Job Listing

Executive Director

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Sanibel

Organization Overview
The Board of Trustees of the Shell Museum and Educational Foundation, Inc., seeks an Executive Director for the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum (BMNSM). Dedicated in 1995 and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2010, BMNSM is committed to an open, diverse, and inclusive learning and working environment that nurtures the growth and development of all. BMSNM holds steadfast in the belief that a variety of values, interests, experiences, and intellectual and cultural viewpoints enrich learning and our workplace. BMNSM actively seeks applications from members of groups underrepresented in the field of museum management. BMNSM is a nationally and internationally recognized center for informal education and conservation of mollusks, serving public audiences including K–12 schools, families and adults, the local university, and the informal science education community. BMNSM shares, interprets, and educates diverse audiences about mollusks and the natural world through engaging and inventive exhibits, programming, citizen science, and projects. In addition to its internationally recognized and fully cataloged collection of mollusks and their shells, BMNSM has recently dedicated an entire floor to state-of-the-art exhibits focused on living mollusks, Beyond Shells.

The ideal candidate will contribute to the collective goals of BMNSM:

  1. To continue developing informal education and related services in ways that encourage the public’s understanding and appreciation of mollusks, their conservation, and the natural environment.
  2. To increase the understanding and support of BMNSM through public relations, membership, and development programs, and the activities of the Board of Trustees of the Shell Museum and Educational Foundation, Inc.
  3. To maintain and improve collections to meet the research, educational, and service needs of scientists, students, the public, and agencies of the public.
  4. To facilitate and enhance research and education programs about mollusks to represent the breadth and scientific rigor of current environmental and biological sciences.

Job Description
The Museum seeks an innovative and visionary leader who demonstrates a passion for engaging others in a lifelong learning agenda while delivering a high-quality experience that is financially sustainable through solid programming, engagement, fundraising, and best business practices. A deep understanding, appreciation for, and connection to the natural world through collections-based science is preferred, along with experience in the accreditation processes carried out by the American Alliance of Museums and, secondarily, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The Executive Director reports to the Board of Trustees through the President. The primary responsibility is the day-to-day management of the BMNSM. In conjunction with the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director develops strategic plans, develops budgets, monitors performance, and oversees Museum programs and services. The Executive Director is responsible for management and development of a staff of 12–14 members. The Executive Director also represents the Museum in the community, participates in events that increase awareness and membership, and perform duties that generate financial support of the Museum.

A substantial level of experience in building and sustaining partnerships with other educational and cultural stakeholders, public and private, within local communities, and at the national and international levels is necessary. BMNSM seeks a dynamic, energetic communicator who can influence others to action, including, staff, board members, donors, elected officials, corporate executives, members, volunteers, and other supporters.


Provide leadership in strategic planning and organizational structure to facilitate the execution of the BMNSM’s mission. Administrative duties include preparation and evaluation of the budget; management and distribution of annual operating funds, endowment income, and other funds; preparation of annual reports, including operation metrics, mission statements, and other documents as instructed by the Board of Trustees; recruitment, retention, and development of highly qualified staff and volunteers; and performance evaluation of professional staff to a community of collegiality and excellence. The Executive Director is responsible for the day-to-day operations of BMNSM and all aspects of its activities. The Executive Director fosters the professional development of collections care; coordinates the activities among the different departments and areas of BMNSM; and represents the BMNSM to the local community, external agencies, and the public at large.

Facilitate the education and research mission of the BMNSM, and promote an open, diverse, and inclusive learning and working environment that nurtures the growth and development of visitors, staff, affiliates, and students. The Executive Director furthers the development of the BMNSM as an international center for collections-based research, knowledge dissemination, and information technology by encouraging and advocating for high-quality research in marine biology, malacology, and related fields. The Executive Director aims to promote a broad understanding of the role of the BMNSM in the academic community and in the natural sciences. The Executive Director promotes the free interchange of ideas and facilitate appropriate use of the BMSNM’s resources and information by governmental and private agencies.

Support the BMNSM education, outreach, and dynamic exhibit programs. The Executive Director furthers the education and service missions of the BMNSM with particular focus on informal science education. The Executive Director advocates on behalf of BMNSM at the state and local levels, and promotes collaboration with similar entities and external organizations.

Encourage the advancement of state-of-the-art practices in the care of the BMNSM’s collections to ensure that collections and their associated data are valued for research, education, and service. Working with the Science Director/Curator, the Executive Director promotes the visibility, engagement, and awareness of the value of the BMNSM’s collections, scientific and living, to local, national, and international stakeholders. The Executive Director promotes responsible collection growth and cultivates BMNSM collections leadership in international cyberinfrastructures.


The ideal candidate will show evidence of successful fundraising leadership or will address how he/she/they have the aptitude to be successful with acquiring major gifts and grants from foundations, corporations, individuals and the public sector at the local, state and national level. He/she/they will develop and sustain relationships with donors and members, and ensures that services and funding relationships will meet or exceed strategic goals and objectives. A background of launching innovative, groundbreaking programs resulting in long-term funding and stable revenue streams, research, and dynamic public engagement is highly valued.

Required Qualifications
Evaluation of the following requirements will be made through (1) description of work experience and educational experiences in CV and (2) record of accomplishments and productivity addressed in the CV:

  1. Minimum of a Master’s degree in museum studies or one of the life sciences.
  2. Demonstrated experience in the administration of an organization, including the management oversight of finances, personnel, and program development.
  3. Evidence of obtaining financial support through competition for public or private sources.
  4. Experience serving as an academic leader and team builder, developing and enhancing educational and research relationships among staff and members of Academia.
  5. Excellent communication skills as demonstrated through application materials and interviews.
  6. Experience working with multidisciplinary constituencies.
  7. Record of promoting diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.
  8. Record of entrepreneurial leadership and of generating revenue generation.


Preferred Qualifications

  1. At least five years administrative experience including budgeting, personnel management and supervision, and program development.
  2. Demonstrated vision for the future of collections-based research, process and the role of museums.
  3. Demonstrated knowledge of museum operations, including collection management, public education, exhibits, and research.
  4. Demonstrated professional association with the national and international museum community as evidenced by a record of service in a museum or through museum activities of an appropriate professional organization.


Additional Candidate Instructions
A complete application includes cover letter detailing your interest in the position and how it fits with your career goals, CV highlighting pertinent experience and contact information for three professional references. Only complete applications will be considered.

Contact Information to Applicants
Laura Shaffer,

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity and inclusion. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and organization need.

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