Sam Noble Museum Director: Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
Job Category
Faculty Appointments
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The Sam Noble Museum at the University of Oklahoma is seeking a visionary leader to serve as director and to work collaboratively with an outstanding professional staff. As the state’s natural history museum, the Sam Noble Museum is a venue for celebrating the state’s rich cultural and natural heritage. The museum inspires understanding of the natural and cultural world through collection-based research, interpretation, and education that is supported by an annual budget of $3.5 million, 47 full-time permanent staff and faculty curators, 200 volunteers, and more than 1,100 member households. The 198,000-square-foot museum includes 47,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 39,000 sq. ft. dedicated to collection storage. With an average annual attendance of 150,000, the museum's permanent and temporary exhibits and collections are important vehicles for engaging its audiences and promoting the museum's educational and research mission. The museum stewards over 10 million artifacts and specimens in 12 collections: archeology, ethnology, languages, herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrates, mammalogy, ornithology, genomic resources, invertebrate paleontology, paleobotany and micropaleontology, and vertebrate paleontology. Museum curators, staff, and students engage in research that addresses critical scientific questions relating to the Earth’s biological, geological, and cultural diversity and in the training and mentoring of the next generation of scientists and educators. The museum engages in significant programming, educational activities, and outreach designed to serve diverse communities. These events provide opportunities for interactions between biological, geological, and social scientists and the public, leading to increased understanding of information and a better appreciation for the natural and cultural world. Oklahoma is home to thirty-nine federally recognized tribes, and the museum collaborates with tribal partners to foster respect for tribal sovereignty and the preservation of Native American language, art, and culture. The museum also plays an important role in Native language preservation and revitalization by hosting the annual Native American Youth Language Fair and supports science education in the community through programs like ExplorOlogy. The museum has received national and international awards for excellence, including the prestigious National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for its commitment to collection stewardship, outreach and education activities, and public programs. Responsibilities of the Director The director reports to the Senior Vice President and Provost of the Norman Campus. Duties include: (1) oversight of museum activities including collections, research, education, exhibits, public programs, security, administration, personnel management, facility maintenance, and public relations and marketing; (2) integration and expansion of the museum’s engagement with university, state, regional, national, and global audiences; (3) enthusiastic advocacy on behalf of the museum’s needs to facilitate increased outside financial support, including private, state, and federal funds; (4) effective management of the museum's financial resources to ensure long-term sustainability; (5) liaising with the university administration and with academic and non-academic departments; (6) interacting with public constituencies to articulate the museum's vision and mission; (7) leading long-term planning to align with university strategic plans. The next director will be a proven leader with: (1) exceptional communication skills, who has a deep understanding of the role of museums in heritage preservation, research, and community engagement; (2) the ability to inspire staff and other stakeholders; (3) a combination of visionary leadership, dedicated advocacy, managerial expertise, and entrepreneurial skills; (4) the ability to keep the museum at the forefront of innovations in heritage preservation, research, and community engagement.
Required Applicants must have: (1) a graduate degree in a discipline pertinent to leadership of a university-based museum; (2) a minimum of five years of progressive management, leadership, and administrative experience; (3) demonstrated success in a complex museum or comparable institution (e.g., higher education, government, or private sector). Preferred Candidates should demonstrate: (1) a robust knowledge of collection acquisition and management, exhibition, and public service; (2) a successful history of working with diverse academic and public constituencies; (3) a record of successful grant applications and implementation. Applications should be submitted online via Interfolio at Applications must include a full curriculum vitae; a letter of interest in the position delineating the candidate’s qualities that incorporates a vision for the museum and the role of the director in attaining that vision; and names and contact information for three professional references. Please direct questions to Jeff Kelly at Screening of applications will begin January 23, 2023, and continue until the position is filled.
Contact Person
Jeff Kelly
Contact eMail
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