• Chicago History Museum
  • Chicago, IL
  • Aug 18, 2020

Job Description

The Chicago History Museum (CHM) seeks a visionary, collegial, and entrepreneurial leader to serve as its next President. Established in 1856, less than twenty years after the incorporation of Chicago, CHM is internationally recognized for its innovative exhibitions, educational programs, physical and digital collections, and creative engagement with its environs. CHM’s dedication to Chicago guides and inspires the work of the institution: CHM collects, preserves, interprets and presents the full and multicultural sweep of the city's history.

CHM is Chicago's oldest cultural institution and has adopted a forward-thinking approach that places it at the forefront of cultural and historical organizations. It was founded as the Chicago Historical Society; in 2006, following an extensive building renovation and rebranding initiative, the Society forged a new public identity as the Chicago History Museum. In so doing, CHM distinguished itself among collections-based historical societies in emphasizing accessible, inclusive, and interactive experiences open to the public. In the last decade, CHM has solidified its position of leadership in the field by investing in a broad-based digital platform, thereby increasing access, providing a depth of content online, and creating multilayered, multimodal visitor experiences. The Museum serves as a cultural hub for the greater Chicago area, with vital connections to the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, sister museums in Chicago, higher education institutions, and many community organizations. CHM welcomes 250,000 visitors annually. Many professional and public historians consider CHM to be the leading urban history museum in the nation.

The Chicago History Museum seeks a seasoned professional with a passion for the city and stories of Chicago, and whose vision matches the Museum in boldness and ambition. The President will extend the reach of CHM, broaden its engagement with all the communities of Chicago, further the impact of its exhibitions and programs, expand its digital footprint, and deepen its already-strong base of support. Partnering with the Board of Trustees and the staff, the President will provide strategic direction, tactical leadership, and administrative guidance. The successful individual will possess an innovative and inventive mindset; the experience and knowledge to oversee a complex, resource-intensive organization; demonstrated commitment to strengthening diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; and the ability to build enthusiasm and support among all stakeholders.



The successful candidate will possess the following professional and personal qualifications, characteristics, and experiences:

Executive leadership experience: A track record of effective executive leadership and management, including strategic planning and implementation, program creation and assessment, financial oversight, board relations, and volunteer management. Innovative and original thinking.

Professional knowledge and personal enthusiasm: Informed appreciation for public history, museum studies, art, and/or architecture. Deep commitment to the educational mission of the Museum, and dedication to and passion for its civic purpose.

Substantial fundraising experience: Familiarity with annual and capital giving, membership giving, and organizational (corporate and foundation) as well as individual giving. Professional experience that has allowed for the development of robust networks (which can include local, regional, and national relationships) that may be of benefit for the Museum.

Managerial strength: An orientation to teamwork, and excellent organizational skills. Superb communication skills, both oral and written. Clarity of thinking and expression. Understanding of and fluency in data-driven decision making. Ability to develop systems and policies that promote transparency and fairness

Administrative leadership skills: Proven ability to inspire enthusiasm, energize supporters, and motivate others. Demonstrated commitment to the management and development of staff. Collaborative and open-minded spirit, with a proven record for magnifying impact through partnerships with external entities. Ability to encourage frank and constructive dialogue; courage to intervene and make difficult decisions.

Personal qualities: Integrity, imagination, creativity, and collegiality. Persistence and resilience. Cultural fluency: demonstrated awareness of and sensitivity to a diversity of backgrounds and a commitment to equity, inclusion, and access; an ability to connect with different audiences and personalities. An open and approachable style; humility and a sense of humor.



Confidential inquiries, referrals, and applications may be directed electronically and in confidence to

Anita Tien, Partner

Joanna Cook, Senior Associate Chicago

History Museum is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and actively works to enhance its diversity