Executive Director

  • Deadline / Program Start: 2022-10-10
  • Organization: Florence Griswold Museum
  • Organization Type: Museum/Gallery/Exhibition Space
  • Career Type: Arts, Culture Non-Profit Administrator
  • Grant / Salary: $190,000 - $220,000
  • Location: Old Lyme, CT
  • Primary Discipline: Arts Education
  • Recurring: Array
  • URL: Link

The Florence Griswold Museum, on the banks of the Lieutenant River in Old Lyme, CT, seeks a passionate and experienced Executive Director to lead the Museum through an exciting era of strategic expansion. Set on a bucolic 12-acre site, the campus of five buildings includes the original Georgian home of Florence Griswold, an extraordinary woman whose boarding house ultimately became the home of the Lyme Art Colony (including Childe Hassam and Henry Ward Ranger), who gathered each summer for decades around the turn of the 20th century. Preserved and expanded over the years through diligent stewardship and dedication, the site saw its latest growth in 2002 when contemporary spaces for changing exhibitions (3,000 sq. ft.), offices, and storage were built. The Museum is now poised for its next expansion which will create permanent collection galleries and community spaces that help deepen its commitment to the exploration of art, history, and nature. The new Executive Director will help shape and refine this historic turning point, bringing Board and staff together to complete its five-year strategic plan that features a capital and endowment campaign, overseeing the building expansion and environmental designs along the river, shaping programs, and increasing audience and visibility in the region.

The Florence Griswold Museum campus boasts an exquisite blend of historic artists’ colony studios and living quarters, the lush natural landscape and exquisite gardens that served as muse and continue to inspire artists today, a lively exhibition program including contemporary art that reflects and makes relevant these core values from the spirit of its past, as well as appealing visitor amenities. The Board and staff are eager for an Executive Director who will share their passion for these offerings, who genuinely embodies the museum namesake’s values of welcome and warmth, and who will set roots in a community that is very proud of this treasure.
The successful candidate will appreciate the unique charms of this successful and respected Museum and the potential for sharing the many layers of its story more widely. They will have a demonstrated record of visionary leadership in the arts, as well as possess a strong business acumen to carry them through the completion of the campaign and building project. The next Executive Director will actively represent the Museum regionally and also connect nationally to potential partners and experts. The Executive Director will guide the effort to deepen and broaden the connection to community, emphasizing the contemporary relevancy of a site that links its history to environmental preservation and the power of the arts to bring people together.

The Collections of the Florence Griswold Museum originally centered on the story of American Impressionist and Tonalist painters, especially those who participated in the Lyme Art Colony, like Willard Metcalf, Childe Hassam, and Henry Ward Ranger. A major gift of 190 works in 2002 from the Hartford Steam Boiler Company Collection, not only strengthened those areas with important works by Hassam and Theodore Robinson, but immediately broadened the collection’s focus to a wider circle of American artists with ties to Connecticut with works by Ralph Earl, Frederic Church, Milton Avery, and others. The addition of the new Krieble Galleries in 2002 made way for the renovation of the historic house to create period rooms that illustrate the art-colony experience and Florence’s warm welcome. It also allowed for expansive consideration of contemporary artists who reflect national trends, both indoors and on the grounds. Recent exhibition and outdoor commissions have included the work of Dana Sherwood, and environmental artist Patrick Dougherty, among others.

This is a moment of significant growth for the Florence Griswold Museum that requires an inspiring uniter who respects legacy and embraces the opportunity to bring evolutionary growth to a healthy and beloved institution. The successful candidate will have a knowledge and love of American art and history and be an authentic partner to an active and dedicated staff of approximately 25 and supportive Board. Strong business skills will allow the next Executive Director to deftly guide potential growth of the current $2.9M budget to meet the needs of the expanded building and operations. The Old Lyme community is deeply proud of the Florence Griswold Museum, and the next Executive Director will be invested in community life and also able to expand and diversify the base of supporters, partners, and general audience throughout the region and beyond.

Opportunities of the Position
The Executive Director of the Florence Griswold Museum will succeed by leading Board, staff, volunteers, and supporters through an expansion and development of structure and site, and an enhanced vision for the future potential of this already successful and beloved local gem and national treasure. The Museum is poised to fulfill an exciting Strategic Plan that strives to share the history, art, and natural beauty that abounds here, and to create a more immersive experience for a wider audience.

The Florence Griswold Museum Executive Director will be expected to:
• Have a solid background in American art and be in tune with, even passionate about, the arts of the region.
• Have strong business acumen and financial-planning abilities.
• Lead the effort to drive and complete a major capital campaign currently in its first year with some substantial pledges already promised, and a subsequent building expansion that will add permanent collection galleries and improved visitor amenities to the campus.
• Be confident and diplomatic, with excellent interpersonal and relationship-development skills and a genuine warmth for the process.
• Guide the Board in its efforts to expand its membership beyond the local area, increasing wider geographic visibility for the Museum, including the revival of its National Advisory Board, a group of scholars and experts.
• Embody a loyalty and commitment to the environment, culture, history, and mission of welcome at the Museum and become immersed in community life.
• Ensure that the Museum exhibitions, programming, and outreach are delivered with relevance and excellence.
• Oversee and inspire the staff; be a generous team player, honest, open, and objective.
• Be dedicated to the efforts to expand and diversify the Museum’s audience and reach.
• Promote the Museum widely by actively participating in local, regional, and State activities, as well as within the museum field.
• Be responsible for fiscal management of the Museum through a participatory process to develop the annual budget and track monthly financial statements that accurately reflect the financial condition.

Experience & Education Desired
• Minimum of 5 years of museum management experience in a senior leadership position, along with another 5 years of further museum or nonprofit experience.
• Advanced degree in art history or related fields required, with a thorough knowledge of American art.
• Track record of successful fundraising.
• Experience and comfort engaging with the local community and its constituencies.
• Persuasive, relatable communication skills both oral and written.
• An established network of museum professional contacts is desired.