Job ID: 15726334
Position Title: Head, Interpretation & Visitor Research
Company Name: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Job Function: Education
Entry Level: No
Location(s): Kansas City, Missouri, 64111, United States
Posted: January 9, 2014
Job Type: Full-time
Job Duration: Indefinite
Min Education: Master’s Degree
Min Experience: 5-7 Years
Required Travel: 0-10%

Head, Interpretation and Visitor Research



The Head, Interpretation and Visitor Research leads the museum in the development of engaging visitor gallery experiences.  These meaningful visitor experiences with art will support the museum’s mission and brand.  As part of a team of experts, the Head, Interpretation and Visitor Research brings expertise in visitor behavior and learning to the task through recommending, initiating, developing, implementing and evaluating new and established strategies, individually and in team settings. He/she works to develop this new capacity and knowledge in interpretive staff and in other departments.



Visitor Gallery Experience Strategy

Directs all aspects of the department including display, interpretation, and research of visitor response. Works to integrate innovative strategies to engage visitors in making personal connections and meanings with art. Organizes and oversees innovative and creative exhibitions, working as a collaborative member of the team.

Fiscal Management of Programs

Develops and is responsible for fiscally responsible plans that support the scope and scale of the budget and institutional goals. Implements responsible program cost controls.

Interpretive Planning

Creates opportunities to bring people and art together, in collaboration with designers, project managers and curators, to ensure excellence in interpretation by shaping projects’ directions and priorities. Lead the recommending, planning, implementing and evaluating of concepts, interpretive strategies, and related programming for permanent collection installations, temporary exhibitions, publications, and the web.

Visitor Learning Research

Directs the research of the visitor experience in gallery spaces, ensuring that findings are integrated into interpretive planning. Remains abreast of the field in best practices, using experimentation, contemporary theory and visitor research, prototyping and expertise to identify key issues, concepts, strategies and tools that ensure relevance and visitor engagement. Builds and maintains relationships and collaborations with a variety of educational, cultural and community groups to ensure audience relevance.

Staff Development

Builds the institutional and education department’s capacity and capabilities to develop and deliver innovative and effective interpretation and experiences with art. Collaborates with the Museum’s design and curatorial staff in developing and supporting major directions and initiatives designed to strengthen the visitor experience.


Authors and produces any relevant media related to ????? as appropriate for the Museum. Participates in the museum field as a leader in interpretive planning in art museums. Participates actively in the field through conferences, appropriate external committees, publications and teaching.

Staff Supervision

Supervises the activity and development of the department staff consisting of both exempt and non-exempt positions and volunteers. Responsible for appropriate fiscal management.


Position Requirements

  • Masters level education in Museum Studies, Education, Visual Arts, Arts, Philosophy, or other related field
  • Minimum of 5 years experience as in a museum setting, ideally related to interpretive planning. Experience may be in art museums and/or other types of museums (science, history, natural history, children’s, etc.)
  • Well developed short-term and long term planning and time management skills with a clear understanding of priorities and adherence to deadlines.
  • Demonstrated experience of successful team work to develop and execute collaborative projects.
  • Demonstrated experience with current museological and educational theories and practice
  • Demonstrated experience in interpretive planning including developing and prototyping a broad array of gallery-based interpretive strategies.
  • Well developed writing skills that demonstrate the ability to write for multiple vehicles and broad audiences.
  • Demonstrated experience in museum visitor research and evaluation.
  • Ability to maintain active relationships with the museum community.
  • Ability to present papers, attend conferences and represent the department in public forums.
  • Ability to represent the department and Gallery at meetings and/or on committees both internally and externally.
  • Demonstrated ability to be innovative.