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Director, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Smithsonian Insitution
Washington D.C.
$224,000 - $260,000
Closing date
Jun 22, 2022

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Position Type
Executive / President
Cultural Anthropology
Full Time
Organization Type
Level of Experience
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The position is located in the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH), a research, collection, and public education unit of the Smithsonian Institution dedicated to the understanding, preservation, and sustainability of diverse cultural traditions in the U.S. and around the world. The Director oversees the management of the Center's programs including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, the Cultural Sustainability Program, research, educational and other activities as well as its administrative and financial affairs.


Provides the intellectual vision, inspiration, dynamism, and overall leadership for the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage ("CFCH" or "the Center"), its staff, its Advisory Council, and its supporters and volunteers while serving as the key communicator and the public face of CFCH to the public and media, artists and cultural communities, scholars, museums, professional organizations, donors, and government entities both domestic and international.

Provides executive leadership and direction to the staff, planning, budgeting for, and overseeing the CFCH's programs and activities which include the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, the Cultural Sustainability Program, scholarly research, media, online, educational, and outreach programs including exhibitions done in collaboration with Smithsonian and other organizations.


Provides executive leadership and direction to the staff, planning, budgeting for, and overseeing public programs and activities on behalf of the Smithsonian that may be undertaken for major national celebrations and commemorations.


Oversees the development, justification, allocation, and execution of the annual operating budget. Works closely with Smithsonian senior officials in the management of the budget.


Plans, directs, and deeply engages in effective fundraising initiatives, including annual fundraising and fundraising for initiatives and for endowments. Works closely with the Advisory Council and with the Smithsonian Advancement Office in identifying needs, assigning priorities, and locating potential donors from private, corporate, and foundation sources.


Oversees, monitors, and pursues appropriate nonprofit business activities, working closely with the Director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Festival concessions, shops, and other operations to assure financial success. Works with Smithsonian Enterprises and other partners, as appropriate, and in accord with Smithsonian policies.


Hires, directs, and coordinates the activities of staff. Develops and implements operating policy, standards, and procedures to assure the continued high quality of staff performance. Ensures that the CFCH adheres to Smithsonian policies and procedures.


Provides leadership for all staff, associates, fellows, and volunteers, directly supervises senior staff and coordinates supervision of all staff in a broad range of program activities, including the achievement of a diverse staff and representation of multiple perspectives in Center programs and activities.


Serves as ex-officio member of the CFCH Advisory Council, working closely with the Chair to organize annual meetings, and with the Council members on issues relevant to the Center and in concert with the Council’s bylaws. Consults with the Folkways Advisory Board and participates in its meetings and deliberations. Duly and respectfully considers advice and counsel in accord with the Folkways purchase and gift agreements and bylaws. Participates with other Smithsonian advisory boards including the Smithsonian National Board, and, as appropriate, the Board of Regents.


Represents the Smithsonian at meetings and conferences with international organizations, foreign governments, federal agencies, educational institutions, research centers, professional organizations to promote and foster the Institution’s folklife, ethnomusicology, vernacular studies and cultural heritage programs and issues of cultural understanding, education, sustainability and policy, and to develop programs of mutual interest for the research, documentation, representation and conservation of traditional and grassroots cultural expression, heritage, and creativity.


Works closely with Smithsonian leadership to achieve the Smithsonian’s mission, improve its effectiveness, efficiency, and relevance. Encourages, explores, and develops joint programs in cooperation with other Smithsonian organizations.


Provides leadership and guidance, working with stakeholders, in defining the goals, objectives and priorities for scholarly research and for collections as well as for their presentation and use in a broad range of programs and products.


Ensures that CFCH research and resultant programs are scholarly, ethical considering disciplinary and human subjects research guidelines, participatory with communities and artists, and respectful and sensitive to the beliefs and traditions of participants.


Ensures that collections are acquired and cared for in a manner consistent with Smithsonian and Center formal agreements, policies, and guidelines.


As a scholar and/or practitioner, makes original contributions to the theory and practice of folklife, ethnomusicology, and/or ethnic, vernacular, cultural, historical, heritage, artistic fields. Publishes books, articles, or makes public presentations on the cultural expressions of communities, on theory, policy, or on the practice of public work.

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