Current Opportunities


The Archives of American Art (AAA or the Archives) is part of the Smithsonian Institution. The Archives is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and includes a research center in New York City, and microfilm repositories in Boston, Massachusetts; Fort Worth, Texas; and San Francisco and San Marino, California.  With a collection of more than 30 million items, the Archives is the largest and most widely used resource in the world on the history of American art and a leader in digitizing archival material and making it available to scholars, artists, and those in the art world as well as to teachers, students, and a broader public, both in the United States and around the globe.  In addition, the Archives has an ongoing oral history project to document living artists, produces an annual awards program, publishes a scholarly journal, produces a monthly podcast, mounts exhibitions in dedicated gallery space in Washington, D.C., and produces gallery talks, books, and blogs.

Appointed by the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and reporting to the Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, the Director assumes overall responsibility and leadership for the Archives of American Art. This includes envisioning creative ways to meet its mission, caring for and managing the prominent national collection, developing scholarly and educational programs, managing and overseeing its fiscal and human resources through strategic and annual plans, the development of budgets and fundraising campaigns. The Director is advised by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents. The Archives enjoys an annual appropriation from Congress and receives philanthropic gifts and competitive grants. The Director has primary responsibility for the application and use of Federal resources, the identification, solicitation and stewardship of donors, and the development of supportive institutional partnerships. The Archives employs an expert staff of curators, archivists, development, and administrative staff of 35 with a total annual operating budget of $6.5 million. 

Future plans include expanding on-line capabilities to provide increased access to the collection and expanded public engagement for its use. Funding to expand programs in digitization, oral history and new media will require an increasing focus on broadening relationships to all sectors of the philanthropic community, pursuing grants, and seeking appropriate means of generating revenue.  Increased cooperative and collaborative relationships within the Smithsonian and with other cultural and educational organizations are also envisioned to increase the impact and profile of the Archives.


1. Provides executive leadership and direction to all departments of the Archives in the planning, development, and management of the Archives programs and activities.  Formulates a vision for the Archives to achieve its overall mission, defines program goals, objectives, and priorities, in keeping with the Archives’ commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; and issues policy guidelines, as appropriate, for program operations and consistent with extant Archives’ and Smithsonian strategic plans.  Develops and monitors short- and long-range program plans covering all aspects of the Archives operations, including new acquisitions, collections management, conservation, digitization, and dissemination, fundraising, external affairs, research, publications, exhibits, public service, and facilities management, where applicable.  Makes major policy decisions concerning the Archives programs, including matters relating to budget, staffing, organization, and facilities.

2. Develops and maintains standards and criteria for program development and execution.  Reviews and evaluates proposals for new projects and initiatives or major shifts or expansions in existing programs.  Approves or disapproves such proposals and provides leadership and guidance on improving the proposed programs.  Continually evaluates program operations and initiatives and directs management studies to achieve improvements.

3. Plans and directs effective fundraising initiatives to support the Archives programs and operations.  These efforts involve working closely with the Board of Trustees and identifying needs, assigning priorities and locating potential donors from private, corporate and foundation sources.  Plans and participates in the Smithsonian’s institution-wide fundraising initiatives, coordinating efforts with appropriate Smithsonian leadership and offices.  

4. Oversees the development, justification, presentation, allocation, execution, and control of the annual operating budget for the Archives.  Develops budget projections that reflect long-range planning for new and ongoing programs.  Reviews budget justifications for and presentation of proposed budgets to the Smithsonian’s Office of Planning, Management and Budget, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congress.  Continually evaluates the Archives operations and services, and initiatives or directs management studies to achieve improvements.

5. Directs and coordinates the activities of the Archives staff in Washington, D.C., New York City, and working remotely.  Develops and implements operating policy, standards, and procedures to assure the continued high quality of staff performance.  Develops and administers policies to achieve management objectives in such areas as staff development, labor management, employee relations, affirmative action, and equal employment opportunity.  Assures that direct reports and subordinate supervisors effectively carry out their supervisory responsibilities.  Reviews recommendations for personnel actions affecting key subordinates, and acts on major personnel problems referred.  Initiates and directs major studies to improve organization, staffing, and operations.

6. Works closely with the Archives’ Board of Trustees, its Chair, Executive Committee and various other committees to develop a strategic plan, broad operating objectives and policies, and overall fundraising goals and priorities.  Provides leadership and collaboration in the Board’s efforts in raising the profile and public awareness of the Archives and in developing national constituencies supportive of the Archives and the Smithsonian.  Works closely with the Board Chair on revisions to the Board’s by-laws and on the development of appropriate agendas for all Board meetings, including meetings of committees.

7. Per the ethos of “One Smithsonian,” encourages, explores, and develops joint programs in cooperation with other Smithsonian museums, research and educational organizations especially with regard to those areas identified in the Smithsonian Strategic Plan, as well as with universities, federal organizations, non-Smithsonian museums, and other cultural organizations, including arts institutions within minority communities.  Assures the Archives representation at national and international conferences and meetings, and on national and international art committees.  Renders expert advice and consultation to federal agencies, professional and other organizations.

8. Attends high-level Smithsonian policy meetings and conferences, making significant contributions to the development of Smithsonian policy and priorities.  Testifies at Congressional hearings on budget requests and other matters as required.

The Director of the Archives of American Art will be a dynamic leader, well-versed in American art history, knowledgeable of the art world, the creative process, art scholarship and criticism, and have experience with collection management and archival operations.

The successful candidate will have had experience leading a multi-disciplinary, complex organization or a significant department/division within a larger entity, as shown by at least 10 years of progressive experience. Advanced degree in art history or a related field with expertise in American art history preferred.  In addition, he/she will ideally have the following experience, qualifications, and skills:

• LEADERSHIP.  An accomplished professional with executive leadership experience, either within a research center, a museum, or a comparable setting with a similarly complex organizational structure, culture, constituencies, and constraints.  Must be able to clearly and compellingly articulate a viable, resonating vision that can attract widespread support.  Must also be comfortable in a large, complex organization that requires creative leadership and collaborative skills to function as both a leader and a collaborator in order to harness the diverse talent within AAA as well as among the Smithsonian’s many museums, research centers, and education units and other collegial institutions and organizations. Ability to facilitate the creation and execution of workable agendas within AAA as well as between AAA, various Smithsonian museums and centers, and central administration. Exhibits strong listening, negotiation, and communication skills to resolve impasses and remove roadblocks as they arise so as to create the conditions that will allow staff to be successful and operate efficiently. Fosters unity, creativity, and innovation, combined with a willingness to take calculated risks, experiment, evaluate results, and adjust as needed. Prior exposure to and success working effectively within a public/private or quasi-governmental entity is a plus;

• MANAGEMENT. A disciplined, strategic thinker who acts purposefully, collaboratively, and pragmatically to identify and take advantage of resources and opportunities to realize an organization’s fullest potential. Demonstrated experience implementing a strategic plan, evaluating its impact, and refining it over time. Experience in managing a professional staff, and a complex, multi-source budget. Able to work effectively with coordinating committee and advisory boards, and partner with other organizations internally and externally to achieve concrete goals and objectives; 

• FUNDRAISING. Ability to set fundraising priorities and strategies. Demonstrated fundraising success and acumen with initiating, developing, and stewarding relationships with board members, individual donors, corporate sponsors, foundations, and government funders;

The Director reports to the Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.  Within broad policy guidelines and established objectives, the incumbent independently develops and directs all aspects of the Archives programs and activities, exercising a high degree of managerial knowledge and ability as well as professional competence in the field of American art.  Keeps the Under Secretary informed of major programs, projects, fundraising appeals and other issues.  Work performance is appraised primarily in terms of overall effectiveness in the attainment of program goals and objectives.

This position has been reviewed to determine the level of POSITION SENSITIVITY.  Based on the nature of the work, the position has been determined to be HIGH RISK (critical sensitive).  This designation will require (1) a pre-employment Security Agency Check (SAC) for the prospective incumbent; and (2) a subsequent comprehensive background investigation and clearance in order to continue in the position.  

To apply, please visit our job opportunities at, and note the closing date of March 4, 2022. Review of candidates will begin in February and will continue thereafter until the position is filled.

For questions contact Greg Bettwy, Chief of Staff to the Secretary at or (202) 633-6287 or Suleyka Lozins, HR Specialist at or (202) 633-6334.

The Smithsonian is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages individuals of all backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities to consider this leadership position. The Smithsonian’s commitment to inclusivity encompasses, but is not limited to, diversity in nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and disability.

This is a Trust (non-Federal) position.  The salary range is $180,050 – $230,000 annually and includes a comprehensive benefits program including a retirement plan that provides for an immediate 100% vesting of a generous employer contribution (no employee contribution is required to receive the employer contribution). We also offer a rich program of services and opportunities to balance and enhance your work life.  As a result of these programs, the Smithsonian has been rated one of the top 10 places to work in the government. 

This appointment will be subject to the applicant’s successful completion of a pre-appointment background check and a subsequent background investigation.

Conditions of Employment
You must be fully vaccinated for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized or FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Have an approved Reasonable Accommodation granting an exemption from vaccine requirements.

For details on the Archives programs go to For more information, please visit the Smithsonian Institution website at

Salary Range: 
180050 - 230000

About This Job

  • Archives of American Art
  • Washington, DC
  • Category: Professional
  • Salary Range: 180050 - 230000
  • Posted: January 13, 2022