With attendance in excess of one million people annually, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) ranks among the most visited museums in Canada and North America. It is one of the foremost art museums in Canada, based on visitor counts and memberships.
The MMFA’s temporary exhibitions, featuring original exhibition design, combine various artistic disciplines (fine arts, music, film, fashion, design) and are exported around the world. The institution’s rich encyclopedic collection, displayed in five pavilions, comprises international art, world cultures, contemporary art, the decorative arts and design, as well as Quebec and Canadian art.
The MMFA, which has garnered multiple awards for its originality and leadership, has seen exceptional growth over the past few years, with the addition of two new pavilions: the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion, in 2011, and the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, in 2016. The MMFA complex also houses Bourgie Hall – a 462-seat concert hall – as well as an auditorium and a movie theatre.
This institution is also one of Canada’s leading publishers of art books – in both French and English – that are distributed internationally. The MMFA is also home to the Michel de la Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy, which, as the largest educational complex in a North American art museum, facilitates the launch of innovative educational, wellness and art therapy programs.
The MMFA is largely self-financed, so it can bring its plans and projects to fruition and build its collection through the acquisition of works that are mostly donated. The Museum Foundation is therefore an important MMFA partner.
The Museum’s success is founded on its innovative nature and its ability to reinvent itself and think outside the box. The Museum evolves along with its city and reflects its society:
It has the capacity and the desire to change in order to stay relevant.
It is innovative, experimental, inventive, daring, resourceful and proactive.
It initiates dialogue in all disciplines: visual arts, history, music, science, ethnology, sociology, and more.
It is receptive to input from its community, through partnerships with artists, craftspeople, designers and experts.
It combines disciplines and develops the educational dimension of its collections and exhibitions.
Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Director will assume the administration and management functions at the MMFA, pursuant to the Act Respecting the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, the relevant regulations and its policies. This individual will be responsible for planning, organizing, providing direction for, coordinating and controlling the full range of museum activities at the MMFA. He/She will also coordinate the work of the entire management team.
The Director will take on a leadership role, bringing stakeholders together, and will work with the management team and the Board to develop and propose a strategic plan – of local, national and international scope, to be approved by the Board of Trustees – for an innovative, influential museum that is a relevant cultural and social player within the community. This individual is also responsible for attaining these strategic objectives once they are adopted by the Board, and reporting to the Board on a regular basis.
The successful candidate will be fully responsible for the MMFA’s artistic and strategic direction, and will participate in the management and mobilization of its human, physical and financial resources, working to achieve its mission as a museum:
- Develop an entrepreneurial approach to conceiving innovative partnerships, exhibitions and programs intended to maintain the MMFA’s dynamic nature and its relevance as a social driver through the use of all types of communications, in light of its specific nature
- Ensure its status as a leader in national and international networks of museums and cultural institutions, and its visibility in business and tourism networks, as well as in the field of education and the diversity and socio-community spheres
- Develop an inclusive approach in selecting collections, exhibitions and employees, to reflect the communities’ dynamic nature and the strength of their diversity
- Possess the drive and influence needed to manage an international institution, and to mobilize an experienced, creative and highly engaged museum team
- Define and promote the MMFA’s mission, and its objectives (related to key performance indicators), to various groups (partners, professionals, members, target audiences, collectors, governments, philanthropists and volunteers), in accordance with the direction set by the Board of Trustees
- Maintain excellent labour relations with union partners, keeping in mind the obligations and objectives set out in the collective agreement
- Participate in good governance related to institutional and museum management practices
- Be responsible for the budget and maintaining a balanced budget while running museum activities
- Serve as the MMFA’s lead spokesperson, in partnership with the Board of Trustees, when interacting with governments, the media, major donors or any other partner
- Negotiate international exhibition partnerships, artwork loans and donations, exchanges of services, grants or any joint initiatives that could prove beneficial to the MMFA, in conjunction with the Curatorial division management personnel.
Strategic objectives, artistic direction and administrative management
- Develop and follow through on the MMFA’s strategic direction by implementing what is needed to execute its mission, as agreed upon with the Board of Trustees and working with the executive committee
- Implement the MMFA’s artistic direction and exhibition program, working with the executive committee and, in particular, the Curatorial division management personnel
- Participate in budget development and setting timelines, working with senior management and the executive committee
- Forge partnerships (financial support; exchanges of services; cost-sharing, including international exhibitions)
- Set up programs for, and manage, the various spaces in the museum complex (including 5 pavilions)
- Maintain and create a healthy and positive working environment focused on employee recognition and ongoing good labour relations
- Maintain regular contact with the Board of Trustees, provincial and federal government authorities, regional, provincial, national and international cultural communities, the art world, collectors and philanthropists
- Help fulfill the MMFA’s mission: to enrich, conserve, study and promote its collection through an original and dynamic program of acquisitions, exhibitions, publications, education and mediation, working with management of the Curatorial division and the Education and Wellness division
- Increase the MMFA’s influence, exposure and reputation by using modern and innovative methods to help the community engage – locally, nationally and internationally – with the media and professional networks, publications and speakers, while remaining within pre-set budgets
- Develop and optimize existing partnerships to strengthen the MMFA’s mission
- Increase MMFA leadership in the regional, national and international museum and cultural realm; affirm its leadership position by conceptualizing and carrying out innovative, exceptional projects
- Represent the MMFA in dealings with Quebec, Canadian and international institutions
- Support the development of local, national and international partnerships through initial inquiries, representation and negotiations
- Work with management of the Education and Wellness division to maintain the MMFA’s position as a social institution promoting well-being and togetherness
- Ensure timelines are met and resources properly managed in all services provided by the Curatorial division management personnel
- Enrich the MMFA’s encyclopedic collection and work with the director of the Curatorial division to determine the scope, direction and priorities for individual collections, based on the institution’s strategic plan
- Work with the director of the Curatorial division to define the strategic direction for scientific publications
- Ensure the professionalism and accessibility of all content, as well as top-quality design that is adapted to the scope of target audiences, in keeping with management’s needs
- Actively support and strengthen donor networks (both monetary donors and parties donating works of art) in Canada and other countries, in conjunction with the Foundation, the Curatorial division management personnel and curators
- Secure philanthropic support for the MMFA by working hand-in-hand with the Foundation and fully participating in major fundraising campaigns and significant initiatives
- Assume any other related responsibilities, upon request, with the Board of Trustees’ agreement
Experience and Qualifications
- Doctorate in art history and/or museology or cultural management
- Minimum ten (10) years’ experience in a comparable management position
- Significant experience in exhibition planning, development and management, as well as commissioning pieces
- An extensive national and international network (donors, lenders, museums, research, institutions, etc.)
- Confirmed expertise in art history and resource and project management
- Extensive experience in forging and following through on partnerships, especially international ones (loan negotiations, contracts, exhibitions, etc.)
- Strong ability to bring people together, develop skills and mobilize teamwork
- Able to identify and develop the talents of a new generation of leaders, to ensure talent retention
- Highly sensitive to the status of Indigenous nations and historically marginalized groups
- Able to work under pressure and manage priorities for multi-disciplinary teams, while maintaining a positive work atmosphere within the institution
- Resilience, openness to organizational changes
- Finely honed sense for strategic planning, meeting deadlines and staying within budget
- Creativity and acute sense for innovation and surpassing oneself
- Humanist in nature, diplomatic, with impressive listening skills; committed to supporting teams
- Outstanding communication skills, both within and outside of the organization
- Demonstrates a creative spirit, visionary and innovative
- Able to clearly mobilize teams with respect to organizational priorities and values
- Able to work with several stakeholders representing various areas of expertise
- Highly proficient in French and English.
The position is based in Montreal.
To apply or to learn more about this exceptional opportunity, please forward your CV along with cover letter or pertinent information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please state the company and title of the position in the subject line of your e-mail.
We thank all applicants for their interest, however only those under consideration for the role will be contacted.