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Executive Director

Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA)
Bloomington, Indiana
$145,000 – 165,000 per annum (commensurate with experience)
Closing date
Jan 7, 2023

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Position Type
Executive / President
Cultural Anthropology
Full Time
Museum Studies
Organization Type
Level of Experience

We are pleased to announce an exceptional opportunity for a dynamic and forward-thinking cross-discipline museum professional to serve as Executive Director of the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA). Having just completed an $11M renovation, the new IUMAA combines two previous institutions on the Indiana University (IU) Bloomington campus, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, both of which cared for and presented world-class collections of material culture. IUMAA is also entrusted with the stewardship of Angel Mounds State Historic site following the Museum’s complete repatriation of native remains and an accompanying initiative to catalogue and preserve a trove of objects in ongoing conversation and collaboration with tribal nations and their descendants. The Museum is slated to open to the University and the public in the Fall of 2023.


Background and Mission


The fundamental mission of the IUMAA is to bring university, Indigenous, and public audiences together in a progressive and respectful dialogue that increases knowledge of the material world in the service of social justice and environmental stewardship. Simultaneously a museum as well as a research and teaching center, the new IUMAA brings together the robust collections formerly administered as part of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, creating exciting learning and presentation opportunities for Indiana University, as well as its partners, students, researchers, and community visitors. IMUAA curators work alongside diverse groups of people to bring multiple perspectives to a collection of more than 5 million archaeological and ethnographic objects and 20,000+ photographs, paving new pathways for research and promoting fresh connections between people and objects. Along these lines, the Museum seeks to catalyze novel approaches to object-based teaching and pedagogy, advancing an understanding of how knowledge itself is created. As the home of global collections and affiliated scholars with expertise across the world, the new Museum operates as a gateway for knowledge exchange, expanding cultural understanding for Indiana residents, IU students, and other stakeholders.


The Opportunity


The Executive Director of the IUMAA will benefit from the significant potential and opportunity afforded to this role at this time in history. Reporting to IU’s Associate Vice President for Research, the Executive Director will have access to a vast network of university resources and talent to re-imagine the Museum’s collections in the service of promoting new appreciation, dialogue, and wider recognition for IUMAA. The Museum’s accessible exhibition and design philosophy reveals on many levels the complex histories of, and relationships between, the material objects it holds. Situated within a top-notch research university, the IUMAA can access and involve skilled researchers with a wide variety of expertise and interests, and the successful candidate may be considered for formal academic affiliations, depending on qualifications and interest.


Beyond these vital university connections, building collaborative community relationships is paramount, and continuing to advance communications with tribal elders and descendant communities is particularly critical. The new director will bring a passion for the mission as well as the connections, content knowledge, and demonstrated experience in ethical museum practices needed to align IUMAA’s mission and goals with those of the university and partners throughout the world.


The Executive Director is responsible for the operations of the Museum, including setting and implementing the Museum’s direction, managing its budget, expanding its financial support, and developing new in-person and online audiences. The Director must have a strong vision and high degree of professionalism to effectively mobilize and activate the Museum’s efforts to develop relationships that strengthen the Museum. The successful candidate will exhibit proficiency in fundraising and financial management and have a thorough understanding of legal and ethical museum management, including NAGPRA. They will also be cognizant of the broader political and cultural implications around repatriation, and familiar with the complex political, legal, and cultural milieu of Native American and global Indigenous peoples.


The Executive Director will oversee a staff of 14 professionals—including curatorial, exhibitions, collections, and education staff—who have been working to merge the two institutions, plan its renovation, move the collections, and develop the Museum’s inaugural exhibitions. IUMAA recently created a new position, Curator of Public Archaeology, to advance the visibility and success of IU’s initiatives to partner with tribal elders and descendent communities throughout the University. As such, the successful candidate will demonstrate a spirit of mentorship, inclusiveness, and approachability; an empathetic ability to develop authentic relationships, inspiring and engendering respect; and the willingness to be an undeterred advocate for the Museum.


With a significant level of autonomy, the Executive Director will deliver on success measures as determined by IU’s Associate Vice President of Research, the Provost, and the Executive Vice President of IU. The IU Research Office provides shared services support in the areas of finance, communications and marketing, human resources, and information technology. A shared development officer is assigned to help raise private support for IUMAA.


Responsibilities and Expectations


  • Lead the design, development, and execution of the strategic plan for the Museum, including an innovative vision that incorporates new ideas and approaches to exhibitions, educational experiences, and museum events that engage internal and external audiences and attract external funding. Manage financial and development plans that make the most effective use of existing resources and establish mechanisms to garner ongoing external funds to support Museum operations, stewarding existing relationships and cultivating new donors. Lead, motivate, and mentor museum staff to maintain and enhance a creative and inclusive climate, overseeing professional development to support and nurture flexible, cohesive, and high-performing teams and individuals through an approachable and transparent leadership style grounded in advocacy for the Museum and its staff. Assess organizational structure and evaluate the staffing configuration necessary to advance the Museum’s mission with the high level of efficiency required to address its ongoing needs and future direction. Direct and collaborate with museum senior staff to ensure appropriate care and preservation of the Museum’s collections and cultural resources, the acquisition of new artifacts to support research and exhibitions (including, where necessary, deaccessioning decision-making), and presentations that attract the public, scholars, and the University community. Develop and implement processes supporting inclusion, diversity, and equity, cultivating and sustaining an equitable internal working culture. Foster continuing collaboration with tribal elders and descendent communities, working closely with the IU-appointed individual responsible for overseeing University adherence to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Engage researchers and instructors at IU and elsewhere by working with museum staff and a newly created senior research position to ensure appropriate access to the collection. Involve University community, scholars, and the public, as well as internal and external advisory boards, in productive ongoing dialogue to ensure alignment, buy-in, and assistance.



Experience, Skills, and Attributes

  • 5+ years in a senior leadership position(s) at a museum with a substantial related collection. Master’s degree in museum studies, anthropology, public history, public administration, arts administration, historic preservation, or a closely related field is highly preferred, as is experience in a college or university setting. Proven track-record of strategic leadership, preferably at an organization of a similar size and structure, and a realistic approach to managing growth. Demonstrated success in building collaborative relationships with donors, external partners (including Native American tribes and descendent communities), and multiple departments. Expertise in executing outreach and development strategies with a strong background in financial and project management. Excellent verbal and written skills, proven ability to communicate effectively with faculty, staff, Indigenous communities, and the public across multiple disciplines; exceptional analytical and creative problem-solving skills; and strong organizational skills. A professional and highly relational leadership style with experience successfully building and overseeing functional teams with a great deal of approachability, transparency, and trust. Willingness to be a strong advocate for the Museum and the staff at IU, and an ability to effectively navigate University protocols and lines of decision-making. Experience managing collections and a knowledge of current and emerging trends and best practices in archival access, digitization standards, and related technology. Familiarity with collection/exhibition management software a plus.


  • $145,000 – 165,000 per annum (commensurate with experience). The position is based in Bloomington on the IU campus and may allow for some remote flexibility as the Executive Director becomes more familiar with the role. Residency in the surrounding area, preferably Bloomington, would be expected. IU’s benefits package is highly competitive and includes excellent medical coverage, retirement contributions of 10% base salary, and an academic tuition subsidy for the employee, spouse, and dependent children.

Nominations are welcome.

To apply in confidence, email 1) a letter expressing interest in this position and giving brief examples of past related experience; 2) a résumé or CV; 3) names of three references with contact information. Submit application by January 28, 2023 to retained search firm: Suzanne Tan, Museum Search & Reference, References will not be contacted without prior authorization.

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