Director – Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Job Profile: Director

The Zimmerli Art Museum, an important fixture of the Rutgers University, New Brunswick campus, is seeking a visionary change-agent to build upon the essential work of creating an integrated cultural magnet for the campus and the region. As one of the largest and most distinguishing university-based museums in the country, the Zimmerli seeks to use its world-class collections and abundant potential partnerships to provide the university and diverse regional, national and international audiences with relevant, engaging and topical exhibitions, programs and events. The successful candidate for the Zimmerli Art Museum Director will be a flexible collaborator with staff, faculty and students, excited to explore the potential for cross-disciplinary engagement. Reporting to the Chancellor or designee, the Director will be an enthusiastic partner to the Advisory Board, senior administration and university leadership. With a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Rutgers University is entering into a new and exciting chapter of evolution, engaging in robust conversations about what defines excellence, collaboration and cross-disciplinary learning, and seeks a highly engaged Museum Director to build unity internally and to open pathways across its community.

Located at the center of Rutgers’ main campus, the Zimmerli Art Museum is emerging from a sequence of management transitions and is ready for a strong and accessible leader that will build momentum and direction among the staff (25 FT), volunteers and interns, and work together to amplify their place in the community. The Zimmerli’s budget is about $5M and its permanent collection totals more than 60,000 works of art in a wide range of media from the fifteenth century to the present. It is particularly strong in nineteenth-century French art and American prints, and includes the world’s largest holdings of Russian art and Soviet non-conformist art from the

Dodge Collection, with selections on view in the 35,000-sqare-foot gallery space at the Museum. While celebrating their unique collection strengths, staff and community alike express a critical need for more depth and diversity on view, and a collective desire to energize the model. The new Director will help define and establish an exciting, innovative, 21st-century exhibition and acquisition profile that will align with community on and off-campus. They must be an authentic champion of new ideas and be eager to enjoy the complex, stimulating engagement of student and faculty energy.

Successful candidates will have a solid record of effective museum management, especially at a university, and of harnessing staff with positive energy. They will be creative and active fundraisers with an understanding of the complex and interdisciplinary nature of university relationships, and be comfortable with audience and donor development. Candidates will understand the challenges of evolving facility needs and budget realities and be able to envision and lead growth and adaptation. As the University prepares for in-person instruction this fall and celebrates the return to community life with new President Jonathan Holloway, there is great excitement and optimism for the future.

Opportunities of the Position

The next Director will have an exciting opportunity to join with staff, students and faculty to increase access, flexibility and porosity at the Zimmerli, constructing a new model of a welcoming teaching museum, a laboratory for learning and nexus for relevant, contemporary, cross-disciplinary dialogue. This is also a good moment to lay the groundwork that leads to museum accreditation with the American Alliance of Museums.

The Zimmerli Art Museum Director will be expected to:

  • Be a visible influencer, at the table for university conversations.
  • Care deeply about connecting with community, both on and off-campus.
  • Be committed to advancing diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in all aspects of their and the Museum’s work.
  • Create a strategic vision for the Zimmerli that honors its strengths and expands its breadth.
  • Join with staff in creating a welcoming culture at the Museum, from front-facing interactions to exhibitions and programs.
  • Continue to provide a vigorous schedule of publications and intellectual engagement.
  • Explore the opportunities for a robust digital museum platform.

Education and Experience Desired

  • At least five years, preferably more, of museum management desired; preference will be given to university museum experience.
  • Advanced, preferably terminal, degree in Art or Art History required; PhD an asset.
  • A broad understanding and appreciation of world art history and culture, and familiarity with global contemporary art are also expected.
  • Must have a significant track record of advancing direct, experiential engagement between art and communities of all kinds.
  • A strong network of museum professional contacts nationally and internationally is desired.
  • Persuasive communication skills both oral and written are a must.

Desired Personal Characteristics

  • Ambitious, energetic and positive outlook.
  • Authentic commitment to community.
  • Enthusiastic spokesperson for the museum as a robust educational platform.  
  • Diplomatic relationship builder.
  • Not just tolerant of fluid university culture, but energized by it.    


To apply in confidence, email 1) a letter expressing interest in this particular position and giving brief examples of past related experience; 2) a résumé; 3) names of three references with contact information (not contacted without prior permission). All applications and nominations are kept confidential. Submit application by July 26, 2021 to retained search firm: Lora Urbanelli, Museum Search & Reference, For additional information visit: are welcome. 

It is university policy to provide equal employment opportunity to all its employees and applicants for employment regardless of their race, creed, color, national origin, age, ancestry, nationality, marital or domestic partnership or civil union status, sex, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, disability status, liability for military service, protected veteran status, affectional or sexual orientation, atypical cellular or blood trait, genetic information (including the refusal to submit to genetic testing), or any other category protected by law. As an institution, we value diversity of background and opinion, and prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of any legally protected class in the areas of hiring, recruitment, promotion, transfer, demotion, training, compensation, pay, fringe benefits, layoff, termination or any other terms and conditions of employment. For additional information please see the Non-Discrimination Statement.

The Zimmerli Art Museum

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. The major benefactors for the construction of the museum were Ralph and Alan Voorhees, and the Zimmerli was named for their mother.

The Museum is headquartered in a 70,000-square-foot facility and has a collection of 60,000 objects ranging from ancient to contemporary art and featuring particularly rich holdings in the areas of French art of the nineteenth century, Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art, and American and European works on paper, including prints, drawings, photographs, and rare books.

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. Additional support comes from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment of the Arts; the Estate of Victoria J. Mastrobuono; and donors, members, and friends of the museum. Contributions from other corporations, foundations, and individuals, and earned income also provide vital annual support for the Zimmerli’s operations and programs. 

About Rutgers

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the State’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. It was founded in New Brunswick in 1766, and was the only state university to have existed before the Revolutionary War. The eighth oldest institution of higher learning in the nation, it was named in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, a former trustee and Revolutionary War veteran. In 1924, Rutgers assumed University status. Legislative acts designated all of the Rutgers divisions combined as “The State University of New Jersey” in 1956. 

Rutgers University prides itself on being among the most ethnically diverse campuses in the nation and the Big Ten.  It currently enrolls about 78,000 undergraduate and graduate students of diverse nationalities, who study at three campuses: New Brunswick (over 50,000), Newark, and Camden. More than 100 undergraduate majors and 180 graduate programs are offered at 28 schools and colleges. The Rutgers faculty numbers nearly 6,714 across all campuses and is dedicated to teaching, research, and public service.

The New Brunswick Campus sits on the shores of the Raritan River and contains five distinct campuses—Busch, College Avenue, Cook, Douglass, and Livingston. In addition to housing the Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, New Brunswick is home to the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Graduate School of Education, and schools of Communication and Information, Engineering, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Social Work, among others.  

About New Brunswick, NJ

New Brunswick, in central New Jersey, was founded in 1681 and has a rich history. Today it is a bustling and diverse regional hub of over 55,000 residents, including many who commute by rail and car to Manhattan, just 25 miles to the north. Due to the concentration of medical facilities in the area, including Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Saint Peter’s University Hospital, as well as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick is known as both the Hub City and the Healthcare City. The corporate headquarters and production facilities of several global pharmaceutical companies are situated in the city, including Johnson & Johnson and Bristol Myers Squibb.

There are a wide array of arts and entertainment facilities in the New Brunswick area, including the George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, American Repertory Ballet, New Brunswick Jazz Project, and of course, Rutgers’ Zimmerli Art Museum and Mason Gross School of the Arts. There are many nightclubs and restaurants, outdoor parks and natural settings, and the Jersey Shore is less than an hour’s drive, as are New Jersey’s wonderful state parks, ski areas, mountains and rivers.  Truly centrally located, the Hub City is not only close to New York City, but 65 miles from Philadelphia, both easily accessible by train.

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