The Museum of Danish America is seeking to fill the position of Executive Director.

Established in 1983, the Museum of Danish America (formerly known as The Danish Immigrant Museum) is located midway between Des Moines, IA and Omaha, NE on 35 acres of recreated prairie in the heart of the largest rural settlement of Danes in the United States. The museum’s mission is to “celebrate Danish roots and American dreams” and is the only national museum dedicated to collecting and interpreting the Danish-American experience. Guidance is provided by a twenty-five member Board of Directors from across the United States and Denmark. The museum, with an annual budget of $1.4 million, has a collection of over 30,000 artifacts, an active traveling exhibit program, and a membership of over 3,000 from across the United States, Denmark and five other countries.  It has a staff of 10 full-time employees, six part-time employees and an active internship program hosting up to four Danish graduate students and an American graduate student annually.  The museum has the distinction of being among 3% of museums in the United States achieving accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. 




The executive director’s role has both strategic and operational components. The executive director has the day-to-day administrative responsibility for achieving the organizational mission of the Museum of Danish America, implementing the strategic plan, and assuring the efficient and effective operation of the organization.  To do this he/she works with the museum’s Board of Directors to develop policies, procedures, budgets and strategic plans that realize the museum’s mission and vision.  He/she also assures compliance with legal, financial, accounting and ethical requirements, including the standards and practices set forth by the American Alliance of Museums.




Vision, Mission, and Strategies

Working with the board and staff, the executive director must develop a shared vision for the future of the museum, build understanding around the current mission, and develop appropriate goals and strategies to advance that mission.


Accomplishment of Management Objectives

Working with the board, the executive director establishes operational objectives that support the strategic plan. The executive director is responsible for leading the staff in the implementation of the strategic plan and any annual plans.


Program Management

The Museum of Danish America carries out its mission by offering specific exhibits and programs. The executive director leads the staff in managing and administering these.   


Fund Raising and Development

A key responsibility of the executive director is the development and implementation of appropriate fund raising and development strategies. 



Fiscal Management

Ensuring that income is managed wisely is especially important.  It is the role of the executive director to see that solid planning and budgeting systems are in place and that the museum’s goals and strategic plan serve as the basis for sound financial planning. In addition, it is the executive director’s responsibility to ensure that qualified staff are hired to accurately monitor, assess, and manage the financial health of the museum.


Operations Management

The executive director is responsible for day-to-day management, working with staff to develop, maintain, and use the systems and resources that facilitate the effective operation of the museum.


The Executive Director/Board Partnership

The executive director and the board must work together as partners.  The executive director and the board have joint responsibility for developing and maintaining a strong working relationship and a system for sharing information.


External Liaison and Public Image

The executive director is a key player in establishing and maintaining positive relationships with the many groups that support the work of the museum.


Other Duties

Performs other duties, including but not limited to duties as assigned, some of which may include the development and creation of a variety of copyrightable works included but not limited to print, photography, film, music, visual arts, etc. for distribution in any and all media and formats on a world-wide basis, all of which shall be for the benefit of the museum.





Cultural knowledge and intellectual vision to lead the Museum of Danish America which

includes having knowledge of or affinity for learning about Danish and Danish American culture. 


Excellent communication skills to articulate the museum’s vision and attract and retain current and new audiences.  High competency is required in written and spoken communication and in the ability to make effective, credible presentations.


Ability to work cooperatively and effectively in supervising and directing museum staff to create well-conceived programs that serve the museum’s membership and wider publics, and to develop supportive constituencies.


Fund raising skills to maintain existing donor base and reach out to new donor constituencies. 


Ability to interact well with people and be open to suggestions and perspectives of others.


Management skills to maintain an efficient, well-focused organization. 


Strong financial management and planning skills. 


Ability to build a competent, diverse and empowered workforce.




Danish language skills. 


The deadline for applying is February 1, 2019.  Start date is to be determined by the needs of the applicant in consultation with the museum leadership.

To apply for this position, send a cover letter, resume and three references to the address below.  Please note that the search committee would like all applicants to include the following in their cover letter:  Address how your interests, experience, and skills prepare you to meet the requirements of the job as described in the position description. 

 Ms. Beth Bro Roof, President

Board of Directors

Museum of Danish America

2212 Washington Street

Elk Horn, IA  51531

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