Associate Vice President, Exhibitions

Natural History Museum Los Angeles , CA 90009

Posted 3 months ago

Associate Vice President, Exhibitions

Full-time, Regular

Los Angeles, CA, US

Who We Are:

The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) comprising the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, and the William S. Hart Museum occupies an unrivaled position in the natural and cultural landscape of Los Angeles. Having recently completed a new strategic framework, NHMLAC looks forward to new building projects and campaigns, exhibitions, community outreach, and innovative audience engagement.

During the past ten years, the Natural History Museum (NHM) has restored or renovated more than half of its 220,000 square feet of public space, including the remodeling of the 1913 building and rotunda. Five new permanent exhibitions opened and parking lots and hardscape changed into a new nature destination and learning environment. The NHM Next Campaign, which brought the aforementioned into fruition, breathed new life into the museum.

Located on Museum Row, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum (LBTP) contain the most important and the only consistently active and urban Ice Age fossil excavation site in the world. Adjacent to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum displays Ice Age fossils from 10,000 to 40,000 years ago, including saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and mammoths, that have been found in its asphalt deposits. Currently, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum has been funded for a re-imagination and reconstruction of its facilities. As of the summer of 2019, several architectural plans have been proposed and are under consideration for implementation.

Finally, the William S. Hart Museum is the former home of silent screen actor William S. Hart. Hart left his estate and mansion in Newhall, California, to the County of Los Angeles to be converted into a public park and museum. The museum occupies a 22-room mansion on a 265-acre estate, filled with Western art, Native American artifacts, bison, barnyard animals, hiking trails, and early Hollywood memorabilia.

Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga the Museum's President and Director who led the final phases of the NHM Next Campaign and NHMLAC's Board of Trustees are currently envisioning another major campaign to complete the second phase of this transformation and claim a central place in the newly revitalized Exposition Park. Plans are to create 60,000 square feet of new and renovated public space on the west and south of the current building, looking out on the new Lucas Museum and Expo Park itself, with 12,000 feet of exhibition space and increased collections storage with a striking design of transparent glass to showcase their natural and cultural treasures. In addition, NHMLAC plans to create a multi-purpose theater for events, science exploration, and immersive engagement with the stories of Los Angelesfrom town halls and symposiums to movie nights, in-person lectures, and in-the-field teleconferences with leading scientists for their global patrons and schoolchildren. The total cost of the project is estimated at $60 million, of which $30 million is expected from County support and $30 million from private philanthropy.

About the Position:

NHMLAC is seeking an Associate Vice President, Exhibitions for its Education, Exhibitions, and Programs department. This position will work closely with the Senior Vice President, Education, Exhibitions, and Community Engagement to envision, strategize, and direct projects for new permanent and temporary exhibitions. The position will additionally schedule for the NHM museum expansion project and the LBTP museum re-imagination project, as well as provide a strategic approach to activate the Museums' research & collections and community initiatives to create compelling learning and engagement exhibitions spaces and experiences. The AVP, Exhibitions will play an integral part in the oversight of creating exhibitions that will help us be a museum of, for, and with Los Angeles. It is an exciting time as we embark on new journeys in this initiative.

Responsibilities for this position include, but are not limited to:

  • Overseeing all of NHMLAC exhibition spaces and related programs. This includes permanent, traveling and in-house temporary exhibitions, financial models & budget, content development, design, fabrication and installation of traditional and immersive exhibitions that are strategically and mission-aligned.

  • Conceptualizing and shepherding exhibitions at various stages of design and development while balancing budgets. Strategic and tactical development and implementation of robust exhibition and immersive experiences that fulfill NHMLAC's mission.

  • Providing a fresh approach to exhibition development for public engagement, involving new technology and digital content in creating dynamic forms of engagement in-gallery and on mobile devices, with the goal of sustainability in design and maintenance.

  • Actively collaborating across all departments, especially with Research & Collections and Education in order to ensure that NHMLAC's exhibition experiences highlight the strength of the collections, feature the research of our curators, and are relevant to schools, teachers, families, and public audiences. Encourage early prototyping with the curatorial and education team, and seek participation with the marketing and communications, operations, and fundraising teams.

  • Capacity to manage overall budgets, engage in organizational goal setting, and address problems collegially, fairly and productively.

  • Strong written skills and ability to be an effective presenter and communicator at every level of the organization, including Executive Staff, the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors.

  • Effective mentorship and communication with dynamic exhibition and design teams with a record of developing staff towards an equitable and inclusive workplace.

  • Overseeing maintenance program of exhibitions to meet the highest standards of public display.

This position has the following requirements:

  • 10+ years' experience working in a museum setting or related field, and wide expertise in exhibition development, planning, management, operations, and maintenance.

  • Strategic thinker who incorporates qualitative and quantitative metrics into the work of evaluating designed experiences. Brings a long-term vision for design and understands how to lead teams along with the evolution of that vision.

  • Knowledge and experience with the design and build process in exhibitions, graphics, and multimedia design. Practice of innovation in design (digital and physical) that is content-based and centered on our diverse visitor communities.

  • Experience with overall budgets, setting project budgets, efficient budget management, long term planning and implementation.

  • Significant management experience with high-performing teams with a proven track record of mentoring and developing opportunities for growth and skill-building.

  • Collaborative team leader with a great combination of competence, generosity of spirit, toughness, and humility. Strong interpersonal skills with proven ability to interact positively and successful with all levels of the organization and community.

  • Experience writing project and grant proposals including fulfilling grant requirements.

  • Passion for communicating about our natural and cultural world to the broadest possible audience.

  • B.A. or B.S. from an accredited institution. Masters or Ph.D. preferred.

The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County is especially interested in candidates whose background and experience have prepared them to contribute to our commitment to engagement and inclusion at culturally diverse audiences in museums and in the sciences.

The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County is seeking applicants who have demonstrated experience and commitment working with a diverse community. Salary is commensurate with experience plus excellent benefits. This is a full time regular, exempt position.

A cover letter, a current resume, and list of 3-4 references are required for all applicants. Review of applications begins immediately and continues until position is filled. Interested candidates please visit and click the link of the position for which you are interested or go directly to the online application.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Please email for any application inquiries.

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Associate Vice President, Exhibitions

Natural History Museum