Executive Director – The Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY


The Rockwell Museum, an AAM-accredited Smithsonian Affiliate located in Corning, New York, seeks an Executive Director to chart new pathways for growth and engagement. This acclaimed institution explores the American experience through art and serves as a dynamic community hub, hosting nationally recognized works of art and artists in exhibitions and events. The museum is poised to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2026.

The Rockwell Museum

Located in a restored nineteenth-century Romanesque building that was originally the Corning City Hall and Fire Department, The Rockwell Museum is steeped in community. The foundational components of the Museum’s collection were gifted by local citizens Bob and Hertha Rockwell, avid collectors of art of the American West and who for many years displayed the collection in their namesake department store in downtown Corning.

After the Museum opened in 1976, the collection expanded dramatically thanks to the philanthropy of Clara S. Peck and Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) and currently includes 2,335 works. Today, the Museum collects and presents a wide diversity of American art that spans decades, media, and genres, including Contemporary, Native American, and African American art. Significant holdings include the Hudson River School, including Albert Bierstadt’s iconic Mount Whitney; Western Art represented by Frederic Remington, members of the Taos school, and others; and Post-War and Contemporary Art represented by Marie Watt, Devan Shimoyama, and others.

In addition to permanent exhibitions displayed in 15 galleries throughout 30,000 square feet, the Museum offers a robust temporary exhibition schedule that includes contemporary artists and Smithsonian traveling exhibitions. Special events make The Rockwell an energetic regional culture hub, with lectures, speakers such as best-selling author Margot Lee Shetterly and Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrator Art Spiegelman, and the Music on the Terrace concert series. Families and children engage with the Museum through programs like “Lil Rockwell” and at the Kids Rockwell Art Lab located adjacent to the Museum on Corning’s main retail thoroughfare. The Alley Art Project, a collaboration between the Museum and local schools now in its tenth year, supports the work of guest artists who develop stunning murals in Corning inspired by The Rockwell’s collection. Antigravity, now in its sixth year, connects the museum with contemporary artists to develop and curate a new work of art in the museum’s rotunda every Spring.

The Rockwell Museum operates as an autonomous nonprofit organization in close cooperation and partnership with Corning Incorporated, which owns The Rockwell’s facility and provides maintenance and security services, and the Corning Museum of Glass, which provides benefit administrative and HR services. These arrangements offer The Rockwell substantial financial and operational advantages that underpin the Museum’s sustainability and ability to deliver on mission.

The Museum serves about 35,000 visitors annually (45,000-47,000 pre-Covid), most of whom are drawn from Corning and the Central New York region. The organization has a budget of $5.5 million, an endowment of $5.5 million, a board of 18 Trustees, and 19 full- and part-time staff. The Rockwell staff is organized into four principal departments: Collection and Exhibitions, Education, Finance and Operations, and Advancement and Communications. In addition to the departmental structure, all staff participate in Collaborative Teams that provide interdisciplinary focus on building logistics, exhibitions, visitor engagement, and JEDAI (justice, equity, diversity, access, inclusion). This distributed leadership model has resulted in a highly engaged and creative group of museum professionals devoted to The Rockwell’s mission.

The Opportunity

The new Rockwell Museum Executive Director will begin their tenure from a position of strength and positive challenge. Over the last decade, the Museum undertook a significant rebranding, transforming its image as a private collection of the art of the American West to a dynamic cultural center with the vision of embracing “an evolving understanding of the history and evolution of America through art – to show how the multifaceted nature of experience can be a source for dialogue and conversation, a force for cultural acceptance and a tool for mutual understanding.”

The new ED will be responsible for leveraging that vision by deepening engagement with supporters, expanding visibility and visitation, and cultivating community partnerships that enhance the organization’s social capital and mission.

The Rockwell’s board and staff are focusing on several initiatives that make this an outstanding time for the incoming Executive Director to offer an important contribution:

  • Providing leadership support for a capital campaign starting with the Museum’s anniversary in 2026.
  • Leveraging the Museum’s Smithsonian affiliation for greater impact and community engagement.
  • Leading a strategic planning initiative which includes facility upgrades and potential for growth.
  • Guiding the Museum in through its AAM reaccreditation process starting in Spring, 2025.
  • Planning for significant anniversaries in 2026: The Rockwell’s 50th anniversary, the 75th anniversary of the Corning Museum of Glass, the 175th anniversary of Corning Incorporated, and the U.S. Semiquincentennial.
  • Uplifting the Museum’s substantial commitment to attracting diverse talent at staff and board levels in an ongoing effort to become a leader in modeling equity and inclusion.
  • Ushering in the next chapter of organizational maturity and sustainability with the support of an energetic professional staff team and an effective, policy-oriented board.

Responsibilities, and Expectations

The Executive Director will have a background that includes proven effectiveness as an executive or senior-level professional in nonprofit organizations such as museums, art galleries, academic institutions, or other similar mission-driven organizations. The successful candidate will demonstrate passion for American art and accomplishments as a strategic thinker, team builder, fundraiser, communicator, networker, and leader adept at translating organizational vision into action.

  • Advance The Rockwell Museum’s mission of provoking curiosity, engagement and reflection about art and the American experience.
  • Guide the organization in developing and fulfilling its strategic plan while being responsive to new opportunities for visitor engagement and community impact.
  • Steward a successful fundraising program; actively develop and maintain relationships with donors, sponsors, and the community; prepare for a capital campaign beginning in 2026.
  • Support and amplify the Museum’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity, access, and inclusion (JEDAI).
  • Provide budgetary and financial oversight, accountability, and sustainability; manage revenue streams from earned income, philanthropy, and governmental sources.
  • Cultivate partnerships to support the Museum’s programs, new initiatives, and endowment.
  • Serve as the primary spokesperson for The Rockwell, its mission and programs. Lead an energetic outreach and marketing program that lifts the Museum’s profile. Participate in community organizations and serve on boards as appropriate.
  • Work with the staff to develop and advance the curatorial, collection, and educational direction of the Museum.
  • Maintain positive and productive Board relations, ensuring transparency and best practices for Board development and governance.
  • Cultivate and maintain the Museum’s relationship with senior leadership at Corning Incorporated. Provide regular written updates on The Rockwell’s strategic plan and key activities. Collaborate with the Corning Museum of Glass on shared HR and operational resources.
  • Nurture and manage staff, utilizing emotional intelligence to inspire teamwork and accomplishment through interdisciplinary Collaborative Teams.
  • Establish data-driven performance metrics; assess programs and exhibits to ensure goals and objectives are met.
  • Oversee The Rockwell’s business operations to ensure ethical, legal, and regulatory compliance.

Experience, Skills, and Attributes

  • A minimum of 5 years of senior executive or management experience in nonprofit environments, preferably at a museum, art gallery, academic institution, or other similar mission-driven organization.
  • Success in fundraising, working with donors, foundations, sponsors, and corporate and governmental funding sources.
  • Strategic planning acumen; ability to see the big picture and communicate a vision.
  • Exemplary management and organizational skills in leading staff and volunteer teams.
  • Emotional intelligence and people-oriented leadership skills that build a culture of trust and respect.
  • Strong communication, advocacy, and interpersonal skills with the ability to network and connect with audiences.
  • Experience working in collaboration with diverse constituents, partner entities, and stakeholders across a broad network.
  • Proficiency with financial management; ability to oversee the annual budget, interpret financial statements, and articulate performance to the Board and other stakeholders.
  • Evidence of commitment to JEDAI, through staff, board and programs that advance diversity and access initiatives.
  • BA or equivalent life experience preferred, ideally in art history, management, museum studies, education, or humanities.

Research shows that women and people from underrepresented groups often apply to jobs only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. We recognize that it is highly unlikely that someone meets 100% of the qualifications for a role. If much of this job description describes you, then please apply for this position.


The salary range is $175,000 – $210,000 commensurate with experience, plus an attractive benefits package. H-1B or O-1 U.S. work visa eligibility will be a consideration for international applicants.

How to Apply

To apply in confidence, submit application by July 29, 2024, to: Dan Yaeger, Senior Search Consultant, Museum Search & Reference, via SearchandRef@museum-search.com.

Please include:

  1. A cover letter expressing interest in the position and giving brief examples of past related experience.
  2. A résumé.
  3. The names and contact information for three professional references able to evaluate the candidate’s leadership and work, indicating their relationship with the candidate.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early as candidates will be considered on a rolling basis. Nominations are welcome. All applications and nominations are kept confidential; we will not contact references without your permission. For more details, visit: www.museum-search.com/open-searches.

About Corning, New York and the Region

The Rockwell Museum is located in a scenic and historic community along the banks of the Chemung River in the ancestral homelands of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy – of which the Onöndowa’ga:’ (the Seneca Nation) and the Gayogohó꞉nǫ’ (the Cayuga Nation) are a part. This area is known also as the Finger Lakes Wine Country Region of upstate New York.

Corning is home to Corning Incorporated, a Fortune 500 company and one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science. The Gaffer District in the town’s historic downtown has more than a hundred shops, art studios, galleries, antique shops, restaurants, and bars featuring wine and craft-beer tastings. Corning also features the renowned Corning Museum of Glass, the world’s largest, the Palace Theatre, and annual events like GlassFest. Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art is nearby in Ithaca and the Arnot Art Museum is located in nearby Elmira. The city of Corning dates back to the late eighteenth century and historical sites dot the region.

Corning Glass Works moved to Corning from Brooklyn, NY in 1868, and for more than 150 years Corning Incorporated has maintained its headquarters in Corning, providing an economic base and bringing employment opportunities and a steady stream of international business leaders to “the Crystal City.” Corning Incorporated is a major supporter of The Rockwell Museum, Corning Museum of Glass, and other nonprofit organizations and ensures that Corning has top-rated public, charter, and private schools, resulting in a very desirable place to live and work.

The Finger Lakes region to the north of Corning is known for its vineyards and breweries, and outdoor recreation opportunities including hiking, fishing, and boating. The area is marked by high gorges, many with dramatic waterfalls, including Taughannock Falls and Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca. Watkins Glen is a half-hour from Corning. Skiing is at Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Cortland, 66 miles away. Farther north, Adirondack Park is a 6-million-acre mountain and recreational forest preserve. On Cayuga Lake, the city of Ithaca is home to Cornell University and Ithaca College – known for arts, film, and theater education and performances. Twenty minutes away in Elmira, Elmira College features the Mark Twain Study and Broadway theatre at the Performing Arts Center. Additional colleges and universities can also be found in the region.

Opportunities for affordable home ownership abound in the Corning area; the City of Corning has a population of 11,000 while Steuben County has a population of 95,000. Access to Corning is via nearby Corning/Elmira Regional Airport; The Rockwell Executive Director will have access to flights to and from New York City via Corning Incorporated air shuttle. Interstates 86 and 81 connect Corning with New York City, 4 hours away. Toronto and Philadelphia are both a 4-hour drive and Washington, DC is 5 hours away. Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo, all with outstanding museums and airports, are an easy drive.

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