Maine Maritime Museum
The world-renowned Maine Maritime Museum (MMM) in beautiful Bath, Maine, seeks an Executive Director to lead the institution, with its dedicated board, staff, and volunteers, into its seventh decade. Located on the site of a historic shipyard on the Kennebec River, MMM offers museum exhibits, traditional crafts (including boatbuilding), a research library, a remarkable collection of wooden watercraft, river and ocean excursions, and a wide array of educational programs to 50,000 visitors annually.
The new director will respect the museum’s institutional history while helping to build consensus on a vision for the future and playing a key role in managing a long-range plan currently in preparation. They will manage a strong financial operation deftly and transparently to achieve thoughtful, sustainable growth in staff and facilities. The director will be an enthusiastic and effective public face of the museum, engaging with and participating in the community in Bath and the surrounding region.
• Leading a museum whose cultural assets, financial condition, and human resources comprise a strong foundation for further growth.
• Working with a supportive board with deep institutional history and many skills.
• Leading a talented and compatible staff.
• Living in a scenic area with easy access to the water, wilderness, mountains, urban areas, and cultural life.
• Restoring appropriate board and staff roles after an extended period without a permanent executive director.
• Setting priorities among diverse interests to focus resources and promote further sustainability.
• Balancing the maintenance of valued institutional traditions with the adoption of new ways of reaching and expanding our audience.
• Addressing recent incidents that could be viewed as affecting MMM’s public image, including a recent accident involving the Museum’s schooner, Mary E, and a protracted transition in leadership.
The successful candidate will be a museum professional whose understanding of current issues and best practices in the museum field has helped create a record of accomplishment as an institutional leader. Enthusiasm for the central role of maritime history in the nation’s story will be essential, along with a willingness to increase whatever knowledge of that history this person brings to the position.
This leader will relish engaging staff, volunteers, and the board in shaping and fulfilling the museum’s mission. They will not be shy about promoting and raising money for the museum. The new director will be an effective public face of the museum and a builder of partnerships.
Skills in management of people and processes will help them refine a well-functioning operation. They will be an adept financial manager able and willing to keep the board and staff appropriately informed to fulfill their duties.
• Coordinating completion of a comprehensive long-range plan incorporating departmental plans being formulated by senior staff.
• Developing for board approval an annual operating plan and budget in pursuit of the long- range plan.
• Oversight of 20 full-time, 5 part-time, and 25 seasonal staff, and 237 volunteers. Hiring and evaluating paid staff.
• Managing an annual operating budget of $3 million—with independent projects of $1–$2 million at any given time—and transparently reporting to the board on finances.
• Working with the development director and board members to cultivate and solicit contributions from individuals and businesses. Oversight of grant-writing for projects.
• Representing the museum in the community and region and with the media.
• B.A. in United States history or a related subject. M.A. in museum studies or public history, or the equivalent in education and experience.
• At least three years’ successful management of a museum or museum department.
• A record of collaborative, team-based staff leadership and productive relationships with boards.
• Demonstrated skills in expository writing and public speaking.
• Experience managing effective public relations.
• A record of successful fiscal management and transparency.
About the Museum
MMM originated in the Marine Research Society of Bath, formed in 1962 to support research and publication of a monograph on the history of shipbuilding in the Bath area and “to establish and maintain a museum” dedicated to the same subject, which opened in 1964. In the 1970s, it acquired the grounds of what had been three nineteenth-century shipyards, chief among them being the Percy and Small Shipyard. The now 21-acre campus (half of it conserved wetlands) fronting the Kennebec River has been the museum’s home ever since.
The centerpiece of the museum is a permanent exhibit entitled A Shipyard in Maine: Percy & Small and the Great Schooners, which features five historic buildings: the mould loft, the paint and treenail shop, the mill and joinery shop, and the caulker’s shed and its pitch oven. An open- air interpretation of the shipyard’s blacksmith shop, complete with a working forge, occupies the site of the original, which was torn down in 1939. The museum’s oldest building is the 1868 residence of shipbuilder William T. Donnell, who later sold his yard to Percy and Small.
Dominating the museum campus is an evocation of the schooner Wyoming of 1909, one of the largest wooden vessels ever built. Life-sized outlines of the bow and the stern, as well as six masts, are situated where the ship was built.
The climate-controlled Maritime History Building, built in 1989, features three permanent exhibits—A Maritime History of Maine, A Shipyard in Maine: Percy & Small and the Great Schooners, and Into the Lantern: A Lighthouse Experience. Permanent exhibits in other parts of the campus include “Snow Squall”: An American Clipper, featuring the forefoot of an 1851 ship built in South Portland and recovered from the Falkland Islands in the 1980s; BIW: Building America’s Navy; Honing the Edge: The Apprenticeshop at 40; and Lobstering and the Maine Coast. The William T. Donnell House, built in 1868 for the owner of what was then the Deering and Donnell Shipyard, and the Mary E, a 1906 Bath-built fishing schooner, are also major exhibits.
The collections database comprises more than 34,000 records of artifacts, paintings, photographs, ships’ plans, ephemera, and manuscripts. The museum has also accessioned more than 100 watercraft, in addition to the Mary E, including working and recreational vessels from Maine’s inland and coastal waters, from a Wabanaki canoe and an 11-foot-long gunning skiff (1910), to Eight Bells (1928), a 28-foot-long lobster boat once owned by artist N. C. Wyeth.
The Nathan R. Lipfert Research Library houses some 15,000 books and journals, as well as nearly 400 logbooks and diaries. The museum holds approximately 2,300 linear feet of personal
manuscripts and corporate archives in more than 650 collections ranging in size from single bound volumes to hundreds of boxes. The museum is also home to one of the largest photo collections in the state, with more than 130,000 images.
MMM has a diverse range of educational programs. Since 1995, the museum’s Discovery Boatbuilding Program has taught traditional boatbuilding as a vehicle for STEM education to students from schools in four Maine towns. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)- funded Sense of Place caters to over 600 students in grades 2, 4, and 7 from six schools who enjoy several field trips to the museum over the course of the academic year. In 2021, the museum embarked on its first collaborative effort with a college or university. MMM educators co-taught the Introduction to Africana Studies course at Bowdoin College. This brought themes of the African Diaspora and the African American experience learned in the classroom to a new interpretation of archival documents and artifacts held in MMM’s collection. The work, funded in part by the NEH, culminated in Cotton Town: Maine’s Economic Connection to Slavery, a student-curated exhibit that opened in December.
In July 2021, the Museum’s recently restored schooner Mary E, suffered a knockdown while on a passenger cruise in the Kennebec River. The cause of the incident is currently the subject of an on-going Coast Guard investigation. The Museum is discussing its future plans for the vessel with all appropriate parties.
MMM employees characterize the staff as a good group of people working in a fun atmosphere with a diverse collection of activities and engagement areas and many exciting projects throughout the year. Departments are small, so department heads have decision-making power. Volunteers are a vital element of the museum’s character, helping to give visitors a genuine regional experience.
About the Region
Bath, a city of about 8,500 people, is the county seat of Sagadahoc County. Situated on the Kennebec River, it has been a center of shipbuilding for over 300 years, and Bath Iron Works (BIW) still builds ships for the U.S. Navy today. The downtown features an attractive array of shops and restaurants housed in nineteenth-century buildings.
MMM staff members say Bath is a fabulous community and a great place for a family. There is a lively arts scene. Nearby Brunswick (10 miles away), the home of Bowdoin College, and Portland (36 miles away) offer an array of culture, including music, theater, museums, and historic sites. Outdoor recreational opportunities are all around, from boating and fishing in the waters of the Kennebec River and nearby ocean to hiking and skiing the mountains within easy driving distance.
The Maine Maritime Museum is an EA/EO employer and actively encourages candidates with diverse backgrounds to apply. It does not discriminate against any candidate or employee based on race, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, or veteran status.
HOW TO APPLY
Apply in confidence: Email cover letter, resumé or CV, salary requirement and names of 3 references and your professional relationship, with contact information by March 14, 2022, to: Scott Stevens, Senior Search Consultant, Museum Search & Reference at: Searchandref@museum-search.com. References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant.