Abbe Museum seeks Executive Director

23 Sep 2019 1:19 PM | Anonymous member


Bar Harbor, Maine

Type: Full-time position; start date January 2, 2020

Required Education: Master’s degree or equivalent experience

Salary: $82K-$87K plus benefits

               Salary negotiable based on experience and proven record of success

With the mission to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit, the Abbe Museum is a decolonizing museum (, offering changing exhibitions and a programming schedule for all ages, welcoming 30,000 visitors each year on Mount Desert Island, Maine, home of Acadia National Park. The museum maintains a collaborative partnership with Wabanaki people that emphasizes Wabanaki self-determination.  The museum also has a long history of partnership with the Park; our Sieur de Monts site is the only remaining trailside museum in the National Park system.

The Abbe is an active member of the International Coalition for the Sites of Conscience and in 2013, the Abbe became the only Smithsonian Affiliate in Maine. Annually, we hire over 30 Native artists and demonstrators to lead programs for schools and public audiences, serve on advisory committees and as content specialists, and we represent over 80 Native artists in our shops, making us an economic engine for tribal communities.

The Abbe Museum has the organizational mandate to decolonize its relationships and practices. We are the among the first non-tribal museums to make this commitment. Through collaborative practice that includes foregrounding Native/Indigenous/First Nations voices and perspectives, respecting the collections and telling the multiple stories of more than 10,000 years of history, and maintaining our commitment to social justice and equity, the Abbe Museum is breaking ground in 21st-century museum practice. We seek actively to promote inclusion and power-sharing in service to and in partnership with Wabanaki and other Native/Indigenous/First Nations communities. The Executive Director and Senior Partner with Wabanaki Nations will coordinate this work on behalf of the Abbe Museum and in collaboration with the Wabanaki peoples.

Candidates should be able to demonstrate history of success working with non-profit organizations, and have a strong record of success in fundraising and cultivation of programs that aid the ongoing financial health of the organization. The successful candidate for this position should have a minimum of five years’ experience working with Native communities, and be able to demonstrate engagement in decolonizing practices. The candidate benefits from a graduate degree or equivalent experience in one of various fields: Indigenous/Native American Studies, Anthropology, Museum Studies, Management, or an associated field. Candidates must have knowledge of and/or demonstrated interest in Wabanaki cultural traditions.


The Executive Director and Senior Partner with Wabanaki Nations supports the Abbe’s vision to review, revise, and implement ongoing strategies that facilitate the mission and goals of decolonizing. They work in partnership with the Board of Trustees and the tribally-appointed Native Advisory Council to establish operational objectives that support the strategic planning. 

The main responsibilities of the Executive Director and Senior Partner with Wabanaki Nations are to:

• Manage the Abbe’s staff, operations, business, and facilities

• Lead development efforts for the museum, including a capital campaign, ongoing fundraising, and grant-seeking programs that meet goals established by the Board

• Lead development of relationships with Indigenous/First Nations/Native communities, pursuing new opportunities for collaboration and partnerships

• Serve as an ambassador for the Abbe, sustaining active involvement in regional and national museum organizations.

The Executive Director and Senior Partner with Wabanaki Nations works at the Abbe’s Bar Harbor headquarters during standard business hours. Evening and weekend activities are not uncommon. Some travel is required, within our region and beyond.  The Executive Director and Senior Partner with Wabanaki Nations reports to the Board of Trustees.

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIESinclude but are not limited to:


The Executive Director and Senior Partner with Wabanaki Nations shall:

• Lead, build, and motivate the organization and its partners, exhibiting a commitment to the organization’s vision of decolonizing, social justice, and equity.

• Work with staff (in consultation with Native Advisory Council) to produce truth-telling exhibits, facilitate engaging programs and respectful research, and steward vibrant collections.

• Lead a process to evaluate and revise the Abbe Museum strategic plan.

• Execute contracts and decisions on behalf of the Abbe (subject to guidance and policies set by the Board of Trustees), maintain records, and communicate clearly with staff colleagues, Board, and Native Advisory Council in a timely manner.

• Manage full-time staff, including training, professional development and annual evaluation.

• Establish and maintain a work environment that facilitates open communication, clearly articulated expectations, and a mutual respect that supports and motivates Abbe employees, contributing to a healthy workplace environment.

 • Engage in discussion with the Native Advisory Council, Board of Trustees, staff, and other invested parties, in a manner that facilitates reflection and constructive dialogue that contributes to the organization’s overall goals.

Fundraising & Finances

The Executive Director and Senior Partner with Wabanaki Nations shall:

• Manage museum assets and finances with oversight from the Board of Trustees.

• Lead the museum’s capital funding campaign, as mandated in the Abbe strategic plan.

• Actively seek, engage, and plan opportunities to obtain funding through grants or donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and governmental agencies with the goal of building and maintaining a dependable income stream for the Abbe.

• Collaborate with the Director of Advancement to identify, recruit, and build productive ongoing relationships with prospective donors through personal contact and fundraising events.

• Oversee and strategically develop earned income streams, including admissions, museum shop, rentals, consulting, and other opportunities.

Relationship Building with the Wabanaki

The Executive Director and Senior Partner with Wabanaki Nations shall:

• Collaborate with Wabanaki Nations and communities across their homelands that include what is now recognized as Maine, New England, Quebec, and the Canadian Maritimes.

• Demonstrate cultural awareness and interest in Wabanaki cultural practices.  Indigenous heritage is advantageous, but not required.

• Demonstrate understanding of settler-colonialism and ability to facilitate decolonizing practices through a lens of social justice and self-determination.

Public and Professional Outreach and Engagement

The Executive Director and Senior Partner with Wabanaki Nations shall:

• Oversee the Abbe Museum’s web presence and communications.

• Represent the Abbe Museum at public and private events.

• Foster and maintain relationships with Bar Harbor businesses, non-profits, and National Park Service personnel.

• Develop relationships with artists and other culture bearers, collectors, business leaders, public officials, professional museum organizations, and media – clearly articulating and acting upon our goal of decolonizing and our ongoing commitment to social justice and equity.

TO APPLY, please email a cover letter indicating previous relevant work, a resume or CV, and contact information for three references to:

Margo Lukens

  Co-Chair, Search Committee

Darren Ranco

  Co-Chair, Search Committee

No phone calls, please.

Review of applications will begin October 15, 2019 and continue as needed.

The Abbe Museum is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on age, sex, gender, ethnicity or cultural affiliation, physical ability, or religion. We encourage applications from Indigenous/First Nations/Native people and intersectional identities including Two-Spirit, LGBTQ, and people of color.

For information on Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island:

for information on Acadia National Park:

For information about living and working in Maine:

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