As written in the 1836 “Memoir of Samuel Slater,” by George S. White:
President Andrew Jackson said to Samuel Slater:
“I understand you taught us how to spin, so as to rival Great Britain in her manufactures; you set all these thousands of spindles at work, which I have been delighted in viewing, and which have made so many happy, by a lucrative employment.”
To which Samuel Slater responded:
“Yes Sir. I suppose that I gave out the psalm and they have been singing to the tune ever since.”
Samuel Slater’s psalm was the establishment of the first textile mill in America and the place where our country, in its infancy, began its transformation from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy. Indeed, the seeds of American entrepreneurship were planted at the Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Samuel Slater’s 1793 mill, a National Historic Landmark, still stands on the banks of the Blackstone River as a monument to this pivotal moment in American history. The Board of Trustees of the Old Slater Mill Association is seeking to fill the position of Executive Director.
OVERVIEW OF POSITION
The Executive Director provides leadership to the museum, and will be responsible for managing a strategic planning exercise with an end-product that ensures full capitalization of the museum’s assets and promotes the organization’s visibility, growth, and prominence, both regionally and nationally. The Executive Director oversees operations to ensure quality of services and cost-effective management of all resources.
The Old Slater Mill Association (OSMA) seeks a dynamic, experienced, forward-looking Executive Director, who will fully embrace the challenge of producing and implementing an ambitious strategic plan. The new director will join an organization eager to make significant changes in the ways that OSMA interprets, promotes, and preserves the rich history of Samuel Slater and the enterprise that spawned the American Industrial Revolution.
OSMA and its new director should look to expand beyond traditional field trips for school children and visitor tours in order to engage new audiences and build on the many assets that comprise OSMA. In addition to several buildings – the original 1793 Slater Mill (interpretive and meeting spaces, gift shop); the 1810 Wilkinson Mill (offices, interpretive spaces, and Archives); and the 1758 Sylvanus Brown House (interpretive space) – OSMA maintains an Archives and Library containing artifacts, textiles, books, and documents. Exhibits include hand-operated and powered machinery and an operating 16,000-pound waterwheel. All of these assets must be made more accessible to citizens, scholars, and history buffs alike. The site comprises 4.5 riverside acres, including a public park, in the heart of downtown Pawtucket, adjacent to the City Hall campus.
Reporting to the Board, the Executive Director leads a small full-time staff and several part-time interpreters. Responsible for operations and fiscal management of the organization – including fundraising, grant writing, and program development – the new director will execute a full audit of office staff and interpreters to ensure that positions match programmatic and interpretation goals. The new director will establish a volunteer base to support site operations, maintenance, and programming. OSMA is a membership organization and the new director will be expected to give new meaning to being and/or becoming a member of OSMA. The new director will ensure that interpretation, publications, education, and all public programming meet the highest standards of history-related museums. In conjunction with a board committee, the new director will be overseeing the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) reaccreditation process.
The Executive Director manages OSMA’s financial, human, and physical resources, and represents OSMA to donors and other funders, education, civic and business partners, and visitors and members. A minimum of five years of senior-level experience in museum work and a demonstrated track record of fundraising, grant writing, staff supervision, and financial management are essential. The new director also will have excellent public speaking and written communication skills. Desirable traits include holding a master’s degree in Museum Studies or related field, experience working in a history museum, a working knowledge of historic preservation, and experience working with a nonprofit board.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Advises the Board; promotes change that benefits stakeholders and the organization; motivates employees; creates and leads an organizational culture of teamwork.
Visionary / Communicator
Ensures staff and Board have sufficient, accurate, and up-to-date information; looks to the future for change opportunities; interfaces comfortably with both trustees and employees; interfaces comfortably with OSMA and the public. Demonstrates earnestness and a keen ability to articulate a mission to a diverse array of audiences; influences others to take action; serves as the chief spokesperson for OSMA.
Formulates policy and planning/programmatic recommendations to the trustees; creates an annual work plan with full staff participation/assignments; decides or guides courses of action by staff.
Oversees operations; manages human resources; manages financial resources; manages physical facility resources; implements annual and strategic plans; creates/maintains accurate job descriptions for all staff; evaluates current staffing and recommends changes as necessary.
Board Development and Governance
Assists in the cultivation of and provides guidance in selection of Board members; participates in orientation of new Board members; assists with Board self-evaluation exercises; assesses Bylaws and guides periodic updating.
- Board Administration and Support: advises and informs Board members and ensures that materials are prepared in advance of all Board and Committee meetings.
- Financial and Operational Management: Prepares and recommends annual budget for Board approval and prudently manages OSMA resources within budget guidelines and according to current laws and regulations.
- Marketing and Development: Oversees marketing and fundraising, including identifying resource requirements, cultivating donors, researching funding sources, grant writing, developing strategies to approach funders and donors, and supervising fundraising documentation.
- Community and Public Relations: Ensures OSMA and its programs and services are consistently presented in a strong, positive light, and directs a marketing program and Web presence that capitalizes on and promotes OSMA’s assets.
- Program and Event Delivery: Recommends and implements new programs and events and oversees design, marketing, promotion, delivery, and quality of education/interpretive programs, museum programs, special events, and visitor services, all designed to increase visibility of and access to OSMA and its resources.
- Archives and Curatorial Services: Oversees ongoing maintenance of and public access to focused archives; updates collections policy; recommends strategic acquisitions and de-accessioning that conform to OSMA policy and current museum standards.
- Human Resource Management: Effectively manages OSMA’s human resources; updates personnel policies and procedures; remains current on applicable laws and regulations.
- Facilities and Grounds Management: Oversees the secure, clean, and safe use and maintenance of buildings, equipment, supplies, security/safety systems and procedures, grounds, and parking facilities.
Overall, the new director will be expected to enrich and expand OSMA programs; ensure the security and sustainability of its buildings and material assets; and enhance the viability and visibility of this National Historic Landmark for present and future generations.
Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, but no later than Friday, November 1, 2013. Please, no phone calls. Send résumés with a cover letter to OSMA Board Chair Jerauld Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org . Hard copies may also be sent to Mr. Adams at 131 Clay Street, Central Falls, RI 02863.