Career Opportunity at the Museum

Director – Shelburne Museums by the Sea

The Shelburne museum complex, which is managed by the Shelburne Historical Society, is situated on the waterfront in the Historic District of the Town of Shelburne, Nova Scotia. It includes two of Nova Scotia’s 28 provincial museum sites (Dory Shop Museum and Ross-Thomson House & Store Museum), and the Shelburne County Museum.   The complex also includes two other buildings: the Cox Warehouse and the Orderly Room.  As well, the Society has a full woodworking shop located in a rented space.  The Shelburne Historical Society’s mission is to preserve and promote the rich and continually evolving heritage of Shelburne County.

The Ross-Thomson House and Store Museum is an 18th century Loyalist home and store which depicts life in Shelburne following the American Revolution.  The Dory Shop Museum is a 19th century dory building shop which demonstrates the authentic construction of traditional fishing dories and the life of the fishermen who used them.  The Shelburne County Museum includes the main museum building which is composed of the Nairn House, an 18th century home with a more recent addition.  The main county museum building includes two large exhibit areas, a resource room for conducting research, retail area, child’s play area, offices and a meeting area.  The Coyle House which is an annex to the Shelburne County Museum includes archival and collection storage, a full kitchen and a retail space which is leased to Tottie’s Crafts.  The Ross-Thomson House and Store and Dory Shop museums are open seasonally and the Shelburne County Museum is open year round.

Reporting to the President of the Shelburne Historical Society’s Board of Directors, you oversee all museum-related activities including day-to-day operations and provide overall leadership, vision and direction for the successful growth and sustainability of the Shelburne museum complex. You work closely with staff, the Board and its committees to prepare long term plans for museum complex development and are accountable for all facets of the museum complex including financial and human resources management.  You provide leadership and direction in generating revenue, creating high quality, relevant visitor experiences and programs and overseeing the long term accessioning, conservation, development and security of the museum collections. 

As the ideal candidate, you are an experienced and motivated manager with high integrity and a minimum of three years’ experience leading and managing staff in a museum or other not for profit environment. You possess strong interpersonal, communication and organizational skills and excellent day-to-day administration and financial abilities.   Demonstrated ability to write grant applications, complete projects on time and on budget, initiate programs, train and motivate people, coordinate activities, and speak publicly.  Your career has been characterized by your success in establishing and fostering relationships within your previous organizations and communities. You have experience in operations management and in the development of teams, programs, events and initiatives.

You have a bachelor’s degree in management, museum studies, history, or other appropriate discipline that provides the equivalent when combined with experience, with a minimum of three years leading and managing teams.   As well, you are keenly interested in growing and sharing your knowledge of Nova Scotia’s history through community engagement, public talks, programming and exhibitions, research, collections management, workshops, publications, social media and the Internet.

Scope of Work

The Director answers to the Shelburne Historical Society (SHS) Board of Directors and reports directly to its President.   The Director is accountable for effective and efficient day-to-day operations and provides leadership, vision and direction for the successful growth and development of the Shelburne Museum Complex.


Vision and Leadership

  •     Provide overall vision and leadership to staff and volunteers.
  •     Oversee strategic planning process (every 3 years) and facilitate annual cycle of visioning, planning, reporting and budget preparation.


  •     Ensure open and timely communication with Board and provide support as required.
  •     Ensure all public and legal accountabilities are in good standing.
  •     Coordinate all policies, procedures, guidelines and codes of conduct for the Shelburne Museum Complex and ensure implementation. 
  •     Ensure documents and records are current and properly maintained.

Corporate Services

  • Human Resources:
    • Hire, orient, train, supervise and mentor employees. 
    • Develop annual employee work plans, evaluate performance and provide professional development opportunities as required.
    • Promote a productive, healthy and safe workplace.
  •     Finance:
    • Overall responsibility for annual budget development, procedures and administration.
    • Supervise staff with responsibility for budget administration, management and reporting.
  •     Facilities Management:
    • Oversee the care and maintenance of buildings, grounds and other physical property.
    • Plan for the ongoing maintenance and/or development of facilities.
  •     IT and Database Management:
    • Oversee the care and maintenance of the website and Facebook page and other social media and ensure maximum effective utilization.


  • Responsible for overall programming strategies as well as overseeing the implementation and evaluation of programs and exhibits.
  • Supervise staff responsible for collection and exhibit management and ensure collection and exhibits reflect SHS mandate and priorities as well as NS Museum’s Interpretive Master Plan.
  • Supervise staff responsible for the display and storage of artifacts and archives.

Communications, Outreach and Advocacy

  • Responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating external outreach strategies and products.
  • Represent SHS in consultation with the Board and Communications Committee to public, private and community organizations to promote the interests of SHS and build partnerships and collaboration.
  • Responsible for internal communications and employee engagement.
  •   Acts, in consultation with the President and Chair of the Communications Committee, as a museum spokesperson to the media and community.
  • Assist in advocating public policy issues relating to culture and heritage.

Revenue Generation

  • Work with Board to develop, implement and evaluate fundraising and sponsorship strategies.
  • Supervise staff responsible for retail inventory, promotions and sales.
  • Work with Board to set fees for services and other earned revenue sources.
  • Responsible for researching grant opportunities and preparing and/or overseeing grant applications.


Education: BA, Certificate/Diploma/MA in related-studies (history, management, museum studies) or a degree that provides the equivalent when combined with experience.


  • Ability to create, articulate and reinforce a compelling vision and strategies for meeting the museum’s mission by providing direction within the organization and leadership in the community.
  • Demonstrated organizational and administrative abilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to write grant applications, develop exhibits, initiate programs, complete projects on time and on budget, train and motivate people, coordinate activities, speak publicly, and deal effectively with community groups and interests.
  • Knowledge of and interest in the museum’s theme and collections.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Proficient in computer applications and new media.
  • Minimum 3 years experience managing and leading teams.

How to apply

Please provide a cover letter and résumé marked confidential by midnight on Tuesday, the 9th of October 2018 to the attention of Board President, Louise Lindsay at or mail to PO Box 39, Shelburne, NS, B0T 1W0. 

This position will remain open until filled.  This is a full time position.  Remuneration is commensurate with experience (salary range: $40,000 - $50,000).

The Hiring Committee thanks all candidates for their interest; however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.