Reporting to the museum’s Carolyn Muzzy Director, the Mirken Director of Learning and Engagement is a key member of the museum’s senior leadership team. In keeping with the museum’s core values and priorities, articulated in its 2023—2028 Strategic Direction, the Director sets strategy and guides pedagogy across all areas of academic and public education, community engagement, interpretation and programming, artistic collaboration, and visitor experience. This work unfolds across multiple physical locations, including the campus museum, the museum’s presence at the Paul J. Schupf Art Center in downtown Waterville, schools and community sites in the Waterville region, and in occasional programming at Colby’s Island Campus.
The Director of Learning and Engagement advocates for access and communicates the value of teaching and learning as fundamental to the Colby Museum’s mission. They promote the museum’s role in the education of Colby students and foster trust in the museum’s ongoing engagement with its local and regional communities, including preK-12 schools in our region. They leverage artistic and art historical research to expand narratives of art and design museum experiences that center belonging and allow for multiple perspectives and outcomes. The Director of Learning and Engagement proactively contributes to the museum’s efforts to create a thriving and well-resourced institutional culture that supports people, including making the museum increasingly diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
In addition to providing oversight and direction to learning and engagement staff, the Director is responsible for collaboratively developing interpretation plans and designing and implementing select public programs and community collaborations. They develop and manage the overall budget of learning and engagement, contribute to fundraising and stewardship, and represent the museum on campus, locally, regionally and nationally.
Candidates will bring strategic and creative leadership and excellent collaboration, communication, and management skills. They will be adept in both advocating and listening. They will find joy and energy in working with others to create a magnetic, diverse, and dynamic community that brings together people and art.
THE MUSEUM AND ITS MISSION
Located in Waterville, Maine, the Colby Museum opens access to art and artists for the Colby community, for Maine residents and visitors, and for audiences beyond, creating a forum for experimentation, research, dialogue, and connection. We grow and use our stellar collection in ways that activate the power of art to expand imagination and forge new connections, fostering a more open, creative, and compassionate society. We teach to inspire and open possibilities, so that students at Colby and other visitors can become more curious, nimble, and able to contribute within a changing world, in keeping with Colby’s dynamic liberal arts mission. We incubate art scholarship and practice in ways that explore and expand how the idea of America is understood and how art is made, interpreted, and shared. We do so by supporting new research, providing mentorship, and convening a diversity of people and perspectives. The Lunder Institute for American Art and our exhibitions, programs, and publications facilitate field-wide impact. We are committed to our audiences, including the Colby College community, residents of Waterville and the broader Maine region, national and international visitors, and the artists, scholars, and partners with whom we collaborate.
A COMMITMENT TO EQUITY AND INCLUSION
Working to advance equity and inclusion in the field of American art—and, by doing so, in the wider world—is core to our mission. We feel the urgency of national and campus conversations on inequality and are keenly aware of the unique responsibility that we have as an academic art museum—as a place where we can listen, ask questions, and challenge assumptions—to engage in this dialogue, and to act. We affirm the Colby Museum’s commitment to multidisciplinary teaching and learning and our potential for deep engagement with students will be leveraged in this effort toward fighting racialized violence, injustice, and inequality. Colby College is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment where every member of the community feels a sense of respect and belonging
Leadership and Management (35%)
Sets strategy across all areas of learning and engagement; develops inclusive and anti-racist pedagogy for the museum’s programs. Continually seeks to understand visitor needs, participation patterns, social shifts, and audience interests to inform strategy.
Advocates for and regularly communicates the value of teaching and learning as core to the Colby Museum, demonstrating impact through data and storytelling.
As a member of the Colby Museum’s senior team, actively contributes to institutional development and management, and interacts with board leaders.
Proactively contributes to the museum’s efforts to create a thriving and well-resourced institutional culture that supports people, helps to assess progress and areas for growth, and identifies resources that can further build skills and understanding across the museum.
As needed, acts as a spokesperson for the museum, including donor and prospect visits, conferences, campus events, and interactions with the media.
Participates in pursuing funding opportunities and reporting on activities .
Supervises and provides inclusive leadership for five full-time staff as well as a cohort of temporary staff, teaching artists and gallery educators, and student workers and interns.
Designs and leads collaborative program development processes for the museum and participates actively in program planning, strategy, communications, and operational conversations with partners across the Waterville and Colby arts ecosystem.
Strategizes with museum and college communications staff at the museum to publicize programs and events and broaden outreach; manages an organized calendar of program content production and sets deadlines to facilitate external communications
Establishes effective systems and processes to evaluate learning and engagement activities and reflect on their impact provides qualitative and quantitative data to various stakeholders; drafts program report narratives as needed
Develops and manages the learning and engagement budget
Oversees the Mirken Center for Education—a learning studio.
Serves as a back-up, as needed, for Learning and Engagement team members, modeling what is expected of the team.
Stays current with developments in the field, gaining insight and building knowledge; this includes gaining knowledge of museum’s collection, special exhibitions, and history.
Interpretation, Programs, and Artistic Collaborations (20%)
Strategically evaluates and sets cadence and scope of public programming
Collaborates with curators and other museum staff and partners to develop interpretive plans for projects and review interpretive content; identifies platforms and formats for interpretive ideas and co-creates solutions for in-gallery and digital engagement.
Advises on potential acquisitions, contributes to discussions about exhibitions, and provides audience research, interpretive and/or program knowledge as part of exhibition development.
Collaborates with Lunder Institute for American Art staff, guest artists, and scholars to develop, implement, and evaluate mutually beneficial programs that connect LIAA fellows with local and regional audiences.
Invites guest artists, scholars, and presenters to the museum and selectively produces public events, maximizing opportunities for collaboration.
Proactively informs and engages curatorial, collections, and Lunder Institute staff in dialogue about learning and engagement priorities and strategies.
Community Engagement (20%)
Leads engagement team in shaping priorities and approaches for community engagement and provides training as needed.
Builds relationships and sustained partnerships with cultural, social and/or wellness organizations to address community needs and bridge curricular, co-curricular, and community-based learning through art.
Participates in events organized by community and artistic partners, building trust and making the museum visible beyond our walls .
At times co-creates, manages, or facilitates community-led programs that bridge audiences and engender critical conversations.
Plans and implements grassroots communications that reach those who might not otherwise think of the museum as a place for them.
Teaching, Pathways and Program Support (10%)
Supports and guides pre-K–12 staff in designing, implementing, and evaluating effective museum-based programs with Waterville schools, with teachers and administrators across Maine, and in coordination with Colby’s Education Department, Civic Engagement, and the Arts Office.
Sets broad direction for and advises the Linde Family Foundation Curator of Academic Engagement in structuring, facilitating and evaluating effective museum-based collaborations that support teaching and learning at Colby, as well as professional development, pathway, and mentorship opportunities for students.
Occasionally leads tours and contributes to curricular and co-curricular teaching and learning with Colby students, faculty, and staff, as appropriate.
Guides engagement team efforts to develop effective digital teaching tools that can empower educators at all levels.
Visitor Experience (10%)
Advocates for accessibility, advancing efforts that make the museum an open forum for democratic engagement, dialogue, research, and meaningful connection; identifies barriers to participation and partners with others to implement solutions; contributes to design processes that improve museum welcome, orientation, wayfinding, and storytelling.
With the Director of Museum Administration and External Affairs, oversees public-facing staff, ensuring appropriate training, compensation, and processes in this key area.
With the Director of Museum Administration and External Affairs, develops a sustainable system for tracking attendance and participation and for conducting audience research on campus and at the museum’s downtown gallery.
Participates in the life of the museum and the communities we serve, and performs other duties as assigned.
Master’s degree or the equivalent in education and experience. Demonstrated knowledge and authentic appreciation of art and art history.
Minimum five years of relevant museum or cultural programming experience
Demonstrated commitment to cross-disciplinary teaching and learning; adeptness at teaching with works of art and collaborating with artists and scholars; deep appreciation for the value of art museums, liberal arts education, and mentoring students
Unwavering commitment to fostering an anti-racist, equitable work environment that supports people from different cultures, backgrounds, and life paths
Demonstrated management experience, including budgets and personnel
Demonstrated ability to think strategically and long-term while successfully attending to more immediate goals and tasks; strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills
Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills; skilled public speaker
Demonstrated collaboration and relationship-building skills and ability to work with people across a wide range of levels of power and influence.
Strong, self-motivated work ethic, flexibility, and proven ability to work independently, collaboratively, and constructively as a member of a diverse community
Knowledge of current trends, philosophies, methods in the arts and culture sector; active participation in the field.
Reporting to the Director, the Mirken Director of Learning and Engagement directly supervises the Linde Family Foundation Curator of Academic Engagement, the Linde Family Foundation Senior Coordinator of School and Teacher Programs, the Coordinator of Community and Visitor Engagement, and the Engagement Assistant, as well as temporary personnel and one or more interns. They work closely with staff across museum and Lunder Institute teams, Colby’s Arts Office and Office of Civic Engagement, departments and centers across the College, local community organizations, and Waterville-area and Maine administrators and educators. They regularly interact with Colby Museum governors.
WORKING CONDITIONS/PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
General open office and campus environment. Position involves sitting, although frequent movement is necessary. Walking, standing, bending, and twisting required. Computer usage involving repetitive hand/wrist motion is also necessary. Occasional lifting of materials and physical preparation of learning spaces. Occasional travel may be required./
Colby is a private, coeducational liberal arts college that admits students and makes employment decisions on the basis of the individual's qualifications to contribute to Colby's educational objectives and institutional needs. Colby College does not discriminate in its educational programs or employment on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, or military or veteran’s status. Colby is an equal opportunity employer and operates in accordance with federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination.Colby complies with Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in an institution’s education programs and activities. Questions regarding Title IX may be referred to Colby’s Title IX coordinator or to the federal Office of Civil Rights. We encourage inquiries from candidates who will contribute to the cultural and ethnic diversity of our college.
For more information about the College, please visit our website:www.colby.edu.
The Colby College Museum of Art is a collecting and teaching museum dedicated to the preservation, display, and interpretation of the visual arts. We embrace within our collections works of art from diverse cultures and historical periods, with a focus on American art, and commitment to collecting and exhibiting contemporary art. We manage these resources for the benefit of the Colby College community, the region, and the nation and aspire to display works that embody the highest standards of achievement.