educational exhibits and programs on central Washington’s cultural and natural history. The museum is financially strong and the physical building is in excellent condition. It is situated on the edge of a large city park in Yakima. It has a sophisticated behind-the-scenes infrastructure, including a fully-equipped commercial kitchen, banquet room, complete banquet equipment, handicap accessible bathrooms, elevators, state-of-the-art security, high-end projection equipment, 32 square foot LED marquee sign, and collection storage with movable stacks. It also houses a large regional archive and library along with an art collection. In all, the facility consists of 65,000 sq feet on two floors.
Current exhibits contain hands-on exhibit techniques to continue to draw youth, and include the story of the apple industry from its origins to the ultra-sophisticated industry it is today. The exhibit includes numerous modern interactive techniques and incorporates text in both Spanish and English. The museum’s newest exhibit, ‘Let’s Take the Sporting Route,’ documents the history of mountaineering in the Cascades. Couture II is a collection of international award-winning gowns by a local designer. The Neon Garden is a collection of more than a dozen working neon signs from the area. The Land of Joy and Sorrow is an exhibit about the Japanese experience in the Yakima Valley. An Apple Label exhibit features a searchable database that contains all 8,000 labels in the collection—one of the largest collections in the country. A significant exhibit of Yakama Nation artifacts showcases part of our extensive Native American collection.
Finally, the museum is also a major repository of the personal belongings of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, including a permanent exhibit of the contents of his supreme court office. In 2022, the museum held its first William O. Douglas Award Banquet to honor his legacy by recognizing a person who has carried on the values he espoused. The Honorable Sally Jewell, former Secretary of the Interior, was the first recipient. Building on this success, the museum anticipates several major new projects based on the legacy of Justice Douglas.
KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE:
- Has been a Director or CEO or held a senior executive management position and has successfully managed a regional or larger museum with assets of $5 million or more for at least 8 years
- Has led the development of support in excess of $250,000 annually from foundations, businesses, and individuals for the operating, capital, and special needs of a museum and its programs
- Has initiated and led changes to support the overall organizational growth
- Has a track record of creativity and innovation in program and exhibit development
- Has experience with strategic planning and the development of a vision.
- Has experience writing and developing policy documents
- Has a thorough understanding of museum curatorial requirements
- Has knowledge of modern exhibit techniques and, in particular, the principles of written museum text
- Has experience working with multicultural stakeholders
- Demonstrates knowledge of computers and technology
- Has experience doing primary research
- Has been responsible for the recruitment and supervision of a staff of at least 7
- Has exceptional communication skills (both written and verbal), including presentation skills, to articulate the value, benefits, goals, vision, and needs of the museum to staff, donors, the media, and other stakeholders
- Can develop strategies to increase museum memberships and donor giving
- Has overseen the development and implementation of a financial plan to grow corporate partnerships, grants, individual giving, and other potential revenue sources.
- Has developed annual budgets in collaboration with the Board to ensure the financial well-being of the institution
- Has developed major programmatic events, including but not limited to symposia, banquets, and conferences.
- Is entrepreneurial and creative in solving problems
- Has executed strategies identified in a Strategic Plan to rejuvenate a museum
- Has developed at least 1 exhibit that involved consultation with two or more stakeholders, developing trust with the community
- Has built a culture of transparency, collaboration, and team building
- Has effectively used digitization to expand the museum’s reach and relevancy
- Has experience with basic business principles, including experience with marketing
- Has ensured that the physical plant and all machinery were kept in proper working order and in compliance with code
- Proficient in current versions of MS Word, Excel, Adobe, QuickBooks, PowerPoint, databases, and is familiar with donor software, Photoshop, or similar software.
EMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION: Executive Exempt—this position is full-time, may exceed a 40-hour work week, and is exempt from Fair Labor Standards and Practices overtime compensation requirements. Employee must be available and able to work non-traditional hours.
Position Title: Executive Director
Job Type: Full Time
Job Duration: Indefinite
Min Education: MA degree or higher in museum studies, history, museum administration, or other relevant disciplines strongly preferred.
Min Experience: 8 years
Required Travel: 1-10%
Salary: $75,000 - $90,000; the salary package includes free, off-site housing in the museum’s historic Gilbert House. There is no housing stipend in lieu of this. IRA with 3% match. Medical and Dental (employee only), generous vacation/sick leave. Relocation expenses to Yakima will also be reimbursed.
- A valid driver’s license or the ability to obtain one
- US Citizenship, Residency, or other legal right to work
- Successful clearance of a criminal background check
Submit a cover letter of interest, a resume, and three professional references. Also, provide a brief sample paper demonstrating writing skills and any other documents of your choosing to support your application.
Application Timeline: Review of applications will begin on February 1, 2023, and continue until the position is filled. The anticipated start date is no later than July 1, 2023.
Please send to: The Search Committee
Yakima Valley Museum
2105 Tieton Avenue
Yakima, WA 98902
For more information about the Yakima Valley Museum, go to: yvmuseum.org
 Quote from the Strategic Plan adopted by the Yakima Valley Museum in 2018.