John and Neville Bryan Senior Director of Museum Collections

Posted by National Trust for Historic Preservation ; Posted on 
John and Neville Bryan Senior Director of Museum Collections


Job Summary

The John & Neville Bryan Senior Director of Museum Collections, an endowed position, provides inspiring and visionary oversight of the management and care of the National Trust’s extraordinary 60,000-object Museum Collection. Housed at twenty-one sites across the portfolio of National Trust Historic Sites, the Collection encompasses material culture that tells the full American story, including archaeological artifacts that illuminate indigenous stories, fine arts that represent the influence of myth and symbol, antiquities that speak to the horrors of enslavement, ordinary household objects that illuminate the evolution of society and technology, and decorative arts that exemplify craft and artistry, as well as affluence and class status. Among the artists/artisans represented in the National Trust’s collection are Thomas Affleck, Mies van der Rohe, Louis Comfort Tiffany, William-Adolphe Bougeureau, Daniel Chester French, Mary Bonner, Gustave and Christian Herter, Frank Lloyd Wright, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, and Maria Martinez. The National Trust’s online collections portal allows visitors to experience the diversity of our objects.

This position represents an extraordinary opportunity to join the National Trust at an exciting moment in its evolution, as the organization continues to build its visibility, relevance, and financial sustainability. The Historic Sites Task Force of the National Trust’s Board of Trustees has identified five key elements of a successful National Trust Historic Sites Portfolio. One of those key elements is making a demonstrable investment in the stewardship of buildings, landscapes, and objects owned by the National Trust and in the advancement of new and sustainable operating and interpretive models. As the Trust advances its strategic priorities, including “Telling the Full American Story,” the Bryan Senior Director of Museum Collections will have a unique opportunity to expand engagement and interpretation of the Collection. To realize that potential, this position requires innovative thinking, focused strategic direction, exceptional operational management, and an intersectional lens for history, art, craft, and preservation.

The John & Neville Bryan Senior Director of Collections is a member of the Technical Support Team in the Historic Sites Department and will build upon and support the existing curatorial efforts and develop new collections-focused initiatives across the National Trust’s portfolio of Historic Sites; foster new scholarship related to the Collection; and promote the Collection as a rich resource for a host of cultural arts professionals and institutions as well as for the general public.

The role of the Bryan Senior Director of Museum Collections centers around facilitating meaningful experiences with the Collection to ensure that visitors to National Trust Historic Sites and supporters of the National Trust become even more engaged and committed. This will require working to support and inspire the Historic Sites – both individually and as a portfolio – to conceptualize and utilize the Collection in creative and entrepreneurial ways and by utilizing a lens of JEDI (Justice. Equity. Diversity. Inclusion) to connect with the public through the nexus of the arts, culture, and historic preservation.

The successful candidate will report to the Senior Vice President for Historic Sites, and regularly interface and collaborate with other senior management throughout the National Trust, as well as with the curatorial staffs, Executive Directors, and CEOs at National Trust Historic Sites, where the Collection is located. We are open to remote candidates.


Promotion of the Collection

In order to reach new audiences and continue to expand its national reputation and donor base, this position:

  • Expands interpretation, raises the profile of and generates resources for the National Trust’s Collection.
  • Serves as the National Trust’s principal spokesperson about the Collection and represent the National Trust at significant conferences, workshops, and other events in order to promote the Collection.
  • Develops successful fundraising proposals to support ongoing collections care and innovative and inclusive approaches to the Collection’s interpretation, and public engagement with it, including exhibitions, K-12 programming, and community outreach initiatives.
  • Expands use of the online portal through enhanced promotion, creating greater awareness and providing heightened virtual public access to the Collection. This plan includes not only the technical steps required for broader promotion, but also the identification of potential funding sources to further the portal’s reach.
  • Develops, directs and promotes new scholarship related to the Collection and its care to advance the National Trust as a cultural resource, and as a leader in the curatorial and collections management fields.
  • Works with Historic Sites’ staffs to promote synergistic new ways of exhibiting, studying, and utilizing the Collection toward a transformative visitor experience by assessing the existing operating/use models and supporting a thoughtful process to develop and implement new models.
  • Serves as the primary liaison with other numerous and applicable organizations, developing partnerships and other collaborations, as well as with a wide range of individual, foundation, and corporate donors.

Comprehensive Collections Management

This position is responsible for the stewardship and management of the National Trust Collection in keeping with best practices and the National Trust’s Collections Management Policy. Specifically, this position:

  • Directs all registration and documentation activities related to the care of the Collection, including acquisitions (gifts, bequests, and purchases), incoming/ outgoing loans (exhibition agreements, legal agreements, shipping, and storage), deaccessioning and disposition, conservation program planning and implementation, and appraisals and inventories.
  • For the Collection database, ensures and oversees the consistent use of standards and the training of staff at Sites and headquarters; handles upgrades to the existing collections software; actss as liaison to the software vendor for technical support; and prepares in-house documentation materials.
  • Conducts and provides support on collections assessments and other collections planning projects.
  • Advises on fine arts insurance and supervise proper implementation of the National Trust’s collections’ appraisal and insurance programs.
  • Directs administration of the Historic Sites Fund (HSF) grant program, which in part supports conservation and other curatorial work of the Collection, including advising Sites on identifying and developing collections-related HSF projects.
  • Directs special projects relating to collections and archives, as required.
  • Responds to general public inquiries on issues related to the Collection as appropriate.

Advise & Outreach

To ensure a strong, productive working relationship with the Historic Sites’ Executive Directors and CEOs, curatorial staff, and colleagues at the National Trust, this position:

  • Collaborates with individual National Trust Historic Sites and the Technical Support Team at the National Trust, to effectively steward and connect the buildings, landscapes, and collections with public programming.
  • Participates in meetings, initiatives, and programs of the National Trust, including the PastForward National Preservation Conference and Historic Sites’ Directors Meeting.
  • Provides technical support for the Trust’s corporate marketing and licensing programs related to the Collection.
  • Works with the Development and Legal Divisions on potential donations to the Trust as required. As requested, represent the Historic Sites Department on cross-departmental/divisional teams and task forces.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Vision and Strategic Priorities

In order to realize its potential for public engagement, fundraising, and education, the Museum Collection will have a vision with defined goals and objectives for achievement. Specifically, this position:

  • Develops a portfolio-wide Collection vision, with supporting strategies, goals, and plans, in collaboration with staff at individual sites, outside experts and other stakeholders.
  • Reviews and directs the mission, vision and strategic priorities and objectives of the Historic Sites as related to the Collection, to ensure attention to and consistency with the appropriate stewardship responsibilities and the promotional needs and activities of the Collection.


This is a full-time, exempt level position, eligible for full benefits, including health, dental and life insurance, retirement benefits, and 3+ weeks of vacation, plus sick time and holidays.

Hiring Range: $115,000 – 120,000 per year

Job Details (for job postings)

Job Category: Executive (CEO, Director, President)
Position Type: Full Time
Experience: -
Education Level: -