Our Services:

We at Museum Search & Reference recognize the multifaceted attributes museums look for in their leaders. We can help you identify professionals who want to work at your museum and who have experience with a broad range of activities: managing people and budgets, raising money, overseeing construction and renovation projects, building strong relationships with stakeholders, and inspiring audiences and staff without losing sight of your museum’s mission.

We work for you to recruit top-notch talent, and we identify both experienced and up-and-coming museum leaders for their expertise and fit. Whether current directors or senior professionals, we understand the importance of finding the best candidates to match your museum’s needs.

In addition to placing dozens of museum directors, we have also placed chief curators, deputy directors, directors of education, and other museum leadership, trained and experienced in content-specific areas. We have helped our clients hire curators of American art, Asian art, contemporary art, European art, Islamic art, and South Asian art, as well as museum education and engagement specialists.

We work nationally and internationally from our office in the greater Boston area and our search consultants are located in Washington, DC, Maine and New York State.

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  • Executive Searches

    From drafting the job description and placing ads to recruiting exceptional candidates and writing the employment contract, we provide a full range of search services.

  • Managing Transition

    We recognize that managing transition goes hand-in-hand with changes in leadership and we assist clients in developing a well-managed path forward.

  • Process

    We work side-by-side with you from start to finish. With your designated trustees or senior manager, we together establish the scope of services and, if desired, offer advice on forming a Search Committee. We guide you step-by-step to a successful hire. We do the advertising, recruiting and reference checks for desirable candidates through our extensive networks, and we prepare you to interview candidates and ultimately hire a finalist. We actively stay in touch throughout the process and solicit your ongoing feedback. In addition to taking care of the details of the search process, we can help your Search Committee plan and manage transition tasks that may result with the new hire.

  • Fees

    Our museum-only business focus insures you have our undivided attention for a more reasonable fee than other firms. We always use a fixed fee and never a percentage of salary, and we work with you to determine the scope and fee before the project begins. Except in unusual conditions, we offer a warranty for all of our hires.

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Why Museum Search & Reference

 
 

Museum Search & Reference is devoted to the long-term success of American museums. Our own careers as directors in the museum and non-profit world give us an insiders leg up from which to recruit the leadership you seek.  We are hands-on and deeply networked, and our decades of experience placing talent in museums of all sizes and character, across North America, has led to a distinguished track record.

 

 

 
  • Our clients retain us for repeat business.

    We have conducted multiple searches for a number of museums, including the Peabody Essex Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada.

  • Our database contains over 4,000 museum and art professionals.

    We have direct access to current directors, chief curators, curators, education directors, and other high-level talent. Our insider contacts in the field ensure that we recruit the highest caliber people who are “happy where they are” but are open to the right opportunity match at the right time.

  • We know where the talent is.

    Candidates and nominators return our calls, and are candid with us because we are former museum professionals. Our clients often say our detailed vetting and analysis of candidates surpasses that of other firms. Moreover, our experience and insight as former museum directors insures the best talent available matches institutional needs.

  • We have personal relationships with hundreds of museum directors, senior-level museum leaders, and other museum colleagues.

    Museum industry relationships ensure an experienced candidate pool thoroughly vetted by Museum Search & Reference’s team. Because we are uniquely connected to the museum world, we get immediate responses of nominations and inquiries targeted to the client’s needs.

  • We recruit nationwide and internationally.

    We are online, in-person, wireless and connected utilizing the latest digital tools, social media, and other resources to insure a deep dive into candidate research.

  • Clients say that our detailed screening and analysis of candidates surpasses that of other firms.

    We do extensive reference-checking early on, ensuring clients fewer surprises during interviews and on the job once hired.

  • We have experience with searches throughout the United States.

    Museum Search & Reference has presented candidates from California and Alaska to New York and Florida, and internationally including Canada, Europe and the Middle East.

  • We have met the demands of recruiting to challenging locations.

    Great communities exist everywhere. Places where we have conducted successful searches include Vermillion, SD; Lincoln, NE; St. Johnsbury, VT; and Grand Rapids and Holland, MI. We have worldwide contacts, but we also discover which candidates prefer smaller cities or large metropolitan areas.

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Our Team

 
 

Our team of former museum and non-profit directors know the museum field inside out, know the nuts and bolts of executive leadership, and know the challenges of today’s job market. We are here to help.

Finding new leadership for museums is one part of the challenge. Finding the right leaders with vision to match the goals and aspirations of those museums is what distinguishes Museum Search & Reference.

 

 

 

Senior Search Consultants:

Marilyn Hoffman

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Marilyn Hoffman has been successfully placing professionals at museums and nonprofits since 2004.  Her extensive national networks have grown rapidly, along with her firm.  Hoffman had a 25-year museum career, capped by 18 years as a successful and respected museum director.

At age 27, she became Director of the Fuller Museum in Brockton, MA, and then took the helm of one of the top 100 art museums in North America, The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH.  She previously held two curator posts and educator positions at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the RISD Museum in Providence, RI.  Hoffman serves on many boards and advisory committees, and often presents at NEMA. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Art History from Brown University

Dan Keegan

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Dan Keegan joined the firm in the fall of 2016 as a consultant for art museum searches.  Keegan, a long-term AAMD member, was for 8 years Executive Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, where he built the collection by over 2,000 works, grew the endowment from $26 to $65 million and raised $34 million for renovations and a new lake-facing addition, expanding the iconic Santiago Calatrava building. Previously he directed the San Jose Museum of Art.  Dan retired from the Milwaukee Art Museum in May 2016 to Upstate New York.

Connie Rosemont

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Connie Rosemont joined the firm in 2014 as a consultant for museum searches and has recruited with the firm for both director and curator searches. Previously, she was the co-founder and Executive Director of an independent movie theater and has significant business start-up and audience engagement experience.  She was the 2011 winner of the New Hampshire Governor’s Arts Leadership award, and she brings a strong executive-director and fundraising background to bear on leadership searches. She has served on several cultural and economic development boards, has a background in Chinese art history and literature, and speaks fluent Mandarin.  Connie holds a BA and MA from Johns Hopkins University and is based in Washington, DC.

Scott Stevens

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Scott Stevens joined the firm in 2016 and has been collaborating as a consultant for history museum searches.  Stevens was the Executive Director of the Museums of Old York in York, Maine for 15 years and now leads a historic-preservation firm in Maine. Previously, Scott directed the Ethan Allen Homestead Trust in Vermont.  He is a graduate of the Cooperstown Graduate Program and also holds an MAT from Brown University.


Administrative Staff

Leigh Lisauskas

Search Project Manager

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Leigh Lisauskas joined the firm in 2008. She has 20+ years Executive/Administrative experience with corporate firms.

Gabriela Case

Office Assistant

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Gabriela Case joined the firm in 2015. Most recently, she worked for the New Hampshire Historical Society and the Currier Museum of Art.

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FAQs

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

+ We’ve never used a Search Firm before. How does it work?

We can submit a proposal describing our approach, process and scope of work, based on your search needs. You provide the Search Committee or Team. Once familiar with your goals, we partner with you step-by-step to draft a job/candidate profile and to determine how best to advertise the position. After that, we do the pro-active recruiting and candidate vetting, including reference checks. We submit a vetted pool of candidates to your search committee, so you can chose whom to interview. We work with the search committee all the way through to the hire, helping you to design interviews (and often attending them) and offering counsel when it is time to make an offer. After the offer is accepted, we can help you announce the position and set up onboarding steps – everything you need to ensure a successful and lasting hire.

+ How long does a search generally take?

Searches can vary depending on many factors. However, generally speaking, searches take six months from the time of engaging our firm to candidate hiring and relocation. Once we have agreed to a timeline, we are known for keeping the search on track.

+ How are candidates presented to the search committee?

We present a pool of candidates, each with their own dossier, to the Search Committee for an agreed-upon deadline. Active, qualified candidates are thoroughly vetted beforehand, and their dossiers will include a CV, cover letter, and detailed analytical profile from us including overview narrative, career history, salary requirement, strengths and weaknesses, reference feedback, fit and interest, and the intangibles that help make the case for the candidate. These profiles are used by the search committee for comparative analysis, to select semifinalists and conduct interviews. Clients tell us our presentations and reports surpass those of other firms.

+ How deep are your networks for recruiting nationally and internationally, and for diversity?

Our team of consultants has uniquely deep ties in the museum industry and beyond into the nonprofit, university and trustee worlds. We network regularly through AAM, AAMD, AASLH and regional organizations, and we actively recruit for diversity. We recruit nationwide and internationally and have placed international candidates.

+ What is your record of successful placements?

We offer a warranty with all our searches, and our track record of successful searches is top-notch, and one of the best in the industry. Success comes from listening well to our clients, properly scoping the nature of the job and the goals of the museum, and recruiting and vetting candidates for the best match possible.

+ Who in the firm would actually lead our search?

While growing, our firm remains small enough to provide exceptional service to our clients. Principal Marilyn Hoffman oversees and participates in all searches, usually attending “scoping interviews” at the start and facilitating search-committee meetings and interviews. A Senior Search Consultant who is the best fit to your needs will partner with you as well, bringing additional strength to the recruiting and vetting process. Our entire consultant team and staff contribute to exceeding your expectations for availability and service.

+ How do you follow the ethics of the executive-transition and search professions?

We belong to the national organization of Executive Transition Management Consultants, and follow their professional ethics and practices, as well as those of the museum profession. We avoid “parallel processing,” that is, accepting searches that could result in a conflict of interest. Beyond just following the rules, we are mission-driven. Our work is not just a business. Helping your museum to thrive is paramount.

+ How are your fees established?

We always charge a fixed fee for our search services – never a percentage of negotiated salary – to avoid a conflict of interest and to ensure you can control costs. Our fees vary depending on position level, organizational scale, and scope of services needed. Contact us if you’d like an estimate of fees, including estimated expenses.