Museum of the Southwest




Midland, TX

Application Deadline: April 5, 2018

Opportunity to lead a vibrant and expanding, accredited 3-museum complex in a philanthropic city in one of the strongest growth regions of the country


The Museum of the Southwest (MSW) seeks an enterprising Executive Director to lead the next phases of its advancement and renovations, as well as to maintain its dynamic public programming including a robust schedule of special events. An energetic Director will be an excellent manager and fundraiser, knowledgeable of non-profit accounting practices; will run a capital campaign, ensure facilities oversight and implement major capital improvements. The Executive Director will oversee an active annual schedule of public and special events, and seize opportunities to enhance the collection and engage new audiences across the three Museum platforms of the Juliette and Fred Turner, Jr. Memorial Art Museum, the Fredda Turner Durham Children's Museum and the Marian West and William Blanton Blakemore Planetarium. The Board of Trustees, Executive Director and Staff will work closely in a mutually supportive environment for committee work, special events and community engagement.

The MSW offers varied programing to over 100,000 visitors annually in a complex of three museums located on a beautiful 5-acre campus with sculpture grounds. The original 1937 Turner family estate was donated in 1968 to become the home for the newly founded (1966) art museum. In 2016, MSW celebrated its 50th anniversary, and today the Museum’s annual budget of about $1.5 million supports its growing collection, changing exhibitions, extensive educational programs and public events, and a staff of 22 (11 full time).

MSW has grown rapidly and is continually renovating and advancing. In 2009, the Planetarium was renovated with expanded seating and added classroom space, and in 2015, with a Digistar 5 Digital Planetarium system. In 2016, the MSW reopened the renovated Art Museum completing Phase I of a planned 3-phase capital project. Many of the Turner mansion’s elegant architectural features were preserved and the building was updated with entirely new galleries and offices. Moving forward, the new Director will lead Phase II, which will completely update the interior of the Children’s Museum and will also bridge science and the arts at all 3 museums. Phase III will be envisioned by the new Director; however, updates to the Planetarium exhibitions are under consideration, and a second possible renovation would involve creating a combined visitor center and special-events center by renovating the original stables for public use. 

 Fred T. and Novadean Hogan Gallery.  Juliette and Fred Turner, Jr. Memorial Art Museum

Fred T. and Novadean Hogan Gallery.  Juliette and Fred Turner, Jr. Memorial Art Museum

The Executive Director will work with the board and staff to refine and shape a vision and finalize plans for the next decade of the Museum. Fundraising is complete for the recently renovated Art Museum. The Director will work with staff, board and the community on Phase II to shape the vision and finalize the renovation plans for the Children’s Museum, and to build on MSW’s institutional strengths by creating new exhibition and program opportunities. Phase III of the master plan will follow.  

MSW offers a multidisciplinary approach to experiencing artistic creativity, child development, science, and our world and universe. While the art museum is the largest campus facility, each of the components of MSW offers potential to further impact the region as one of the leading cultural experiences in West Texas. The Museum has a very robust program of special exhibitions, community events, and hands-on learning experiences. MSW holds a collection of 1,600 artworks emphasizing Southwest art of the 19th and 20th centuries, including a full representation of the artists of the Taos School. The collection covers all mediums, including outdoor sculpture, and also features Southwest Indian art as well as regional historical objects and archaeological research material.

The Board of MSW is eager to advance the vision, master plan and renovations, and will support the new Director's fundraising efforts to provide the resources for implementing these ambitious and enterprising goals. The new Director will find a welcoming community that regards MSW as one of its most important treasures and resources. The position comes with a competitive salary plus benefits and on-site housing.  

MSW’s West Texas location means the Director will benefit from a friendly community with significant oil wealth, a new performing arts center, a sunny and mild high-desert climate, and a convenient airport. The 6-million-population Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is a 4½-hour drive away, and the international art destination Marfa is 3 hours away.   

 Partial view of the museum's 5-acre campus

Partial view of the museum's 5-acre campus


The next Executive Director should have the following qualities and credentials:

  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience directing a museum, or in a leadership position directing a significant department in a large institution
  • Primary expertise in museum management.  Art experience is preferred though other fields of expertise could be children’s or science museums, particularly astronomy
  • Bachelor’s degree in related field; Master’s or advanced degree preferred
  • Exceptional leadership and communication skills, mentoring and supportive
  • An enterprising leader with vision and an ability to build donor and community relations
  • Fundraising expertise including ability to manage a capital campaign and work with major donors, collectors, and grantors
  • Thorough knowledge of museum management, budgeting and non-profit financial oversight, and best practices for an AAM-accredited museum
  • Ability to delegate. Trusting and supportive
  • An experienced project manager with proven ability to manage staff, budgets and programs
  • Ability to manage a campus of facilities including building and renovation projects. Experience working with a general contractor is desirable
  • A visionary with a multi-disciplinary appreciation for art, history and science as well as the role museums play in developmental learning
  • Ability to work closely with an engaged board, volunteers and community
  • Interest in museum education programs especially for children (and also for adult learners), and the ways in which minds are developed and all ages are inspired through the arts and sciences
  • Collaborative, hands-on leader, high energy, multi-tasker, sociable, and with a sense of humor
  • Networker, communicator and chief spokesperson for the Museum, and a strong advocate for the ways cultural experiences impact quality of life and learning
  • Computer proficient
  • Appreciation for West Texas lifestyle and small-community friendliness.
 One of the free Summer Lawn Concerts

One of the free Summer Lawn Concerts


Reporting to the Board, the Executive Director is responsible for overall strategic planning and vision, administration, financial management, fundraising, program development, personnel administration, and community and Board relations. Primary responsibilities include:

Mission and Program 

  • Leads development of strategic plans and programs, best practices, and policies to ensure continued AAM accreditation.
  • Prepares and operates within board-approved annual and capital budgets.
  • Oversees execution of exhibits and interdisciplinary programs for the 3 museums in the areas of art, science, and youth education.
  • Oversees the collections, including acquisitions and growth, refinement and conservation
  • Ensures the smooth operation of the 3 Museums.  Oversees maintenance and renovations of the campus buildings and the updating of technology resources
  • Works with Board, Volunteers and Staff to deliver special events in support of the Museum
 Youth and family activities in the Fredda Turner Dunham Children's Museum

Youth and family activities in the Fredda Turner Dunham Children's Museum


  • Oversees and expands all fundraising activities and relationships including individual giving, foundation and corporate grants, and sponsorship support
  • Actively leads capital campaigns
  • Maintains relationships with donors, volunteers, corporate executives and government officials
  • In collaboration with the Board and volunteers, identifies, cultivates and solicits donors and implements annual fundraising events

Staff and Board Development  

  • Promotes active participation by board members and encourages effective board committees, communication channels, meetings, and training
  • Manages staff. Recruits, hires, reviews, coaches and mentors staff 
  • Delegates where appropriate, and encourages collaboration, teamwork and cross-departmental support
  • Cultivates and encourages participation of members of the Board of Governors, a group of long-term supporters who serve in an advisory and donor capacity. 

Public Awareness and Marketing  

  • Works with staff to maintain and update the marketing plan to increase visibility of programs and services; ensures effective public relations and media coverage
  • Promotes a welcoming environment for visitors; and serves as the public face of the institution
  • Encourages partnerships with professional organizations and community agencies
 Children's Museum building by Architect Lawrence Connolly

Children's Museum building by Architect Lawrence Connolly


Midland is a friendly and highly philanthropic community that supports the arts and welcomes and responds to vision. Although its roots are in the oil and gas industries that prospered in the Permian Basin, increasingly the Midland area attracts global businesses and professionals from around the world.  It was recently named one of the top 10 cities in America for millennial home ownership. Technology, education, and health sciences are rapidly growing arenas for new business. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Odessa College, and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center are located in adjacent Odessa. Midland has a population of 133,000, and the Midland-Odessa metropolitan-area population is estimated to be 325,000.  It was the fastest growing region in the United States from 2011-2015 according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment in Midland was 3.6%, rating it among the top 100 lowest unemployment cities in America. Thirty percent of the region's population is Hispanic in origin, and the multicultural history of the region provides an opportunity for further audience growth and engagement. 

 Downtown Midland

Downtown Midland

Midland has an attractive Sunbelt climate with an average 266 sunny days per year, mild short winters and extended warm weather ten months of the year, with low humidity in summer, permitting nearly year-round outdoor recreation.  Nature lovers can enjoy hiking and birding at the I-20 Wildlife Preserve and at Odessa’s Comanche Trails Park, or visit the Odessa Meteor Crater. Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park or Carlsbad Caverns can be explored over a weekend visit, and in winter skiers enjoy the mountains of eastern New Mexico 5 hours away. 

Midland and Odessa are home to a variety of cultural organizations and performance venues, including the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center, opened in 2011, which hosts musical concerts, ballet, and symphonic performances bringing some of the biggest names in entertainment. The Globe Theater presents classical and modern plays using a replica of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan stage, and the Midland Community Theatre and the Permian Playhouse host theater performances as well. Lovers of symphony and opera can enjoy performances of the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale and the Midland Opera Theater. Midland has 6 museums, including MSW’s 3 museums and the large, interactive Petroleum Museum. Midland is also the gateway to Marfa, the international contemporary art destination.  

Midland is home to three professional sports teams: the RockHounds baseball team, United Sockers soccer team, and Drillers football team, plus Odessa offers the Jackalopes hockey team. Sports enthusiasts can follow the annual Sandhills Horse Show and Rodeo and may know the Permian High School Panthers football team, which has won many championships and was immortalized in the book, movie and TV series “Friday Night Lights.” 

Nominations and applications are welcome. This is an exciting opportunity, after a period of transitions, to lead the major cultural institution in one of the fastest growing regions in the country and to connect vision, programs and community through the next phase of MSW’s renovation and development.

How to Apply

Apply in confidence: Email cover letter, résumé (Word document preferred), salary requirement, and names of 3 references with contact information by April 5, 2018 to retained search firm: Dan Keegan and Marilyn Hoffman, Museum Search & Reference,  EOE.  References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant.