Executive Director(25)

Organization: National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (AZA Member)
Location: Dubuque, IA, United States
Job or Internship: Job

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium has retained the Overture Group to identify an Executive Director to join its leadership team. The Museum & Aquarium is the most comprehensive river museum in the nation, offering a rich variety of historical and aquatic exhibits and programs on a 15 acre campus. Established in 1980, the Museum & Aquarium completed a $56 million capital campaign in 2003 and a $38 million campaign in 2010, and now has four buildings which house 8 exhibit galleries, 50,000 gallons of fresh and salt water aquatic and terrestrial exhibits, a 3D/4D theater, and five themed theaters. The grounds include a demonstration wetland, an outdoor boatyard with boat shop and blacksmith shop, a National Landmark steamboat, and a Mississippi Plaza with raptor aviaries. One thousand feet of museum waterfront includes a National Landmark steamboat, a museum dock, and a city-owned visiting boat marina.

The aquatic and terrestrial collections total over 300 species and 3,000 animals. The historic collections number 10,000 artifacts and 35,000 library and archival items. Programs include captive breeding species propagation, RiverWorks Discovery national traveling exhibit and education program, and the National Rivers Hall of Fame. The Museum & Aquarium (under the Dubuque County Historical Society) also operates the Mathias Ham House Historic Site, the Old Jail Museum, the Dubuque Guide Service, and the Bowell Library and Archives.

The Museum & Aquarium is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and partners with Coastal America, NOAA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Great River Road, and the Mississippi River Network. With 180,000 visitors annually, the Museum & Aquarium has an annual budget of $4 million and 35 full time staff and 60 part time staff. It is supported by 60% earned income, 2,000 members, many contributors, and a $6.5 million endowment. There is no long term debt.

William Ferris, when he was chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, wrote, “Going far beyond the scope of most county historical societies, your organization has become the vehicle for telling the big story of the Mississippi River to local, regional, and national audiences.”

The Executive Director will work directly with and report to the President and CEO Jerry Enzler, will be responsible for the day to day management of the museums, and will be a strategic partner in developing and implementing the Museum & Aquarium’s vision and plan.

Duties include:

• Act as a partner to the President/CEO on visioning and fundraising initiatives

• Collaborate with department heads to develop annual goals and budgets, to achieve objectives, and to reach financial targets

• Balance the annual budget

• Oversee the human resources function with outside assistance as needed.

Minimum Requirements:

• Bachelor’s Degree; Master’s Degree preferred

• 10+ years of experience in a museum or aquarium leadership role

• Demonstrated success in fundraising

• Exceptional communication and presentation skills

For confidential consideration, please respond to either of the following:

Brandi Mueller


Carrie Schochet