The Smithsonian is seeking an individual to lead its Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) an essential means of representing and enhancing public understanding of the heritage of Asian & Pacific Island Americans and their historical and contemporary contributions to the American experience, world cultures, and humanity’s place in the natural world. The director will serve as the external face of APAC, inspiring confidence in its capabilities and raising its profile as a distinctive national asset and source of programming.

This position serves as Director, Asian Pacific American Center. Established in 1997 as an initiative critical to the mission of the Smithsonian, the Asian Pacific American Center seeks to enrich the appreciation of America’s Asian Pacific heritage and empower Asian Pacific American communities in their sense of inclusion within the national culture. The Center has produced and co-produced numerous exhibitions hosted in Smithsonian museums and those that travel around the nation. It has sponsored symposia, conferences, and public education programs, published studies, organized festivals and performances, stimulated Smithsonian collections, and produced various media products. The Center is an integral unit of the Smithsonian, with its Director a Secretarial appointee, reporting directly to the Provost/Under Secretary for Museums & Research. The Center has a highly distinguished advisory board, and a small but growing staff. Its budget, supported by Federal appropriations and Smithsonian trust funds, as well as by philanthropic and corporate donations, is slated for rapid growth. The Center’s strategic plan or “Blueprint” emphasizes a three-pronged approach for engaging a broad public by creating an ongoing programmatic presence on the National Mall, a virtual interactive museum, and collaborative projects with museums nationwide.


  • Pass Pre-Employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer

1. Provides vision and leadership for the representation of the Asian American experience at the Smithsonian and through directing the Asian Pacific American Center, advising the Secretary, Provost/ Under Secretary for Museums & Research and other officials, and collaborating with colleagues in and beyond the Smithsonian, and strategically implements scholarly and educational activities that realize that vision.

2. Directs the Asian Pacific American Center, with responsibility for its scholarly activities, physical and virtual museum exhibitions, educational and public programs, its online presence, the development and management of its staff, advisory board, collaborative relationships, and volunteers, oversight and enhancement of its fiscal resources, and its consistency and compliance with Smithsonian policies, plans, and procedures.

3. Raises funds for the Center and its activities. Develops relationships with corporate and philanthropic sectors, encourages and applies for government and foundation grants so as to increase resources available for research and educational activities focused upon Asian and Pacific American heritage and contributions to the American experience. Works with the Office of Development as appropriate.

4. Develops and coordinates a distinguished advisory board of public officials, and civic, business, philanthropic, and academic leaders with a view of supporting programs and initiatives and advancing the national interest in the representation of Asian and Pacific American achievement in history, arts, culture, science, and technology.

5. Develops and maintains scholarly and educational relations with other Smithsonian museums, research centers, consortia, and programs, and seeks collaborative projects and activities that represent Asian and Pacific American heritage and contributions to the American experience. Such may involve joint staff appointments, collaborative research, exhibitions, educational and public programs, websites and publications, online and media products, community outreach, the acquisition of important artifacts, art, documentary and digital collections, etc., as well as helping manage any pan-Institutional funds and initiatives dedicated to Asian Pacific American projects.

6. Promotes Institutional partnerships with museums, universities, educational consortia, and community organizations around the U.S. and beyond as appropriate. Develops strategies that identify and encourage increased Asian and Pacific American candidate pools for Smithsonian employment. Facilitates opportunities to train Asian and Pacific Americans in museum-related fields of study, in an effort to increase internships and fellowships in the museum profession.

7. Serves as primary liaison within the Smithsonian to Asian and Pacific American community groups, national organizations, scholarly and professional associations, academic departments and other organizations. Aids the Secretary, Under Secretary/Provost, and Office of Government Relations in representing Asian and Pacific American activities, issues and needs at the Smithsonian to the Office of Management & Budget, the Regents, members and committees of Congress.

8. Builds public awareness of all of the Smithsonian’s Asian and Pacific American programs and activities, and works with the Office of Public Affairs as appropriate in order to do so.

9. Maintains active scholarly or professional standing and reputation by conducting research, or publishing work, or making public presentations pertaining to the Asian and Pacific American experience in relevant fields.


Applicants must clearly demonstrate the necessary level of managerial and leadership skills and competence to perform successfully in this position. This includes a degree in an applicable subject-matter field, or a combination of education and appropriate experience that provides knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through successful completion of a four-year course of study in an applicable subject-matter field.

In addition, applicants must have one year of specialized experience at the Federal GS-15 level or equivalent private sector experience. This experience includes leading and managing an outreach program that elevates the profile and visibility of a large cultural organization with an emphasis on Asian Pacific American history, art and culture.

The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

  1. Experience and demonstrated results in presenting Asian American and Pacific Islander American contributions, themes and issues through scholarly research, public programming, exhibitions and /or publications with particular emphasis on reaching, interacting, and engaging with communities through new, digital social media, websites, and applications.
  2. Demonstrated entrepreneurial ability to build relationships and lead collaborative initiatives internally and externally with organizations to leverage support for and participation in programs.
  3. Successful track record of raising funds from individuals, foundations, corporations and governmental organizations through gifts, grants and partnerships.
  4. Demonstrated skills for leading and managing a multi-disciplined and culturally diverse workforce, including fostering teamwork and high morale, attracting, retaining, and mentoring staff, fellows, interns and volunteers, and implementing EEO/Affirmative Action policies and programs.
Job Information
  • Dist. Columbia, United States
  • 27072476
  • February 25, 2016
  • Director, Asian Pacific American Center
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Directors/Administrators
  • No
  • Full-Time
  • Indefinite
  • BA/BS/Undergraduate
  • Over 10 Years
  • $134,261.00 – $201,759.00 (Yearly Salary)