Vice President of Museum Affairs
Cheekwood is a 55-acre American Country Place Era estate in Nashville, Tennessee, that operates as a Botanical Garden, Historic Home, and Museum of Art. Built in 1929 by the Cheek family who amassed their fortune, in part, through the Maxwell House Coffee business, the estate was gifted and opened as a public institution in 1960. Today, it features 11 distinct gardens, a one-mile woodland sculpture trail, an 8,000-piece permanent art collection, and a Georgian-style Mansion with historically furnished rooms and galleries.
With a $10M annual operating budget and over 175 employees, Cheekwood welcomes over 225,000 visitors, including 12,500 members, annually for year-round seasonal festivals, world-class art exhibitions, breathtaking gardens, and educational and public programs for all ages. A member of the American Public Gardens Association, Cheekwood is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its mission is to preserve Cheekwood as an historical landmark where beauty and excellence in art and horticulture stimulate the mind and nurture the spirit.
The Vice President of Museum Affairs reports to the CEO and is part of a six-person Senior Leadership Team which develops annual goals and objectives for realizing strategic initiatives as outlined in the institution’s five-year strategic plan and long-term master site plan. The Vice President of Museum Affairs oversees all curatorial programs, including the care and enhancement of the Permanent Collection and Historically Furnished Rooms & Galleries in the Cheekwood Mansion; organizing permanent collection installations and exhibitions for temporary display and touring; researching, identifying and securing traveling exhibitions; providing content for educational and promotional interpretation; and serving as the institution’s art and history representative and spokesperson, actively seeking to build relationships to generate awareness, appreciation and financial support for the institution.
The Vice President of Museum Affairs will be responsible for the oversight of the Permanent Art Collection, including: research and interpretation, providing content for scholarly publications; student/adult tours; educational, informational and promotional collateral including brochures, wall text/labels, signage, the Cheekwood web site; and press materials, including releases, blogs and social media postings; developing, implementing and overseeing policy related to collections management including archives, record-keeping, storage, and conservation; organizing and curating on-site (gallery and outdoor) installations and exhibitions of the works to interpret, promote and generate awareness and appreciation; organizing and curating fee-based exhibitions to tour works regionally, nationally and internationally; overseeing the institution’s collecting plan including directing all acquisitions and deaccessions to strengthen the collection’s focus on 20th-century American Art and its vision to establish Cheekwood as the Southeast’s premier destination for the display, appreciation and enjoyment of outdoor modern/contemporary sculpture; overseeing the continual improvement and enhancement of the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail, developing installations, exhibitions and programs that celebrate the works and trail experience; overseeing the continual improvement and enhancement of the Cheek Family Collection and historically furnished rooms, developing programs and initiatives to ensure the presentation is dynamic and continually engaging to repeat visitors
The Vice President of Museum Affairs will research, source and secure traveling exhibitions to mount at Cheekwood, including oversight of all contracts; development and adherence to budgets; and supervising staff on the design, transport, insurance, installation/de-installation and interpretation; provide content and instruction on the permanent collection, exhibitions/installations, and Cheek family history for the institution’s docent and volunteer program; work closely with the Education & Public Programs Department in developing content-rich student/adult tours and programs including lectures, presentations, salon discussions and other interactive opportunities to engage and educate the public, both children and adults; work with the Curatorial Team in developing annual goals/objectives to implement strategic art and history initiatives outlined in the institution’s five-year strategic plan, overseeing and managing work assignments, timelines, and budgets; serve as Cheekwood’s art and history representative and spokesperson, actively seeking to build positive institutional relationships with the press, peer institutions, artists, galleries, auction houses and dealers, participating in local, regional and national/international conferences, events and activities.
The Vice President of Museum Affairs will develop, monitor and oversee annual curatorial budget to meet revenue goals and manage expenses; work with the CEO and Chief Advancement Officer in identifying, cultivating and engaging prospective and current donors, hosting lunches, tours, special access opportunities and travel opportunities; research and recommend historic preservation and art funding sources and collaborate/assist the Advancement Department and CEO in securing support; serve as the Senior Team Liaison for the Board of Trustees Art and Historic Initiatives Committees.
The ideal candidate will have five to ten years of curatorial and museum leadership experience; possess an advanced degree (Masters or Ph.D.) in Art History; and excellent knowledge of 20th century American Art and Post-Modern and Contemporary Sculpture. Excellent writing, interpersonal and public speaking skills; a proven track record organizing and curating exhibitions; and experience cultivating and engaging donors, are required.
We offer a competitive compensation package and the opportunity to work in an exceptionally beautiful setting in a dynamic and growing city. Send resume and letter of interest to Penny Bruckse, Vice President of Human Resources at Pbruckse@cheekwood.org. EOE