Job Overview


About the Agency

This position serves the National Museum of American History (NMAH) for planning, developing and implementing education, interpretation, public programming, digital learning, audience development and outreach initiatives onsite, nationally and online. The role of the Department of Audience Engagement is “to use history to create experiences that encourage meaningful conversation, expand perspectives, and inspire learning, innovation and active participation in civic life.”

Audience Engagement includes local, national and international audiences and takes form in visitor orientation and guest services; docent and volunteer activities and management; K-12 outreach and digital learning (websites, distance learning, apps, podcasts and vidcasts, teacher professional development); audience development (e-newsletters, social media); public programs (signature events, program series and daily programs), civic engagement initiatives; and hands-on learning spaces. Responsibilities also include the infusion of interpretive and educational perspectives into exhibitions and programs, evaluation studies, and visitor accessibility and inclusion in all forms.

Through subordinate managers, the incumbent manages 55 staff, 10-20 interns, 650+ docents and volunteer staff and a variety of contractors. The staff range in level from IS-4 Education Aides to a GS-15 Curator. The direct reports are the departments of Programs and Audience Outreach, the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Experience Design, and Education and Impact. Within these units are public programs (food, music, theater, film, civic engagement, including discussions, demonstrations and performance series); hands-on spaces and program venues (including the Museum’s Welcome Center and information desks, Wegman’s Wonderplace, Object Project, Spark! Lab, Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza; Unity Square; Hall of Music, Warner Bros. Theater); Interpretive Planning; NMAH web and social media; Visitor Services; and docents and volunteers.


Serves as principal advisor to the Director and Deputy Director on all matters relating to educational activities, audience development, interpretation, digital learning, programming and public engagement. Collaborates with the Director and Deputy Director on education and audience development planning, policies, resources and implementation. Takes the lead in developing audience engagement vision; onsite and national/international visitor experiences; and electronic representation of the NMAH; creates and implements short-and long-term plans to guide museum education, audience development and engagement. Maintains close working relationships with other Associate Directors to ensure integration of planning and activities.

With and through subordinate supervisors, directs the office, leading staff, interns, docents and contractors to ensure creative, quality and audience-sensitive activities and programs consistent with Museum strategic plan, emphases and priorities. Assures appropriate collaboration with curatorial and other staff (administrative, business, communications and marketing, special events and development) in all areas relating to audience engagement. Assures effective process of program and exhibition evaluation.

Develops and implements operating policies, standards and procedures. Develops performance standards for subordinate supervisors and evaluates their performance. Reviews and approves recommendations for personnel actions and acts to resolve major personnel problems. Actively supports safe environment and practices, staff development, labor relations, equal employment and diversity. Ensures compliance with procurement, financial and HR regulations, policies and practices.

Develops, justifies, executes, and controls the office federal and trust budgets and ensures compliance with all Federal, Institution and Museum financial management policies and procedures. Ensures adequate office control systems are in place to monitor expenses and budget limitations, contracts and procurements. Ensures that all applicable safety policy, standards, procedures and reviews are in place and followed.

Represents the Director and Deputy Director as required at a variety of meetings and conferences, with delegated authority to commit the museum to programs and courses of action. Serves as member of Director’s Council. Represents the Museum on all matters related to audience engagement.