Executive Director


Website Winona County Historical Society

Executive Director

Location:  Winona County Historical Society, Winona, Minnesota

Appointment: Administrative, Full-time

Position Available:   October 1, 2020

Salary: Commensurate with experience, $60,000 to $70,000

Overview of Winona County Historical Society (WCHS):

The Winona County Historical Society, founded in 1935, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that has long been considered a leader among county historical societies in Minnesota. It is one of the most active and vibrant organizations of its type in the state with one of the largest, dedicated memberships.  The Society is governed by a board of 18 citizens, has an average annual budget of over $500,000, and a staff of three full-time and four part-time employees.

The mission of the Society is “To collect, preserve and interpret the human history of Winona County.” This is accomplished largely through an ambitious schedule of programs, events and exhibits throughout the year. The Society maintains three properties: the Winona County History Center in downtown Winona, serving as the main headquarters for the exhibits, library and archives, offices, collection storage, and meeting facilities; the historic Willard Bunnell House in Homer; and the new Rural Heritage Museum in St. Charles. The History Center underwent a $4.5 million addition in 2010 financed almost entirely from private donations.

The Society has two endowment funds totaling approximately $1.2 million and is in its fifth year of a 10-year $250,000 matching challenge grant for one of its endowment funds.  Since 2009, WCHS has been awarded over $500,000 in Minnesota Legacy Grant funds for numerous projects that include the restoration of the 1915 Armory battlements, collection inventories, artifact restorations, exhibitions, community engagement, and partnership projects. Other recent projects have received funding through local foundations, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others.

The Executive Director is full-time and reports directly to the board.  The salary is competitive and commensurate with experience, $60,000 to $70,000 annually.   Benefits include vacation, health and dental insurance, contribution to 403(b) plan, and life insurance.

Winona County Historical Society is committed to building a community where all are welcomed, respected, and valued. WCHS is an equal opportunity employer.

Essential Roles and Expectations
The Winona County Historical Society (WCHS) Executive Director is the chief executive of the Society and, as such, is responsible for the general and fiscal leadership and management of the entire organization, including fundraising, exhibitions, collections management, educational activities, community outreach, programs, partnerships, properties, and external relations. Above all, the Executive Director is charged with delivering on the mission and goals of the organization in a fiscally sound manner. This person plays a leading role, working closely with the Board and staff, in developing and articulating the strategic direction of the Society and in implementing the resulting strategies and initiatives.

The Executive Director must be a pro-active, visible representative of WCHS.  The individual must interact effectively with many constituencies — members, volunteers, students, participants, funders, school and civic organizations, and local and state units of government. The Executive Director is expected to take a leadership role in monitoring public history trends and recommending appropriate programming to keep pace with a changing environment. The individual must have a deep passion for preserving history and an enthusiasm for passing that ethic on to others.

The Executive Director will provide day-to-day direction to the organization, executing its short and long-range strategies and plans, and taking full responsibility for all operations by effectively:

•      Developing new fundraising strategies that bring in additional outside revenue from public, corporate, foundation, and individual sources within a competitive nonprofit environment.

•      Increasing local and regional public awareness of the unique mission and programming offered by WCHS so that it is widely recognized and attracts people to the museum as visitors, volunteers, and donors.

•      Connecting with the greater Winona County community to ensure that WCHS reflects their diverse needs and values their histories and contributions.

•      Providing oversight of operations including collections, buildings and grounds for Winona County History Center in Winona, Willard Bunnell House in Homer, and Rural Heritage Museum in St. Charles.

•      Balancing income and expenditures to assure financial health of the organization.

•      Monitoring and directing the fulfillment of gifts and grants.

•      Leading a team that works together to effectively address WCHS’s opportunities and challenges.

•      Developing a vision and strategic plan that engages constituents in support of WCHS.

•      Using technology, including social media and web-based resources to communicate, market, and promote.

•      Working with the Board to create and carry out a unified vision for the Society.

•      Attending WCHS functions and representing WCHS positively in public settings throughout the region and state.

Qualifications
•      Master’s degree in Museum Studies from an accredited institution or in a related field such as art administration, nonprofit management, American or public history, or anthropology.

•      Five (5) years of experience with increasing leadership responsibility at a historical society, public museum, or similar nonprofit organization.

•      An authentic passion and commitment for the museum field, for example, as demonstrated through professional associations, presentations, publications, successful collaborations, and innovative programs.

•      Proven success in fundraising and financial management. Proven ability to organize and manage a budget and to monitor ongoing financial performance.

•      Demonstrated success managing a team and dealing with personnel issues including hiring, training, evaluating, and terminating employees.

•      Excellent internal and external communication skills including effective public speaking, writing, marketing, and promotion through the use of media in multiple formats including but not limited to print, digital, social, radio, and television.

•      Demonstrated success in working collaboratively and inclusively across a diverse spectrum of organizations and individuals including staff, board, government officials, business leaders, donors, and volunteers.

Desired Qualifications
•      Three (3) years as an executive director of a nonprofit organization.

•      Demonstrated success in securing and managing grants.

•      Business management experience in a nonprofit setting.

Job Requirements
•      Must be willing to work evenings and weekends and travel throughout the region and state as needed.

•      Reside within a 20-minute drive under normal conditions of the downtown Winona County History Center to provide oversight of the physical facility.

•      Valid driver’s license.

•      Ability to lift at least 40 pounds.

About the City of Winona and Winona County, Minnesota
The City of Winona is a historic Mississippi River town, population 27,000, located in southeast Minnesota. Winona has a stable economic base and a rich and diverse nonprofit community.  It offers excellent educational institutions including Winona State University, Saint Mary’s University, Minnesota State College Southeast and primary and secondary public and private schools.  The City of Winona is the county seat for Winona County, population 51,000, which has a strong agricultural economic base and is home to Whitewater State Park.

For those who love the outdoors or the arts, Winona has it all.  The City owns 3,000 acres of parkland, lies adjacent to Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge, and offers a variety of activities throughout the year. There are miles of hiking and biking trails, bike friendly streets, and abundant opportunities for hunting, fishing, and scenic photography.  The City is host to numerous professional music and art festivals that draw patrons from the Upper Midwest including Shakespeare, Minnesota Beethoven, Frozen River Film, Boats & Bluegrass, and Midwest Music Fest, among others.  For more information, see the Visit Winona website at www.visitwinona.com.

TO APPLY
More information about WCHS can be found at www.winonahistory.org.  This position description is available on the About/Jobs link.   WCHS welcomes applications from creative, transformative leaders.  If your lived experience doesn’t neatly check every qualification box but you’re convinced you’re the right candidate, apply and tell us your story.

Please email, in PDF format, your cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references in one PDF file to:  Dr. Diane Dingfelder, Chair, Winona County Historical Society Search Committee, ddingfelder@gmail.com.

Preference will be given to applications received by July 27, 2020.  Application deadline is

August 7.   Employment in this position is contingent upon a satisfactory background check.

To apply for this job email your details to ddingfelder@gmail.com