Director of Development – Shelburne Museum, VT


Shelburne Museum is a nationally significant institution that is intellectually vibrant, financially sustainable, and committed to its Vermont community through the stewardship and interpretation of a unique campus and renowned collections. It seeks to provide visitors with stimulating experiences reflecting the highest standards of scholarship and the intelligence, whimsy, and courage of its founder, Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888-1960) who described the museum as “an educational project, varied and alive.”

Shelburne Museum was founded in 1947 by Mrs. Webb who was among a small group of collectors who helped define what we now know as American Folk Art, and created an institution designed to engage and delight. The museum’s 39 buildings house collections of more than 100,000 paintings, textiles, decoys, and decorative art objects. The buildings themselves form a collection of 19th-century New England architecture set in an intentional landscape of paths, ponds, specimen trees, and eighteen enchanting gardens. Unlike any other museum, Shelburne is a village of immersive experiences, attracting visitors from all over the world. Since 2011, the John Wilmerding Director of Shelburne Museum, Thomas Denenberg, has further expanded Mrs. Webb’s vision for the museum, enhancing exhibitions and cultural offerings, upgrading the museum’s facilities, connecting with new supporters and partners, and attracting a mission-aligned and engaged board of trustees. In recent years, Shelburne Museum has become a world class institution of increasing sophistication and relevance.

Shelburne Museum features an engaging program of rotating exhibitions and online educational offerings. Recent exhibitions have included: Luigi Lucioni: Modern Light; Object/s of Play: The Work of Cas Holman and Karen Hewitt; Pop Up: Inflated Sculpture; Pet Friendly: The Art of Stephen Huneck; and Built from the Earth: Pueblo Pottery from the Anthony and Teressa Perry Collection. Online exhibitions include In Plain Sight: Rediscovering Charles Sumner Bunn’s Shorebird Decoys; Mary Cassatt’s Impressions: Assembling the Havemeyer Art Collection; and more. Educational programming includes gallery talks, drop-in art activities, family days, and lectures.

Ensuring the enduring vitality of Shelburne Museum, the museum’s 75th Anniversary campaign is targeting new levels of endowment and capital project support with a goal of $35 million. A major initiative of the campaign, announced in May 2023, includes stewardship of a Native American art collection and construction of a building and integrated landscape collaboratively designed as a national resource for the study and care of Indigenous art. “The initiative will reimagine the Museum’s role in presenting American art and material culture,” announced Director Thomas Denenberg. “With an abiding awareness of the responsibility inherent in caring for a collection that represents living cultures…the Museum has worked to build relationships that will make the Perry Center for Native American Art a national resource for the study and care of Indigenous art.” Among those consulted was the leadership of the four bands of state-recognized Abenaki Tribe, including Don Stevens, Chief of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk – Abenaki Nation, who served on the National Advisory Committee and who praised the museum’s collaborations with Indigenous communities.

The Perry Center for Native American Art will be designed by internationally acclaimed Adjaye Associates and will be the 40th building on Shelburne Museum’s 45-acre campus. The Perry Center will house a significant collection of Native American art gathered by Anthony and Teressa Perry and gifted to the museum. When combined with the Indigenous art already stewarded by the museum, the collection will represent nearly 80 Tribes from coast to coast.

Shelburne Museum is governed by a 21-member Board of Trustees led by Chair D. Scott Wise and Director and CEO Thomas Denenberg leads a staff of 75 year-round employees with an equal number of seasonal hires. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, Shelburne Museum reported total revenue of $6,000,193, with $2,929,396 in contributions and grants, $1,507,252 from program services and earned revenue, and $1,467,500 from investment income. Total expenses of $6,378,517 million.


Vermont is a socially, culturally, and environmentally progressive state that is home to some of the country’s most beautiful natural settings. Located at the westernmost edge of the New England region, Vermont’s population is about 625,000 and is made up of small vibrant cities and quaint towns, all offering their own distinct environment with a common throughline of community, civic pride, and creativity. With a unique and dynamic culture, Vermont is consistently ranked one of the safest places to live, one of the best states to live in and to raise a family, and one of the healthiest states in America. The educational system is highly ranked, and the strong transportation infrastructure makes even the most rural areas accessible. Governor Phil Scott and the Department of Economic Development, alongside the Vermont Professionals of Color Network, announced in May 2023 a new partnership to provide technical assistance and development services to Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color business owners and professionals statewide.

With a long tradition of respect for the land, Vermont is the most environmentally conscious state in the country and is a leader in self-sufficient living. Shelburne Museum has recently commissioned two solar arrays, generating 650kw of electricity for the campus and community. Vermonters are serious about outdoor recreation and the state offers everything from skiing and hiking to cycling and sailing. There is a thriving culinary scene featuring innovative local food systems, inventive farm-to-table offerings, artisan cheesemakers, and the most craft breweries per capita in the United States. The state is well-known for its number of living and working artists and for its commitment to the creative economy. A 2019 study showed that 9.3% of Vermont jobs—more than 40,000—are in the creative sector, defined as design, specialty foods, visual arts and fine crafts, performing arts, film and media, literary arts, and culture and heritage.

Located along the shores of Lake Champlain, Shelburne is south of the city of Burlington, the largest city in the state of Vermont. With a population of 7,717, Shelburne records the highest median income in the Burlington metropolitan area and Chittenden County. The most popular local tourist attractions in addition to the museum include Shelburne Farms, Shelburne Orchards, Shelburne Vineyards, and the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.

Position Summary

The Director of Development (DoD) is responsible for planning, implementing, overseeing, and assessing Shelburne Museum’s fundraising plans in support of the organization’s strategic vision and growth. Reporting to the Museum Director and serving as a member of the senior leadership team, the DoD will be responsible for the museum’s annual fundraising, membership, and stewardship programs, currently achieving $2 million in contributed revenue annually, and will increase contributed revenue over the next five years based on the museum’s financial needs. The DoD will manage capital and endowment campaigns, including final elements of the 75th Anniversary campaign.

The DoD will build, lead and mentor a four-member development team including: Grants and Special Projects Manager, Major Gift Officer, Annual Fund and Membership Manager, and Development Assistant. Working closely with the director, board, senior staff, museum partners, and community to cultivate new donors while energizing and stewarding the donor base, the DoD will strengthen the culture of philanthropy at Shelburne Museum.

Roles and Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership

  • Lead, oversee, and implement with the director an integrated fundraising plan, including the 75th Anniversary campaign, with goals, objectives, timelines, and assignment of responsibilities to achieve and support initiatives contained within the museum’s strategic plan.
  • Develop goal-driven, short- and long-term fundraising strategies for annual operating, endowment, planned giving, and capital campaigns.
  • Collaborate with program and collections staff to secure necessary funding for thoughtful and illuminating exhibits and acquisitions that are vital to community engagement and the national and international reputation of the museum.
  • Cultivate and maintain strong partnerships with the board, major donors, foundations, public agencies, and corporate funders to grow substantial contributed revenue opportunities.
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a personal portfolio of current and new funding sources, and explore opportunities for additional individual, foundation, and corporate philanthropy.
  • Guide, cultivate, and increase the membership base, creating compelling opportunities for members while developing a pipeline for community engagement and support.
  • Expand the endowment and increase working capital reserves as part of increasing long-term financial stability for the organization.
  • Maintain a strategic knowledge of best practices and significant trends in philanthropy and adapt fundraising strategies as necessary.
  • Embrace other strategic leadership responsibilities as needed.

Board and Donor Engagement

  • Partner with the director to identify and recruit new board members, educate members about their role in advancing a culture of philanthropy, cultivate and solicit them for financial support, and leverage their respective networks to expand the donor base and support for the museum.
  • Devise strategies with the Development and Campaign committees that allow Shelburne region’s community to engage with the museum as donors, collectors, partners, advisors, and community ambassadors.
  • Ensure high-quality, individualized, and meaningful stewardship of donors, coordinating with colleagues throughout the museum and personally stewarding donors as needed.
  • Speak credibly and persuasively about Shelburne Museum’s vision for the future with current and prospective board members.
  • Lead and oversee the development team in creating and promoting effective cultivation and solicitation opportunities that involve the director, members of the board, curatorial and senior leadership team.
  • Advise board members, both individually and collectively, on best practices in community ambassadorship and donor cultivation.
  • Embrace other board engagement and recruitment, and donor engagement responsibilities as needed.

Team and Organizational Oversight

  • Recruit, diversify, coach, inspire, and motivate a strong fundraising team that represents the communities that Shelburne Museum serves.
  • Partner with the Director of Finance to ensure sound fiscal operation of the fundraising function, including timely, accurate, and comprehensive budgeting, monitoring, forecasting, and reporting of charitable contributions and department expenses.
  • Collaborate with the Director of Communications to ensure consistent messaging and outreach strategies as they affect all fundraising efforts.
  • Work with the annual giving and membership teams and colleagues in communications and marketing to increase membership and participation in the annual fund.
  • Create a supportive, collaborative, productive, and healthy work environment based on respect, teamwork, and the equity, diversity, and inclusion values of the Museum.
  • Set performance standards and provide timely, constructive feedback while supporting opportunities for professional development.
  • Support team ingenuity with appropriate human resources, structures, systems, and technological platforms that are in alignment with current and future trends in fundraising.
  • Ensure the strategic use of the database and other development communication tools, coordinating communications with existing and potential donors to ensure the highest level of donor engagement, satisfaction, expressions of appreciation, and active stewardship.
  • Embrace other team and organizational effectiveness responsibilities as needed.

Traits and Characteristics

The Director of Development will be an experienced development professional with a demonstrated capacity to achieve contributed revenue goals, an affinity for Shelburne Museum’s mission and collections, and have a passion to positively impact the organization’s long-term success. The successful candidate will be goal-oriented and highly self-motivated, balancing both individual and team, autonomy and collaboration with finesse. The DoD will be both highly accountable with strong attention to detail and exceptional follow through in partnership with the director, board, and senior leadership team. An effective communicator and authentic relationship builder, they will show sensitivity and a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all its forms.

Other key competencies include:

  • Leadership – The ability to articulate a vision and create a sense of purpose and direction for internal and external stakeholders.
  • Self-Starting, Time, and Priority Management – The capacity to demonstrate initiatives, the clarity to prioritize and complete tasks to deliver desired outcomes with allotted time frames, the willingness to initiate and pursue a robust work plan, and be responsible for initiatives, decisions, and actions.
  • Member / Customer Focus – The capacity to anticipate, meet, and frequently exceed patron and stakeholder expectations while deeply considering internal stakeholder perspectives.
  • Teamwork – The agility to cooperate with others to meet objectives; and to organize and motivate others while creating of sense of trust, order, direction, and active participation among the board, staff, and other stakeholders to achieve collective goals.
  • Planning, Organizing and Project Management – The capacity to build trust and cooperate with others to meet objectives, establishing courses of action to ensure that work is completed effectively.


A bachelor’s degree is required and a minimum of seven years of experience in progressively responsible development leadership, which includes a clear understanding of all functional areas (individual giving, institutional giving, annual giving, planned giving, stewardship, board relations) and participation in a major capital campaign. Experience with a nonprofit organization, cultural or educational institution, or equivalent with a demonstrated interest and/or commitment to the museum field is preferred. The successful candidate will have excellent writing and public speaking skills. They will have a demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction including experience creating and managing a budget, and a strong record of recruiting and developing exceptional people and fostering a transparent work environment where collegiality is a key to success.

Compensation and Benefits

Shelburne Museum offers competitive compensation, with an anticipated annual salary range between $155,000 to $185,000 and an excellent benefit package that includes annual combined time off, paid holidays, employer-paid individual health, dental, and vision insurance, 401(k) with contribution and match, life insurance, disability, flexible spending and health reimbursement, employee assistance program; and the quality of life that Vermont has to offer.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume highlighting relevant and demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Renée Danger-James, Vice President

1040 First Avenue, Suite 352

New York, New York 10022-2991

Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 212


Shelburne Museum is committed to promoting and protecting Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) for our internal and external communities. Understanding that museums play active roles as cultural leaders, allies, and agents of change, this statement is a living document that outlines the Museum’s values and commitments to advancing DEAI initiatives throughout all aspects of visitor and staff engagement. The Museum recognizes that the advancement of DEAI requires constant work, evaluation, and often includes implementation of new policies, procedures, and practices. In full transparency to the Museum’s staff and visitors, this statement shares the Museum’s short and long-term goals and plans and will be continuously updated to reflect our evolving DEAI efforts. Shelburne Museum does not tolerate any forms of racism, harassment, injustice, bias, or discrimination experienced in our community or at the Museum by staff, Board of Trustees, or visitors. To report any concerns related to any form of harassment, intimidation, or intolerance please contact or

Shelburne Museum is located upon land sacred to the Western Abenaki people. Called N’dakinna, or “our homeland,” this place has long served as an important site of meeting and cultural exchange. We honor and celebrate the Abenaki’s rich history as the traditional and ongoing stewards of these lands and waters. We remember that this land is unceded and recognize the enduring injustices rooted in colonialism and systemic oppression faced by Indigenous peoples. With humility and gratitude, we remain committed to sustaining meaningful relationships with Indigenous peoples to share this land as a place to gather, learn, and thrive.

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