Senior Vice President of Programs - Charles H. Wright Museum

The Wright Museum seeks a permanent, full-time, benefits-eligible Senior Vice President of Programs reporting to the President/CEO.

The Wright Museum is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applicants without regard to ethnicity, gender identity, age, or sexual orientation.

Compensation: $131,000 annually

About Us:

Founded in 1965, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History has for over half a century been a leading institution dedicated to the African American experience.

The Wright Museum houses over 35,000 artifacts and archival materials and is home to And Still We Rise: Our Journey through African American History and Culture, the museum's 22,000 square foot, interactive core exhibit, which is the largest single exhibition on African American history in existence. The Ford Freedom Rotunda and its 95-foot wide by 65-foot high glass dome; this architectural wonder is more than twice the width of the State of Michigan’s Capitol dome and just one foot shy of the width of the U.S. Capitol dome. Our Ring of Genealogy, a 37-foot terrazzo tile creation by artist Hubert Massey surrounded by bronze nameplates of prominent African Americans in history. The Museum has the General Motors Theater, a 317-seat facility for live performances, film, and presentations. The Wright serves over half a million people annually through its exhibitions, programs, and events.

Our mission is to open minds and change lives through the exploration and celebration of African American history and culture.

Our vision is of a world in which the adversity and achievement of African American history inspires everyone toward greater understanding, acceptance, and unity!

Position Overview: In partnership with the President and CEO, establish short and long-range vision, general operating plans, and annual goals, objectives, and priorities for all of the Museum’s exhibition, public programs and educational activities. As a member of the Museum’s Executive Management Team the Senior Vice President of Programs will serve as a key ambassador for the Museum as it relates to all of its public facing programs and services.

Essential Functions:

  • Serve as a member of the President’s senior management team;
  • Establish the Museum as a visionary and innovative creator of cultural and historical programs focused on the African American experience;
  • Spearhead the Museum’s efforts to provide its programs and services to a growing online constituency;
  • Think holistically about strategic programming initiatives to make informed choices about program creation and enhancements;
  • Lead and collaborate with Museum colleagues in the Curatorial, Exhibition Design, Education, Public Programs, Visitor Services, and other departments to create impactful learning experiences for all visitors and stakeholders;
  • Spearhead initiatives to engage diverse communities within the City of Detroit, across the nation, and around the world;
  • Further develop, build upon, and manage partnerships with external entities—including cultural institutions, educational professionals, community groups, thought leaders, and government agencies; Monitor and measure the success and impact of programs; 
  • Work collaboratively with the Director of External Affairs to develop and implement marketing strategies for the Museum’s programs to achieve maximum reach and impact; 
  • Cultivate ongoing relationships with potential funders and donors; 
  • Strategically align programs with the Museum’s Mission, new Strategic Plan, and broader organizational priorities; 
  • Educate, inspire, and engage a broad range of audiences through a variety of programmatic formats and platforms; 
  • Establish annual goals, objectives, and priorities with each team of direct reports; 
  • Collaborate with the Vice President of Development to identify and apply for funding opportunities from individual, government, foundation, and corporate sources; 
  • Work closely with the CFO, and direct reports to manage program budgets; 
  • Maximize earned income from programs while preserving their aesthetic and educational integrity;
  • Other duties as assigned. 


  • A bachelor’s degree in African American Studies, Museum Studies or a related field or the equivalent background derived from work experience. An advanced degree such as an MFA or PHD degree is preferred. 
  • Demonstrated experience of at least (10) ten years of educational or programmatic leadership in a senior role. 
  • A strong track record of providing creative leadership to design and deliver impactful public programming and community building experiences to fulfill and amplify the Museum’s mission.
  • Knowledge of best practices in program design, evaluation, and curriculum development. 
Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities:
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to establish rapport and cultivate relationships across all levels of the organization. 
  • Leads and manages teams with empathy, a high standard of excellence, accountability, and inclusivity, allowing for consensus building and recognition of teamwork. 
  • The ability to work closely with the President to offer creative, yet practical ideas to achieve the strategic direction of the Museum with a deep understanding and commitment to the institutional vision the President puts forward.

How to apply: Application will only be accepted via our website or email to Interested candidates should submit (1) a resume and (2) a cover letter with salary requirements. Please no phone calls.

Posted on 2/18/2021

The Michigan Museums Association is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Thank you to our Partners!

Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721

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