Director – Goldstein Museum of Design, University of Minnesota

Job Code: 9321MO

Job Family: Museums

Supervisor: Associate Dean, College of Design


The Goldstein Museum of Design (GMD) is a rare gem, as a comprehensive design museum situated prominently in the Midwest. The GMD director position presents an opportunity to support and enhance the growth of an emerging College of Design (CDES) with strengths in technology-based and community-engaged design. The position is located in the Goldstein Museum, within CDES at the University of Minnesota (UMN). The GMD Director is responsible for providing strategic vision and effective management to a steadily evolving museum with an impressive international collection and a dynamic role in college, university, and community life.

The Director will collaborate to bring the museum into its next phase as a full-fledged collegiate center, cooperating with programs and initiatives throughout the college—as well as with other museums and libraries in UMN and the broader community—to provide broad access, ensure professional stewardship of GMD collections, and support ongoing development of interdisciplinary research and curricula. The GMD Director position is a 100%-time, 12-month academic administrative (P&A) appointment at the level of Museum Operations Manager 1 (9321MO). The appointment is annually renewable, depending on funding and performance. Anticipated salary range is $78,000 – $93,000 annually. This position currently supervises the GMD team consisting of four professional museum staff as well as the graduate student staff.  As Director, the position reports to the CDES Associate Dean for Research, Creative Scholarship, and Engagement.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and community engagement are core values of CDES and UMN as a whole. The UMN system-wide strategic plan, MPact 2025, reflects our commitment to world-class research, teaching, and service, undertaken in the spirit of the University’s land-grant mission to create equitable access and innovative programming at home and with global impact. The plan emphasizes deepened commitment to forging and sustaining mutually beneficial relationships with underserved local communities and strategic partners to enhance access to higher education, increase intercultural competency, and reduce economic and social disparities.

Likewise, the recent CDES Coordinated Action Planning process affirmed the importance of understanding diverse perspectives and preparing students to collaborate with a wide range of people. These values are further supported by the recently-launched CDES Design Justice initiative to create space, policy, and practices that support the inclusion and retention of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), as well as other communities who have been historically underinvested.

The GMD Director will help to ensure that the museum ethically engages and collaborates with partners on and off campus, to co-create projects that produce reciprocal benefits, particularly for communities who have been underserved by and underrepresented in higher education in general and the museum fields in particular.      

The Kusske Design Initiative (KDI) further emphasizes the importance of diversity through supporting collaborations that reach across disciplinary bounds, to expand knowledge and design practice in ways that support environmental resilience, circular chains of materials resourcing and disposal, and ethical labor practices. The GMD Director will have opportunities to contribute to exhibits and projects based on these themes, to connect students, faculty, staff, and community across and beyond CDES.


Collections Development and Management (15%)

  • Oversee management of the broad-ranging GMD collections and their promotion through exhibitions, events, projects, publications, and support for teaching, which include: object acquisition; space and storage management; registration and cataloging; digitization and archiving; and deaccessioning as appropriate.
  • Ensure effectiveness of the GMD Collection Committee.
  • Cooperate as appropriate with college and University colleagues in managing additional design-related collections.

Exhibitions and Programs Management & Development (25%)

  • Serve as lead Curator, managing annual exhibitions and associated programming for GMD gallery spaces, collaborating with GMD Curator/s, guest curators, GMD Registrar/Exhibitions Coordinator, faculty, students, and staff.
  • Serve as an advisor to faculty and staff regarding student displays and other exhibitions.
  • Cooperate with colleagues to coordinate programming of display areas in all buildings that host CDES spaces and activity.

Research, Teaching, and Internal Relationship Development & Management (15%)

  • Encourage, support, and contribute to scholarship on the collection.
  • Integrate diverse perspectives in curriculum development, teaching, and program design.
  • Create welcoming gallery, studio/workshop, and classroom environments for students, faculty, staff, and other constituents from diverse backgrounds.
  • Create and deliver presentations about the GMD collection and processes to varied scholarly audiences.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with directors of research centers, initiatives, and projects to integrate and elevate the visibility of GMD collections and programs.
  • Teach varied courses, workshops, seminars, etc., as determined with CDES academic program directors and associate deans, including use of online delivery platforms and development of syllabi and other teaching materials.
  • Offer office and collection access hours, regularly and as requested.
  • Consult regularly with associate deans and program directors.
  • Participate in a range of academic activities such as curriculum development, guest lectures, etc.
  • May serve on students’ project review and thesis committees as appropriate.

Strategic Advancement, Operations, and Personnel Management (20%)

  • Lead visioning, long-term and strategic planning to accomplish the museum’s mission.
  • Collaborate with faculty, staff, and students, as well as with programs, projects, and initiatives, to continue  advancing and embedding GMD’s status as a collegiate center serving both college and community.
  • Develop and manage the museum’s operating budget.
  • Manage museum staff.

Outreach, Engagement, Development, External Relations Development (25%)

  • Collaborate with CDES Development and UMN Foundation colleagues to:
    • Identify, engage, cultivate, solicit, and steward donors, to continue building a philanthropic base of support for the museum.
    • Build strong relationships with donors and prospective donors.
    • Prepare proposals and related materials for prospective supporters and grant-funding opportunities.
    • Establish and manage a volunteer Advisory Board of supporters, as well as a Collections committee to advise acquisitions and de-acquisitions.
  • Cultivate local, regional, national, and global connections with scholars and museum colleagues and community partners.
  • Represent the museum through membership at local, regional, national, and global organizations.
  • Cooperate with CDES Advancement to promote knowledge of the GMD collection through management of marketing campaigns, social media, advertising, and publications. 
  • Serve as the spokesperson and advocate for the museum, responding to inquiries from the media and leading special tours.

Other duties, as assigned

  • Perform additional duties as assigned to serve GMD, CDES, and UMN.
  • Uphold UMN brand standards.
  • Work occasional evenings and weekends for special events.


Essential Qualifications and Experience

  • BA/BS plus at least six years of experience, or master’s degree plus at least four years of experience, or a terminal degree plus at least two years of experience. At least one degree in design, design history, museum studies, or a related field. Years of experience must be in a similar position at a museum, gallery, or cultural institution.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of standards and best practices for museums, galleries, or similar organizations, emphasizing audience-centered and/or student-centered approaches.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the histories and legacies of museums, many of which have been colonial enterprises that have (consciously or not) advanced white supremacy, as well as familiarity with contemporary movements to decolonize museum collections and practices.  
  • Demonstrated global perspective and clear vision for how museums can be sites of cultural inclusion, social justice, and ethical co-creation with community partners; commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and ability to interact with a broad range of individuals including students, faculty, staff, designers, lenders, volunteers, donors, and communities off campus.
  • Demonstrated vision and resourcefulness.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to make a compelling case for support with prospective donors and advocates, and to distill information for both specialized audiences and the general public.

Preferred Qualifications and Experience

  • Professional experience at a museum or gallery, preferably (but not necessarily) one situated in a university.
  • Experience with one or more year(s) of collections-based teaching.
  • Proven success with fundraising and audience development.
  • Experience with the development and implementation of strategic plans.


Governance.  The Goldstein Museum of Design (GMD) is a research center of the College of Design (CDES) at the University of Minnesota (UMN). Members of the GMD Advisory Board do not have fiduciary responsibility, but support fundraising, communications, and advocacy. Fundraising is supported by the college’s Development team.

History.  GMD is a comprehensive design museum situated prominently in the Midwest. It is named in honor of Harriet and Vetta Goldstein, who in 1925 wrote the first related-arts textbook, Art in Every Day Life. Believing in the importance of object-centered learning, they brought examples of global design into their classrooms, including Tiffany metalwork, Rookwood pottery, Navajo rugs, and Indonesian batik. The sisters’ teaching collection became GMD’s core collection. A gift in 1978 by the Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter of The Fashion Group International formed the foundation of GMD’s premier designer fashion collection.

Today, GMD conducts operations in the main CDES buildings on both the St. Paul and Minneapolis sites of the UMN Twin Cities campus. GMD presents 5-6 exhibitions annually in galleries at McNeal Hall and Rapson Hall, and cooperates with exhibits at other campus locations. Exhibitions reflect a range of disciplines and feature designers, design process, surveys of design topics, and innovative design concepts. Generally, exhibitions are free and curated by the staff, with guest curators from CDES faculty or visiting designers.

Collection.  GMD’s collection contains more than 34,000 designed objects, including apparel and accessories, textiles, decorative arts and product design, furniture,  graphic design, and drawings of objects and architecture. Objects are accessed by professional designers, faculty, students, and researchers from the UMN and area colleges, universities, and high schools, as well as by visitors from other locales. Objects in the collection are regularly included in exhibitions and prominently featured in public programs. The digital collection database has increased attention to GMD as a unique design resource, available online for research and study by the UMN community and beyond. The designer fashion collection, a highlight of the collection, contains the work of internationally prominent designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Elsa Schiaparelli, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Issey Miyake, Norman Norrell, and Isaac Mizrahi. Most of the collection was acquired by donation. Acquisition funds have been allocated for purchases of works by designers of color.

UMN Twin Cities Campus
The Twin Cities is a major design hub, home to design-oriented Fortune 500 companies such as Target, 3M, General Mills, Best Buy, and Medtronic, several international and national award-winning architecture practices, thriving local businesses, and a strong non-profit sector. Our students have a wide range of internship opportunities, our graduates enjoy high employment rates, and our alumni are highly engaged with current students and faculty. We take pride in the University of Minnesota’s designations as a Research 1 and Community-Engaged University, which provide foundations for many of our award-winning projects.

The Twin Cities campus is located in an increasingly diverse region at the heart of an increasingly global Midwest, with eleven federally recognized tribal nations, the largest urban Native American population in the country, and growing African American, Latino and Chicano, and Asian American populations. The links between Minnesota communities and communities around the world are notable: Minneapolis-Saint Paul now hosts the largest number of people of Somali descent outside of Somalia and the nation’s largest urban Hmong-American population. The region’s internationally engaged businesses, small and large arts organizations, non-profits, and multifaceted communities create a rich context for learning, partnerships, and engagement with local and global issues and perspectives.

The University strongly embraces equity and diversity as foundational values, reflected in its mission statement and advanced on an institutional strategic level. Students on the Twin Cities campus include 24% students of color and 11% international students; 25% of all undergraduates are first-generation college students. Located on traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous people, UMN is based on Dakota land ceded in the Treaties of 1837 and 1851. The University acknowledges that this place has a complex and layered history and is committed to ongoing efforts to recognize, support, and advocate for American Indian Nations and peoples.

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