Director of Education and Programs - Detroit Historical Society (1/18/19)

Job Title: Director of Education and Programs

Department: Exhibitions and Enrichment

Reports to: Chief Exhibitions and Enrichment Officer

History saved and preserved is the foundation for strong, vibrant communities and future generations.  The Detroit Historical Society’s mission is to tell Detroit’s stories and why they matter.  Founded in 1921, the Society has been bringing together diverse voices and communities around the stories of the region to find their place in the present and inspire the future for almost 100 years.  Located in Detroit’s cultural district, The Society administers and develops exhibitions and programming for the Detroit Historical Museum, and Dossin Great Lakes Museum.  The team cares for more than 250,000 artifacts in its collection, relying upon a staff of over 50 individuals to help bring Detroit’s stories to life.

Position Description:

The Director of Education and Programs manages, develops and works with their team to provide high-quality interpretive and learning programs for varied audiences.  The Director of Education and Programs works closely with all departments to holistically develop programs that share and promote the unique resources of the institution.

The ideal candidate is an experienced leader/manager who is a seasoned professional with excellent management and team-building skills.  She/he is comfortable with experimentation and risk-taking and is able to generate ideas for the continued improvement of programs and processes.  This position leads the team that manages both public and school programs on and offsite.  The ideal candidate will develop successful educational methodologies and philosophies with and for the Education and Programs team, while also working the hands-on experiences and modeling team leadership.

The Director of Education and Programs is a full-time position reporting to the Chief Exhibitions and Enrichment Officer.  The standard work is Monday-Friday, 9am – 5pm with Work Flex as an option, but evening and weekend work related to events and programs will be required.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Leads the Education and Programs team in their efforts to create high-quality, dynamic and engaging programs for diverse audiences.
  • Works with the team to advance and expand current offerings for community engagement-based programs, professional development and programs for schools, adults and families.
  • Ensures that programs are based on Detroit Historical Society’s resources, education philosophy, methodology and strategic initiatives.
  • Works to increase visitor participation/attendance to all programs and experiences related to the museum’s mission, collection, exhibitions and/or the organization’s target audiences.   Also works to enhance earned revenue through programs is a must.
  • Ensures that all programs are evaluated in a consistent manner.
  • Ensures that professional development and proper training are available and accessible to Education and Programs staff, docents, volunteers and front of the line staff.
  • Works with development staff as needed to identify potential funding opportunities, help to prepare, evaluate and report on education programming grants.
  • Pursues, establishes, and maintains strategic partnerships for Education and Programs initiatives.
  • Collaborate the broader Exhibitions and Enrichment teams to develop a wide variety of interpretive, didactic or other exhibition-related educational materials.
  • Develops and implements evaluation tools to measure, interpret, and analyze outcomes of education and public programs institutional goals.
  • Prepares and manage the departmental budget with input from team, to meet annual goals.
  • Presents programs, teaches classes and conducts tours when needed.
  • Continues to stay current with educational practices, scholarship and Michigan curriculum.
  • Serves as an internal and external advocate for the Education and Programs team.


  • Master’s degree in education, history, museum studies or related field.
  • Minimum of seven years’ experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of programs for diverse audiences of all ages.
  • Knowledge of and experience with principles, practices and techniques of public, informal education and museum education.
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion, management and business best practices.
  • Proven ability to communicate complex ideas with a wide range of people.
  • Minimum of five years in supervisory capacity.
  • Exceptional communication skills, verbal and written.
  • Excellent leadership, supervisory, planning and organization skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to forge and maintain effective working relationships with a variety of representatives of public and private organizations, Trustees, volunteers, vendors, museum staff and the public.
  • Able to relate effectively with people of various cultural backgrounds, levels of education, and experience.
  • Ability to multitask and meet deadlines in a fast-paced working environment.

Please send resume, cover letter and salary requirements to the Human Resources Department at humanresource@detroithistorical.orgno later than January 18, 2019. Please no phone calls.

About DHS:

Stop working and start innovating!  This is your opportunity to join a national leader in museum services.  The Detroit Historical Society has a 100-year legacy of telling Detroit’s stories and why they matter.  Most recently, with the 50-year anniversary of the summer of 1967, DHS sought to commemorate the traumatic riots with a sensitive and inclusive narrative.  Rather than just create an exhibition, DHS shepherded a community-wide collaborative project.  Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward captured the story and proved that the Detroit Historical Society is a safe place to convene for difficult conversations.

DHS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and we encourage a diverse pool of candidates to apply. 

Posted on the MMA website 1/10/19

 The Michigan Museums Association is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721

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