Collections Division Administrator | Wisconsin Historical Society

Employment Information

Collections Division Administrator


Collections Division Administrator | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories.

At its core, the Society believes that increasing the public's knowledge of history has profound societal, cultural and economic benefit. Its collections, historic sites and museums, historic preservation office and extensive educational programs are highly regarded by peers and historical scholars throughout the world. Through a wide range of programs and services at many sites throughout the state, it serves millions of people every year.

The Wisconsin Historical Society seeks a professional with an abiding passion for history and a strong commitment to public service who can work with a team to create and implement strategy, set priorities and goals, and execute ideas with specific, goal-driven objectives and procedures.

The ideal candidate is a proven collaborative, inclusive leader, with deep experience in managing multiple programs or teams simultaneously and carrying forward major new projects. Other important experience should include leading a team who leads others and supporting a large team through processes and problem-solving to achieve new and ambitious goals. Fundraising experience is a plus.

Ability to Build and Nurture Positive Organizational Culture. The position requires the knowledge of effective practices in collaborative leadership, team building, and building positive organizational culture and morale. Demonstrated ability in collegial management and providing clear direction, inspiration and guidance to a highly trained, educated and dedicated team is essential. The candidate should have the ability to put theory into practice with equal emphasis, with knowledge of museum studies theory and experience in making practical use of that knowledge.

The ability to build excellent working relationships with other division leaders, staff and colleagues in the larger institution, and with potential partners outside the institution that would aid the goals and mission of the Society is essential.

The Society seeks a servant-leader who leads with knowledge, humility, confidence, patience, diplomacy, fairness and transparency.  

Management Acumen. The successful candidate will have developed well-honed leadership skills, and ability to inspire and support diverse staff, to work as a team member with other Division Administrators at the Wisconsin Historical Society and to articulate the roles and needs of the Division to the Society’s Director. Strong leadership includes an ability to articulate the Society’s mission, vision and values for the division; an ability to direct teams in rapidly changing environments; decision making, interpersonal, planning and organizational skills; and solid presentation, negotiation, problem solving, conflict resolution and meeting management skills.

Expertise in Collections Administration. The Society is seeking an Administrator with a proven record as a forward-thinking leader with a strong network of colleagues and associates in relevant fields with an interest in the best practices of twenty-first century collection-based organizations.

At least eight years of strong leadership and management experience in collections administration is needed.  Experience as a direct supervisor of a leadership team that have expert staff reporting to them is highly desirable.

Program Management Skills. Knowledge of and ability to implement the principles and practices of program planning and project management is highly desirable, as are knowledge and skills in strategic and tactical planning and implementation and the ability to establish work priorities and address problems in a resourceful and skillful manner.

Strong External Relations and Communications Skills. An ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with state officials and University of Wisconsin administrators, provosts, deans and others is necessary, as are excellent interpersonal communication skills and ability to develop, strengthen and maintain relations with numerous people and organizations.

The successful candidate will also have knowledge of and ability to prepare effective proposals for grant funding and for gifts, endowments and bequests, and strong public speaking skills with ability to speak/present to many different types of groups of various audience sizes.

Additional required skills include:  an ability to prepare and manage budgets; strong ability to write clearly and concisely, and to be able to prepare clear, concise and complete analyses, reports, and supporting documentation; strong organizational skills and ability to manage and understand complex and intellectually challenging subjects; and the ability to exercise judgment and discretion in applying and interpreting administrative policies and procedures.

Skill and proficiency in Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint would be very helpful. The position also requires an ability to travel independently throughout the State, the Midwest and nationally.

A Master’s Degree in History, American Studies, Library Science or related field is required. The Collections Division Administrator must be conversant with a broad range of history subjects and understand how research is conducted in a wide variety of disciplines to guide the development of the collections and the services provided to all researchers.  The Administrator must also have a thorough understanding of how a unified collection operation of libraries, archives and artifacts functions.

The salary for this unclassified position will not be less than $110,000 per year depending on qualifications and includes a robust benefits package.

Applications and nominations for the position of Collections Division Administrator for the Wisconsin Historical Society are being received by Kittleman & Associates, LLC. To apply, please electronically submit a cover letter addressing qualifications for this position and a resume with five professional references attached (references will not be contacted without prior permission). Questions may be directed to Sunny Fischer at

Materials will be evaluated, and the most qualified applicants will be invited to participate in the next step of the selection process. The Wisconsin Historical Society is an equal opportunity employer.

For more information about the Wisconsin Historical Society, visit

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