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Executive Director, Connecticut River Museum

Connecticut River Museum
Job Title: Executive Director, Connecticut River Museum
Job Type:
Executive Director
Job Search Ends:
August 15th, 2022
Organization's Website:

The Connecticut River Museum Seeks Executive Director


About the Connecticut River Museum

The Connecticut River Museum (CRM) is a cultural gem dedicated to exploring and celebrating the dynamic relationship between one of America’s great rivers and the inhabitants along and around its shores. CRM focuses on the role of the Connecticut River, New England’s largest, in the social, commercial, and environmental evolution of its region, from the time of Indigenous Peoples through colonization and industrialization, to the present. By deepening the public’s appreciation of the River’s importance to past generations, CRM seeks to inspire future generations to embrace stewardship of this national treasure, one of only 14 rivers in the country designated by the U.S. government as a National Heritage River. Some 25,000 people from all fifty states and numerous foreign countries visit the Museum each year.

This AAM-accredited Museum was founded in 1974 and is now approaching its 50th anniversary.  CRM occupies a spectacular waterfront campus and is housed in four historic buildings.  CRM’s core offerings include:

  • A robust series of youth and adult educational programs
  • Educational and recreational experiences onboard two vessels that operate from its docks: the Onrust, a re-creation of the ship commanded by the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block on his voyage up the River in 1614, and RiverQuest, an eco-tour cruiser accommodating 60 passengers
  • An extensive collection of marine objects, tools, and artifacts (including the famous and highly popular “Turtle,” an operational model of America’s first submarine)
  • Permanent and special rotating exhibits exploring diverse aspects of the River’s past and future
  • A distinguished research archive comprising rare books, journals, and manuscripts; and
  • Numerous community outreach events, including a summer concert series and lecture series


The Museum is located six miles upriver from Long Island Sound in the picturesque village of Essex, Connecticut. The village is widely acclaimed for its charming architecture, civic spirit, the natural beauty of its surroundings, cultural amenities, and excellent school system — indeed for its overall quality of life.  It is equidistant from New York and Boston and easily accessible to both by rail or car. Major educational institutions, including Yale, Wesleyan, the University of Connecticut, Trinity, and Connecticut College are all within a 45-minute commute or less. The abundance of other nearby educational, cultural, and environmental nonprofit institutions presents rich opportunities for cross collaboration, which the Museum eagerly pursues. Essex lies squarely within the tidelands area of the Connecticut River that the Nature Conservancy has named one of the Western Hemisphere's "40 Last Great Places”.

Opportunity Going Forward

Entering the organization at a crucial moment, the newly chosen Executive Director (ED) will realize the Museum’s next phase of organizational growth and evolution by leading the implementation of its recently adopted 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, “Setting Our Course to Fifty and Beyond.”  Key components of this plan include:


  • Fostering a “culture of innovation” that will enable CRM to stay abreast of best practices and important trends in museum management
  • Expanding educational programming and interactive learning experiences
  • Deepening partnerships with like-minded organizations along the River
  • Creating new programs that highlight a broader range of historical perspectives as well as environmental stewardship
  • Creating and implementing a Campus Master Plan that will maximize the utilization and maintenance of the Museum’s many physical assets
  • Expanding and diversifying the Board of Trustees
  • Building and retaining an excellent staff by providing competitive compensation; reliable technology; and clear lines of internal communication
  • Promulgating clear policies and procedures that reflect CRM’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging
  • Enhancing philanthropy and fundraising that have long supported CRM
  • Fostering responsible innovation, including supporting initiatives aimed at promoting the River’s sustainable development
  • Creating and enacting a plan to celebrate CRM’s 50th anniversary in 2024
  • Supporting innovative use of technology and multi-media applications to complement CRM’s extensive collections
  • Ensuring CRM is a good neighbor to local businesses and firms, working with them for the collective benefit of the community.


Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director will directly manage six full-time staff members (Curator, Development Director, Education Director, Finance Director, Boats Captain, Director of Visitor Services) as well as a number of part-time and volunteer personnel. The successful candidate will already live within commuting distance of CRM’s offices in Essex or be willing to relocate to the area.


Desired Credentials/Profile of the Ideal Candidate

  • Passion for CRM’s mission: To deepen appreciation for the River’s history and to inspire its stewardship by providing unique educational and recreational experiences to diverse audiences
  • Deep alignment with and belief in CRM’s Values of excellence; openness and innovation; environmental sustainability; diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion; respect, integrity, and honesty; and being a good neighbor
  • A minimum of five years of progressive leadership experience in an organization of similar size or complexity
  • Professional and/or volunteer experience in one or more of the following:
    • At the executive level (C-suite or Board) of a non-profit organization
    • In the education and/or environment fields
    • In a museum, cultural, and/or membership-based organization


Skills and Experience

Strategic Leader Able to Balance Vision and Operations

  • Mission-driven leader who is aligned with and committed to implementation of CRM’s strategic plan and goals.
  • Ability to envision and execute initiatives to realize those goals, working closely with staff to measure progress against agreed-upon objectives.
  • Innovative thinker able to identify, assess, and act on new opportunities that expand an organization’s reach, impact, and sustainability.


Inspiring Ambassador and Fundraiser

  • Poised, persuasive leader who delights in serving as the face of an organization and is driven and excited to expand CRM’s network
  • Compelling public speaker capable of connecting with and inspiring a wide range of diverse people to visit, volunteer with, and/or donate to the Museum.
  • Enthusiastic, seasoned fundraiser adept at strategically identifying, stewarding, and sustaining existing and prospective donors.
  • Experience managing and growing revenue-generating programs, services and/or memberships.
  • Proven ability to build partnerships and alliances that expand the geographic reach of an organization, a program, or a service.
  • Experience engaging with and/or managing Board relations and recruitment.


Skilled Manager of People and Organizations

  • Authentic leader who fosters trust, collegiality, communication, and collaboration among staff.
  • Energetic, engaged, accessible manager who embraces hands-on leadership that is focused and disciplined, while also encouraging individual staff initiative and team building.
  • Sound financial manager familiar with budgets and forecasts, especially as it relates to fundraising, earned revenue, expense control, and development.
  • Leader who holds self and others equally to consistent, high levels of accountability and performance.


Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time position with a starting salary range of $100,000-$120,000 commensurate with experience and qualifications. CRM also offers a benefits package that includes a medical savings account, life insurance, a voluntary 401(k) program (no employer match), and paid time off. The Connecticut River Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer seeking a diverse workforce.


Additional Considerations

The work environment and physical demands and characteristics are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

Physical Demands: Requires physical activity including sitting/standing, lifting and carrying (up to 50 lbs.), up/downstairs, and walking on the museum’s floating docks.

Work Environment: Work is performed in indoor and outdoor environments.


Application Process and Additional Information

Candidates must include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of CRM. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Upload required documents to: https://eostransitions.applicantpool.com/jobs/.


This executive search is being conducted by Eos Transition Partners consultant, Erin Cox. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential, and any questions can be submitted to Erin at: ecox@eostransitions.com.

133 Federal Street, Suite 802 | Boston, MA 02110
Phone: 617.426.2606
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