Administrator of Collections

Website Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society is searching for an innovative and dynamic Administrator of Collections for the Division of Collections to lead our Collections Leadership team.

The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. At its core, the Society believes that increasing the public’s knowledge of history has profound societal, cultural, and economic benefit. The Society’s values are to Embrace a Spirit of Service, Engage our Expertise, Spark Enthusiasm, Cultivate Inclusion, Exceed Expectations, and Think Big and Grow with Purpose. Its collections, historic sites and museums, historic preservation office and extensive educational programs are focused on enriching and transforming lives through unparalleled access to history.  WHS believes that increasing the public’s knowledge of history has profound societal, cultural, and economic benefit.

The Administrator of Collections is a dynamic and collaborative leader responsible for the Society’s values and mission-based leadership in the development of the strategic direction and all activities related to the Collections Leadership Team which is comprised of curatorial, archives, library, public services, collection development, collection management, preservation and conservation. Leads the division’s strategic planning and business planning efforts, including establishment of five year, three year, and annual goals.  Provides leadership for developing collaborative and inclusive work processes along with focusing and prioritizing the team’s individual and collective energies in fulfilling the strategic and annual plans.

The Administrator is responsible for all aspects of a major state and national history collection with a library of more than 4 million items, which also act as the North American History library for UW Wisconsin, and an archives of more than 105,000 cubic feet of textual collections, 25,000 maps and atlases, 3 million photographs, 750,000 three dimensional artifacts, extensive sound and motion pictures collections as well as all 12 museums and historic site’s collections. This position is also The State Archivist and responsible for the program that manages and preserves the historical records of both state and local governments and has the authority delegate the State Archivist responsibilities  for making decisions regarding that program.  In addition, the Administrator oversees Society operations at the State Archive Preservation Facility (SAPF), as well as the partnerships of the Area Research Centers (ARC) at 12 University of Wisconsin campuses that provides access to the Society’s collections and the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center. The Administrator works closely with the Director’s Office and the Wisconsin Historical Foundation on donor relations as well as preparing funding proposals for private individuals, foundations, non-profit organizations and state and federal government agencies. The Administrator is a member of the Senior Leadership Team and reports to the Society Director.


A minimally qualified candidate will possess the following-

·         A Master’s Degree in History, American Studies, Library Science or related field is required.  The Division Administrator must be conversant with a broad range of history subjects and understand how research is conducted in a wide variety of disciplines to guide the development of the collections and the services provided to all researchers.

·         At least eight years of strong leadership and management experience in collections administration is needed.

·         Proven record as a forward-thinking leader with a strong network of colleagues and associates in relevant fields with an interest in the best practices of twenty-first century collection based organizations.

·         A thorough understanding of how a unified collection operation of libraries, archives, and artifact functions.

·         Strong public speaking skills with ability to speak/present to many different types of groups of various audience sizes.

·         Knowledge of and ability to implement the principles and practices of program planning and project management.

·         Knowledge and skills in strategic and tactical planning and implementation.

·         Knowledge of and ability to prepare effective proposals for grant funding and for gifts, endowments and bequests.

·         Ability to prepare clear, concise and complete analyses, reports and supporting documentation.



Please submit electronically a cover letter addressing qualifications for this position, a resume, and five professional references (references will not be contacted without prior permission).

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Materials will be evaluated and the most qualified applicants will be invited to participate in the next step of the selection process. The Wisconsin Historical Society is an equal opportunity employer.  The salary for this unclassified position will not be less than $105,000 per year depending on qualifications and includes a robust benefit package.

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