Director, Zimmerli Art Museum

Zimmerli Art Musuem at Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Feb 15, 2017
Executive Administration Jobs
Presidents & Chancellors
Jobs Outside Higher Education
Museums & Cultural Organizations
Institution Type
Outside Academe


Mission:  The Zimmerli Art Museum educates, inspires and challenges diverse audience through direct experience of art in its many forms.  The Museum supports the educational mission of Rutgers University by collecting, researching, preserving, and displaying works of art and by making its collections and archives accessible for study, scholarship, and enjoyment by members of the Rutgers community and visitors.

Founded in 1966 as the Rutgers University Art Gallery, the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum was established in 1983 in response to the growth of the permanent collection.  With 35,000 square feet of gallery space and more than 60,000 works in a wide range of media, ranging from ancient to contemporary art, the Zimmerli has an extensive and unique collection of Russian art and Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection, as well as holdings in 19th-century French art, particularly prints and rare books, and American and European works on paper, including prints, drawings, photographs and rare books.  More detailed information can be viewed at  

The Zimmerli exhibition program is global in its perspective.  Each year, the museum typically presents two large exhibitions that survey a particular theme or movement in art or focus on the work of particular artists, especially women artists.  The museum also presents a series of four or five cameo shows each year.  These shows, which highlight the Zimmerli’s permanent holdings, are organized by Zimmerli curators, often in tandem with Rutgers graduate students enrolled in the Department of Art History in the School of Arts and Sciences.

The Zimmerli’s operations, exhibitions and programs are funded in part by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and income from the Avenir Foundation Endowment, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment and the Voorhees Family Endowment, among others.

Located on Rutgers’ main campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the Zimmerli has a staff of 22 full-time employees plus five graduate assistants, and a current annual operating budget of $3.7 million. 


Chartered in 1766, Rutgers, the eighth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, has just celebrated its 250th anniversary.  It joined the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) in 1988.  In 2014, Rutgers University-New Brunswick joined the Big Ten athletic conference and its academic counterpart, the Big Ten Academic Alliance, an academic consortium of 15 top-tier universities.

Today, Rutgers is one of the largest and most highly regarded public research universities in the nation.  With 33 schools and colleges, Rutgers offers over 100 undergraduate majors and more than 200 graduate and professional degree programs.  The university graduates more than 16,000 students each year and has nearly 450,000 living alumni residing in all 50 states and on six continents.  Rutgers currently enrolls over 68,000 students and employs more than 9,000 full- and part-time faculty member and more than 15,000 full- and part-time staff.


The Director will report directly to the Chancellor, Rutgers University-New Brunswick and work with the faculty, staff, students and Board of Overseers to crystalize, refine and implement a vision of excellence for the Zimmerli in the 21st century.  The Director will provide leadership and direction necessary to help the museum realize its full potential as a campus and community visual arts beacon and resource, and coordinate the implementation of Zimmerli’s recently developed strategic plan. 

The Director will define the scope, profile and direction of programming, establish an innovative and high-quality exhibition schedule and deliver dynamic programs that will generate awareness and excitement on campus, in the community and beyond.  The Director will conserve, display and maximize the full potential of the Zimmerli’s permanent collection.  This includes the coordination of external and internal speakers and events, as well as arranging for more outside exhibitions and loans of art to the Zimmerli.

This person will broadly support the Museum’s vision of excellence through strategic fundraising, i.e., cultivation of strong relationships with donors, collectors, foundations, corporations and other funding organizations.   

The Director will demonstrate a strong commitment to promoting the value of the visual arts in a research university environment and in the diverse community beyond.  The individual should be enthusiastic about collaborating with faculty and students in myriad disciplines, with a goal of supporting Rutgers’ academic mission and the cultural enrichment of the community. 

Key institutional priorities and responsibilities for the incoming Director include but are not limited to:

  • Increase the museum’s visibility and reach locally, nationally and internationally; attract and mount major exhibitions; increase loans of art to outside exhibitions and by traveling its exhibitions to other museums; and ensure that exhibitions, educational programs, and other engagement efforts are aligned and effectively promoted;
  • Build strong relationships with the members of the Board of Overseers and find ways to bring forth their best ideas, efforts, resources and contacts;
  • Establish a robust program of publications to further understanding and appreciation of the Zimmerli by multiple audiences;
  • Manage and build a talented and motivated team of curators, other staff and volunteers; increase diversity in staff, collections, exhibitions and programs; engage students through innovative programming and internship programs;
  • Lead the digitization of the collection; harness and maximize the appropriate use of technology and digital media in promoting the Museum, reaching new and diverse audiences, creating innovative and engaging exhibitions and programs, and enhancing access and appreciation of the strengths of the collection;
  • Ensure sound fiscal management of the museum’s financial resources; oversee a planned upgrade of the museum’s facilities and its technical resources;
  • Ensure, by effective leadership and management, that the day-to-day operations and programs of the Zimmerli are professionally and efficiently administered; cultivate, nurture and hold staff accountable; support staff’s professional development.


The Director will be committed to the mission of the Zimmerli Museum and Rutgers University.  He or she should also have or be the following: 

  • A consensus builder who will nurture the intellectual life of the Zimmerli, while setting and achieving clear goals and priorities as reflected within the Museum’s new strategic plan;  demonstrated ability to embrace the Zimmerli as a teaching institution which serves as a laboratory for learning that crosses disciplines and intellectual boundaries; with the ability to translate this into meaningful campus collaborations and exhibitions;
  • Significant museum managerial or curatorial experience, preferably in an academic environment and/or a collecting institution; a track record of success realizing major projects; understanding of the need to steward the museum’s permanent collection, well versed in curatorial best practices and educational programs; and abreast of current developments in the field;
  • Knowledge of the museum world and its key players nationally and internationally, with the ability to capitalize on those relationships for loans and exhibitions;
  • Demonstrated ability to organize, lead, support and motivate a professional staff, including experience managing operations and budgets; ability and desire to work with faculty and students across disciplines;
  • Experience aligning strategic plans with institutional capacity and fiscal resources; financial acumen and administrative skills, with the ability to control costs, maximize revenue potential and oversee budgets within a complex university setting;
  • Demonstrated success as an enthusiastic and accomplished fundraiser from a variety of sources, including individuals, foundations and corporate sponsors;  
  • Able to communicate comfortably, effectively, and responsively with faculty, staff, fellow administrators, board members, students, and build bridges with related external constituencies.

Additionally this person will have or be:


  • An ambitious, talented, and energetic individual with a proven ability to lead, motivate and encourage others; with a willingness, ability, and demonstrated experience in making difficult and timely decisions;
  • Comfortable with technology and digital platforms;
  • An effective spokesperson and advocate for an institution or program, with notable extemporaneous verbal and written communication skills;
  • MA in visual arts, art education, art history or a related field; PhD preferred or an equivalent of education and experience;
  • Committed to enhancing the diversity of the museum’s staff and programs.

Applicants should provide a cover letter and resume to Mark Tarnacki at  Review of applications will begin on February 1, 2017, and continue until the position is filled. All nominations and inquiries will be held in confidence.

Rutgers is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer