Louisiana Art & Science Museum

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Baton Rouge, LA

Application Deadline:  August 20, 2018

Opportunity to lead a dynamic multi-discipline museum in Louisiana’s second largest city and one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. 


The Louisiana Art and Science Museum (LASM) seeks its next President and Executive Director in anticipation of the retirement of its current Executive Director, Carol Gikas, after 39 years of service to the Museum and the community. The next Executive Director will be an exceptional leader and colleague, passionate about art and science, dedicated to the role of museums in communities, and a champion of education and museum learning experiences specifically. Curious by nature, collaborative and dedicated to the community served, the Director will lead the Museum forward as it develops strategies that continue to grow financial support, build audiences, promote lifelong learning and ensure best museum practices. The Executive Director will oversee an active annual schedule of exhibitions, education and public programs, and special events that encourage discovery, inspire creativity and build audiences inspired by the intersection of art and science.

First opened in 1962, the LASM is private 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation housed in a historic railroad depot on the banks of the Mississippi River and offers diverse programs for visitors of all ages in over 87,000 sq. ft. of space. The Museum welcomes over 180,000 visitors annually through its diverse family centered programs, exhibitions, and art and science offerings. 95,000 schoolchildren participate in its many education programs including 15,000 children who are “Summer Campers.” The Museum has a senior staff of four reporting to the Executive Director and a total staff of 26. The annual budget of $2.3 million is funded through a combination of major support from the Parish of East Baton Rouge, which owns the facility, and other contributed and earned revenues. The LASM enjoys broad support from over 100 community partners. The galleries showcase changing fine art exhibitions and selections from the permanent collection. Several interactive science and art studios are designed just for children. The Irene W. Pennington Planetarium was opened in 2003 and to date has seen 1 million visitors enjoy the marvels of the universe through its new 4K laser projecting system. The Planetarium seats 171 people, features 8 major sky shows annually, large format movies, family shows, special events and visual music presentations. 500,000 school children have experienced the Planetarium and its interactive exhibits since 2003.

The Museum has grown significantly over the years. Under the leadership of retiring Executive Director Carol Gikas, LASM has experienced significant attendance, membership, and physical growth. The LASM is among the region’s top attractions and annually receives high praise for its programs, exhibitions and service to learning for visitors of all ages. The Museum is poised to build on these successes and prepare for its next generation of audiences and supporters. The permanent collection includes over 4,000 objects of fine arts and crafts, ethnographic artifacts, and natural science. The endowment is $3.1 million and total investments dedicated to the Museum from all sources stand at $3.8 million.

The fundamental big idea guiding LASM is that art and science shape each other, our lives and the world. Its major themes are Discovery, Creativity, Relationships and Connections. LASM thus offers a multidisciplinary approach to artistic creativity, science, child development and our world and universe. At its core is service to families.

The Executive Director will work with the board and staff at an important time of transition to take stock, review and assess the strategic plan, and develop a vision for the next decade of the Museum in light of other new potentially competing cultural and family attractions in the area and anticipated increasing competition for funding. Opportunities abound with the region’s continued population growth, advancement as a technology center, and longstanding support from the community. Building endowment and securing long-term financial stability, expanding audience and membership, and cultivating new avenues of support are among the highest priorities. The new Director will find a welcoming Baton Rouge community that regards the LASM as one of its most important treasures and resources. The position comes with a competitive salary plus benefits.


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 with budget and staff management responsibility
  • Minimum master’s degree in a related field
  • Thorough knowledge of museum and non-profit management, budgeting, non-profit financial oversight, forecasting, facilities management, capital projects and best practices for an AAM-accredited museum
  • Fundraising experience is essential including major gifts, planned giving, ability to work with major donors, collectors, and grantors including government funders
  • A visionary with a passion for learning, commitment to multidiscipline education and family-focused programming is essential. 
  • Art, science or children’s museum experience is preferred, though other fields of expertise will be considered
  • Exceptional leadership skills; confident, detail–oriented.
  • Creative and enterprising, ability to inspire others, and dedication to the multidiscipline mission of the Museum
  • Collaborative by nature; a mentoring, hands-on leader. High energy, multi-tasker, sociable, and with a sense of humor
  • Ability to work closely with an engaged board, volunteers and community
  • Networker, communicator and chief spokesperson for the Museum, and a strong advocate for the ways cultural experiences impact quality of life and learning
  • Strong people skills with a big heart for the staff and the community
  • Principled leadership, respectful of others, high integrity and trustworthy
  • Appreciation for the Baton Rouge lifestyle and small-community friendliness. 


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 

  • Collaborates with the Board of Trustees to assess and develop the strategic plan. Collaborates with staff to develop Museum programs, best practices, and policies to ensure continued AAM accreditation and an anticipated reaccreditation process to begin around 2020. 
  • Oversees staff development of exhibits and interdisciplinary programs for the Museum in the areas of art, science, and youth education.
  • Ensures proper staff management of the collections, acquisitions and growth, refinement and conservation.
  • Works with senior staff to ensure the smooth operation of the Museum, maintenance and renovations of the facility and the updating of technology and infrastructure resources.
  • Prepares and operates within board-approved annual operating and capital budgets.
  • Cultivates and works with the leadership of East Baton Rouge Parish to ensure continued financial support and upkeep of the Parish-owned Museum building


  • Works with the Director of Development to expand all fundraising activities and relationships including individual giving, foundation, corporate grants, significant local government support, and sponsorships.
  • Actively leads the major fundraising efforts and serves as the chief spokesperson for the Museum.
  • 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  

  • Recruits, hires, reviews, and supports staff. 
  • Leads staff in a collaborative, mentoring and open work environment built on trust and respect
  • Encourages and supports staff professional development
  • Promotes active participation by board members and encourages effective board committees, communication channels, meetings, and training.

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.
  • Maintains a public presence in the community, networking for the benefit of the Museum, and strengthening relationships within the community

About Baton Rouge and the Region

Baton Rouge, the state capitol of Louisiana, has a population of 228,000 with a metropolitan-region population of 830,000. Baton Rouge is a culturally rich and ethnically diverse community. Today the population is 50% African American, 40.8% Caucasian, and the remaining 10% Native American, Latino, and Asian. In 2010 Portfolio Magazine rated Baton Rouge one of the top 10 places for young adults, and the Brookings Institution rated it one of the top 20 cities in North America for economic strength.  

Baton Rouge is one of the fastest growing technology centers of the South and is home to Louisiana State University (LSU), the largest university in the State. It is also home to several other four-year and technical colleges, and both public and private primary and secondary schools. It has an expanding arts scene especially in central downtown that includes the Shaw Center for the Arts, the LSU Museum of Art, the Manship Theatre, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and a performing arts theatre and convention center. The new Knock Knock Children’s Museum opened in 2017. More than $50 million has been committed for the first phase of an international Water Campus along the Mississippi, adjacent to downtown Baton Rouge. Over time, the Water Campus will expand to over 4,000 researchers and support staff and more than 1.6 million square feet of labs, research facilities and commercial space for the study of coastal water threats.

Louisiana is known as a sportsman’s paradise with year-round hunting, fishing, golf and countless other opportunities for outdoor recreation. The State has thousands of hiking and biking trails, beautiful State Parks, and one of the largest game preserves in the United States. Louisiana has a vast expanse of coastal wetlands that make the state a habitat for many rare and endangered species and a natural paradise for bird watchers. Other abundant sports and recreation opportunities exist including LSU’s nationally recognized NCAA programs, and minor league sports that include baseball, football, soccer, basketball and hockey.

Baton Rouge enjoys a warm sub-tropical climate with mild winters and hot humid summers. New Orleans is only 1 hour 30 minutes away and connected by Interstate Highway 10. The Baton Rouge and New Orleans airports offer regular national and international flights daily. 

Nominations and applications are welcome. This is an exciting opportunity to lead one of the major multi-discipline cultural institutions in the South.

How to Apply

Apply in confidence: Email cover letter, résumé (Word document preferred), salary requirement, and names of 3 references with contact information by August 20, 2018 to retained search firm: Dan Keegan and Marilyn Hoffman, Museum Search & Reference, SearchandRef@museum-search.com.  EOE.  References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant.