Executive Director – Samuel Bak Museum and Learning Center, University of Nebraska at Omaha

The future Samuel Bak Museum and Learning Center seeks a leader with the expertise, passion, and management experience to create a vision for this new entity at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). With its unparalleled collection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures by world renowned artist and Holocaust survivor Samuel Bak, this is an exciting opportunity to build a dedicated staff and advisory board, as well as work with existing academic and educational programs. UNO will provide the necessary resources for the incoming leader to chart new directions in pursuit of the museum’s mission.  The anticipated start date for this position is January 2022. 

The Executive Director will have the opportunity to bring new ideas to raise the museum’s profile and increase its reach and impact. The Executive Director will be responsible for: securing the financial resources necessary to achieve the museum’s vision through private, corporate, governmental, and grant funding; recruiting, supervision and development of staff; promotion of the museum to increase audiences, participation, and support; building collaboration with the academic colleges of UNO; building collaborative opportunities with civic, religious, educational, and philanthropic institutions in the Omaha region; developing a strong relationship with Samuel Bak and Pucker Gallery, the institution that represents him; and ensuring the smooth operation of the Museum.

The University has a strong commitment to achieving diversity among the faculty and staff.  The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment.  UNO is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an E-Verify employer. 

Required Qualifications

The successful candidate will have a minimum of a master’s degree in a directly related area of specialization (Art History, Museum Studies, Religion, History, MFA) and a minimum of eight years of progressive leadership, development, planning, and operations experience in the arts/culture sector.  Fundraising, financial management, marketing, facilities management, and strategic planning will be key areas of focus.  The successful candidate will have the opportunity to apply for affiliated status with the Fried Academy, Goldstein Center and/or relevant departments.  The ability to inspire and empower others, strong personal motivation, vision, the appreciation of diverse perspectives, and excellent problem-solving skills are also essential.

Additional Information on UNO and the Samuel Bak Museum and Learning Center

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has recently been gifted over 500 works of art by artist and holocaust survivor Samuel Bak.  Spanning seventy-five years of the artist’s prolific life, the gift is the first ‘seed’ of a larger gift of the artist’s estate and collected papers. With this foundational gift, it is the university’s intent to create a museum and academic learning center dedicated to this work focused on scholarship, academic curricula, community engagement and educational activities related to human rights, genocide studies, the Holocaust, and artistic expression. 

UNO has a strong academic presence in the areas of Holocaust and genocide studies, Jewish Studies, and human rights.  The UNO College of Arts & Sciences is host to three academic research centers:  The Fried Academy for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies, and the Goldstein Center for Human Rights.  The College of Arts & Sciences; College of Communication, Fine Arts, and Media; and College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences collaborated in 2019 to host an exhibit of Mr. Bak’s work in which over 5000 members of the public attended, including over 1,500 middle and high school students from Nebraska and Iowa. The collaboration created learning materials for our local schools to incorporate the exhibit’s themes of human rights and justice into their curricula. 

The mission of the forthcoming Samuel Bak Museum and Learning Center is to expand and deepen appreciation and understanding of the artist’s work by engaging contemporary audiences, fostering regional and national discourse in Holocaust Studies and human rights, and creating a strong network of advocacy and education in human rights. The museum will house the world’s largest collection of original paintings, drawings, sketches, and sculptures by Bak, encompassing the full range of his artistic vision and process, from preliminary sketches to completed works, with everything in-between. The museum building will include ample exhibition spaces, and space for administrative offices, as well as access to meeting space, and public events space on the UNO campus. The Executive Director will report directly to the UNO Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With 16,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness, and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.  The city is home to a number of racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse groups, and is characterized by myriad places to eat, live, and shop.  For more information about how UNO lives its metropolitan mission, see Growing With and Within Our Thriving Community.

Important Application Instructions

Applicants will be accepted until the position is filled. The review of applications will begin on July 1, 2021.

All interested parties must apply through UNO’s application portal, PeopleAdmin.  To learn more and apply online, please visit https://unomaha.peopleadmin.com/postings/12527 and submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and reference information.

Inquiries may be directed to Dr. David Boocker, Dean, UNO College of Arts and Sciences, dboocker@unomaha.edu.

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