Executive Director

Executive Director

The American LGBTQ+ Museum

New York, NY   |   June 21, 2021

About The American LGBTQ+ Museum


The Museum envisions a world in which all people work toward and experience the joy of liberation.


The American LGBTQ+ Museum preserves, investigates, and celebrates the dynamic histories and cultures of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, as well as those of the emergent and adjacent identities among their communities. Using exhibitions and programs, the Museum seeks to advance LGBTQ+ equality through the lens of social justice movements, including, but not limited to, race, gender, class, immigration, age, and disability.

While other great institutions and organizations exist to investigate, preserve, and tell their histories,  we believe a national LGBTQ+ museum is overdue.

How can LGBTQ+ communities effectively and proudly face the challenges ahead of them without knowing where we have been? How can we control the narrative about who we are, if we don’t have a space to share our stories with the wider community and enshrine our position in American society? The forthcoming Museum will seek to:

  • Illuminate LGBTQ+ history as integral to human history
  • Preserve artifacts, personal stories, and intangible heritage that are being lost every day
  • Educate our communities on the evolving, complex, and sometimes internally contentious narratives of LGBTQ+ history
  • Provide a physical space for LGBTQ+ people that fosters individual dignity and unifies across generations and differences
  • Support and inspire a new generation of activists to advance social justice

The Museum is committed to making its permanent home in New York City, a choice that has been confirmed by our research. New York was selected because of its cultural context, its historic significance in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and its popularity as a tourist destination.

For more information about The American LGBTQ+ Museum, please visit the website.

The Opportunity

A dedicated and passionate group of trustees and thought leaders have spent the past few years preparing the organization for the momentous opportunity to launch the search for the Museum’s first Executive Director. They have spoken with and surveyed more than 3,000 LGBTQ+ people and nonprofits around the country in multiple languages to craft the Museum’s vision and mission. They have partnered with and will incubate at the New York Historical Society, New York City’s first museum, which is currently engaged in a capital building project. An expansion to the New York Historical Society’s existing facilities on New York’s Upper West Side will dedicate a full floor for the American LGBTQ+ Museum’s first galleries and exhibitions.

The trustees have worked with renowned museum consultants and thinkers to craft the organization’s long-term strategy. They have secured the Museum’s charter, garnered the support of New York’s political leaders, launched a website, and are now hiring the leadership team.

The American LGBTQ+ Museum seeks its first Executive Director to build on this groundwork and lead the Museum into the future. The Executive Director will bring a dynamic and entrepreneurial approach and will demonstrate an understanding of and sensitivity to the complexity of the position. The person in this role will appreciate the diversity of our communities, particularly those who have historically felt disengaged from traditional museums, as the American LGBTQ+ Museum aims to rethink the definition of a contemporary museum. Joining the Museum means being a part of a justice-focused and forward-thinking organization that approaches the history, activism, and culture of the LGBTQ+ movement as an integral piece of the American fabric.

Leveraging a deep and strategic partnership with the New-York Historical Society and a highly connected and committed Board of Trustees, the Executive Director will have a strong foundation from which to launch the Museum’s values, team, and programs. Joining a part-time administrative staff member, the Executive Director will be the sole full-time staff member of the American LGBTQ+ Museum and will partner closely with the active and engaged 28-member Board of Trustees, chaired by Richard Burns. The Executive Director will partner closely with the Board of Trustees to set the strategic direction and fundraise for the American LGBTQ+ Museum.

The Executive Director will develop strong and deep collegial relationships and partnerships with existing and emerging LGBTQ archives, oral history projects, and museum efforts around the country and the world. The American LGBTQ+ Museum will seek to be a key collaborator in a collective of efforts to preserve, interrogate, and celebrate queer movements and communities.

The Executive Director has ultimate responsibility for the fiscal and operational health of the organization and will oversee all museum operations including fundraising, the hiring of staff, exhibitions, programs, events, and collections in accordance with the organization’s mission and the goals set by the Museum’s Board of Trustees. The Executive Director is both the principal advocate and public spokesperson for the Museum and assumes a leadership role in New York City and with state and regional communities.

The Executive Director’s primary responsibilities will include:

Entrepreneurial, Strategic, and Visionary Leadership

  • Launch the American LGBTQ+ Museum from early-stage with programming now and toward an anticipated opening with the New York Historical Society in or around 2025.
  • Ensure that The American LGBTQ+ Museum has a long-range strategy that achieves its mission, and toward which it makes consistent and timely progress.
  • Collaborate with the Board of Trustees to refine and implement the strategic direction while ensuring that the budget and priorities are aligned with the Museum’s core mission.
  • Provide inspirational leadership and direction and ensure the development of a professional and efficient organization; steward effective decision-making processes that will enable the Museum to achieve both its short-term and long-term goals and objectives.

Resource Development and External Relations

  • Formulate and execute effective marketing, branding, and development infrastructure and strategies that will maintain and significantly grow revenue across multiple streams. Lead fundraising from key foundations, corporate donors, government entities, and individuals through meaningful cultivation and stewardship and expanding the base of donor and foundation support.
  • Build dynamic special events that reflect the diversity and breadth of our communities.
  • Represent The American LGBTQ+ Museum as a passionate, inspiring, and knowledgeable public spokesperson and ambassador with diverse audiences, including political leaders, funders, media, and peer leaders in the arts and broader nonprofit arenas.

Infrastructure and Fiscal/Operational Management

  • Build, lead, support, motivate, and inspire the organization’s Board and staff, with commitment to create and promote a positive and diverse work environment.
  • Create systems and hold ultimate responsibility for the fiscal management of the organization, ensuring that the organization operates within budget guidelines. Work with the Board to ensure that the organization has sufficient funds to achieve its goals, to meet both present and future needs.

Program Development

  • Oversee the Museum’s mission to create one of America’s most compelling and multi-dimensional museums. Disrupt the norm of traditional museums through queer practices and experiences that are vibrant, colorful, welcoming, immersive, and exploratory for all constituents and audiences.
  • Promote and support an internal and external creative process that develops world-class exhibits, programs, and educational outreach, which broadens the contemplation and the presentation of LGBTQ+ identities and narrative not typically presented in museum settings. Envision and offer a combination of in-person and digital/virtual exhibitions and programs from the Museum’s initial opening and throughout the course of the Museum’s programming.

Board Partnership

  • Support a strong and diverse Board that is highly engaged and leverages its talents and secures resources.
  • Collaborate with Board to assess opportunities and to execute on ideas.
  • Provide the necessary information and guidance to the Board in order to assist it in making governance decisions.
  • Work with Board and external consultants to assure the Museum has sound risk management policies, accounting systems, human resource policies, and procedures.
Candidate Profile

Connection to the Mission

The Executive Director will have a deep personal connection to the lived experience of the LGBTQ+ communities. They will have appreciation and passion for the multiple dimensions within our communities and will be excited to create a platform to reflect those stories with authenticity, joy, and meaning. The Executive Director will have a strong commitment to racial, gender, and economic justice and and will ensure these values will be reflected in every aspect of the Museum. An unpretentious individual of high integrity, the Executive Director will possess good judgment and exude both credibility and a delight in the work at hand. Bringing a social justice and activist lens, the Executive Director will apply organizing skills to uniting people with disparate experiences and opinions around a shared cultural hub.

Fundraising and External Affairs

The Executive Director will have meaningful leadership and management experience, preferably gained in complex organizations that bring together diverse audiences; prior nonprofit or museum management experience is beneficial, but not a prerequisite. Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated track record of success in fundraising and engaging donors around a compelling mission through strategic partnerships, government alliances, private philanthropy, and/or individual giving. The position requires excellent communication skills, with the Executive Director serving both as a passionate storyteller and coalition-builder.

Organizational Leadership and Management

A proven leader, the Executive Director will be equally effective operating independently as well as on teams, and they will have been successful in building a cohesive, collaborative, and joyful work environment. They will bring a positive track record in recruiting, mentoring, and retaining a diverse and talented team, with a strong commitment to supporting the professional development of all staff. The Executive Director will ideally have experience managing Boards and ensuring Board engagement. They will have demonstrated leadership in coalition building and implementing programs and institutional practices that serve the outcomes of social equity, inclusion, and justice, both internally and externally.

Strategy and Entrepreneurship

The Executive Director will be an innovative and strategic thinker who embraces and excels at bringing ideas together to build something new. A problem-solver, must understand the subtleties of motivating and directing, as well as delegating, handling, and prioritizing multiple activities and responsibilities. They will be a practiced leader and advocate who can negotiate graciously and diplomatically, while remaining decisive, proactive, and fair.

Compensation & Benefits

The Founding Executive Director’s salary will be between $150,000 and $200,000, based on experience level, with a generous benefits package.


The American LGBTQ+ Museum has engaged the Koya Partners team of Molly Brennan, Melissa Madzel, and Stephen Milbauer to help in this hire. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please submit a compelling cover letter and resume by visiting this link here or email [email protected]. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The American LGBTQ+ Museum reaches individuals from all backgrounds and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We value a diverse and inclusive workplace and strongly encourage women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

As an equal opportunity employer, we recruit and hire with the understanding of systemic oppression and the lived reality of people with marginalized identities. We also recruit and hire without regard to race, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, prior conviction, arrest history, disability, marital status, veteran status, or age.

We value a diverse and inclusive workplace and strongly encourage women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ candidates to apply.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.