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Director | Louis Armstrong House Museum (Queens, New York)

Position: Director

Company: Louis Armstrong House Museum

Location: Queens, New York

Reporting Relationship: Board of Directors Role dual serves as Higher Education Officer and an employee of Queens College, CUNY


Louis Armstrong House Museum

The Louis Armstrong House Museum is a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark. The Museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of African American Museums, the Museums Council of New York City, the New York State Museums Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and NYC & Company. The Museum is a constituent of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College.

The Louis Armstrong House Museum preserves and promotes the legacy of Louis Armstrong and educates and inspires future generations through community programming. Louis Armstrong and his wife Lucille purchased a modest home in the working-class neighborhood of Corona, Queens in 1943, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Since 2003, this National Historic Landmark has been open to the public six days per week and the Museum has sponsored a variety of educational and cultural public programs. The Research Collections of the Louis Armstrong House Museum are the world’s largest publicly held archives for any jazz musician.  An invaluable resource for researchers from around the world, the Archives are the first place that students, scholars, record companies, publishers, and television producers go for information on Louis Armstrong.

Director Position Description

The Louis Armstrong House Museum (LAHM) in Corona, Queens in New York City seeks an experienced, exceptional, and visionary Director to lead the organization at a time of growth and expansion. The Director leads the organization, oversees its operations, and acts as the primary driver of the strategy to fulfill the organization’s mission to preserve and promote the legacy of Louis Armstrong, and to educate and inspire future generations through community programming.

Advancing the institution is the primary goal for the Director, who is responsible for garnering support for the institution’s priorities, including serving as chief fundraiser for the organization. The Director leads the development and implementation of a strategic vision in partnership with the organization’s Board of Directors and Queens College. The Director provides skillful oversight of the museum campus in Corona, which includes the historic house museum, Selma’s House, and the new Education Center currently under construction. The Director oversees the Louis Armstrong Research Collections, exhibitions, concerts, lectures, education programs and operations, and promotes innovative and thoughtful programming that engages the local community, visitors from around the world, and an expanding online audience.

As the face of the LAHM, the Director possesses gravitas, enthusiasm, and ambition to develop and leverage a range of relationships locally, regionally, nationally, internationally. The Director is the primary advocate preserving and promoting the legacy of Louis Armstrong and “speaks” for all aspects of the organization’s mission and programs. The Director continues to cultivate and leverage the Museum’s strong partnerships within the community, while pursuing new partnerships. Ensuring the continued relevance of the Louis Armstrong House Museum is a key priority, and the Director is charged with continuing to elevate the institution within the region, nationally and internationally.

Role and Responsibilities

The Director is responsible for fulfilling the organization’s mission and its financial objectives by providing leadership and creative vision for its growth and skillful management organization operations. The e Director serves as the organization’s primary representative to the community, engaging and inspiring broad support for LAHM, and expanding its profile.

The Director works closely with the Museum’s Board of Directors and colleagues at Queens College to develop and implement strategic goals and objectives. As the chief fundraiser for the organization, the Director leads the planning and implementation of an institutional advancement plan that includes a capital campaign and regular annual fund- raising for the expanding programs and operations and is actively engaged in cultivating and stewarding current and potential donors. The Director plans and manages the business and financial affairs of the organization, takes a primary role in the planning of the Museum’s public and education programs, and inspires, mentors, and provides ongoing professional development for its staff.

Core Competencies

The successful candidate is an accomplished leader with a background in museums or similar institutions, with demonstrated success in establishing and achieving strategic and mission-related objectives. The successful candidate has significant experience in administrative leadership, including exhibitions, programming, fundraising, human resources management, and financial oversight. Keen business acumen, curatorial judgment, and the ability to be strategic with donors and key partners are essential to success in the position.

The Director models the organization’s culture of openness and inclusivity in all interactions, and is an empathetic leader, treating others with respect. An individual of integrity, ethics and values, this leader inspires unquestioned trust. In addition, successful candidates have knowledge of AAM/AAMD standards and practices, the expertise required to evaluate, care for, and steward LAHM’s historic mansion, its expanding campus and its research collections.

The ideal candidate possesses the following professional competencies and personal characteristics:


  • Provides charismatic leadership to LAHM, with respect for its history and a creative vision for its future.
  • Collaborates with the Board of Directors to refine the organization’s long-term goals. Creates and execute an overall strategic plan. Engages the Board as active participants in fundraising efforts and in implementing the strategic plan.
  • Provides inspirational leadership and well-conceived and executed management of the organization’s staff and volunteers. Fosters a culture of openness and collaboration among staff, volunteers, and the Board of Directors so that each may be informed and enhance the other’s work.
  • Provides skilled and diligent oversight of the organization’s financial resources and operations.
  • Works with the Board of Directors to provide leadership, information, and support that enhances the governance of the organization; communicates with the Board with transparency and provides high-quality information to support sound policy decisions and facilitate their fiduciary responsibility.

Fundraising & External Relations

  • Leads the development and implementation of a fundraising plan that includes a capital campaign, an annual fund, donor cultivation, membership cultivation, appreciation and retention, and corporate, foundation, and government relations.
  • Cultivates major gifts and sponsorships in support of LAHM’s programs and general operations.
  • Embraces the role of chief spokesperson and advocate for LAHM with professional organizations, funding agencies, businesses, donors, other museums and non-profits, and the general public.
  • Works closely with the Board of Directors to enable the Board to fulfill its governance function and energizes the Board to be full participants in fundraising and advocacy efforts and mentors and supports the work of the Board to identify, cultivate and meet with prospective donors and new members.
  • Works in close collaboration with staff and volunteers to enhance the visitor experience before, during, and after a visit to the historic house to ensure that visitors have an exceptional experience.
  • Partners with staff to enhance access to scholars and researchers to the Louis Armstrong Research Collections at the site and online.
  • Explores new ways to reach audiences, creates innovative programs and initiatives, and partners with outside individuals and organizations to develop meaningful, engaging programming.

Cultural and Programmatic Leadership

  • Provides experience, scholarship and industry stature to maintain LAHM’s profile in the historic house and research communities regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • Serves as the primary spokesperson and advocate for the organization’s dual identity of historic house museum and rare research collection.
  • Provides understanding and knowledge of Louis Armstrong and the field of jazz and its key players. Be able to translate this into meaningful collaborations and programs for the institution that speak to the community, national and international audiences.
  • Inspires and directs scholarly activities that elevate the organization’s profile, including authorship of publications, and seeking industry and/or academic recognition for specific portions of the research collections, or for noteworthy exhibitions.


  • Develops and implements the annual operating plan and annual budget of the organization as approved by the Board of Directors by working with staff to evaluate the day-to-day operational effectiveness of the organization and align resources to fulfill strategic goals.
  • Creates a positive working environment for the entire organization, strong staff morale, and a culture of teamwork and mutual support among all staff. In collaboration with Queens College, implements policies and procedures that ensure ongoing professional development, and motivate and guide a highly functioning team.
  • Develops budgets and works closely with professional advisors on the annual financial audit, tax filings, and maintenance of correct and complete financial records. With professional advisors, maintains the healthy operation of the organization under all state and local rules and regulations and contractual requirements, keeping with the best practices and standards of collecting museums.


  • Bachelor’s degree and eight years’ related experience required.
  • Master’s degree in a related discipline is preferred.


A competitive compensation package will be offered to the final candidate.

Application Process

Interested and qualified candidates are welcome to submit a resume and cover letter to:

CUNY encourages people with disabilities, minorities, veterans and women to apply. At CUNY, Italian Americans are also included among our protected groups. Applicants and employees will not be discriminated against on the basis of any legally protected category, including sexual orientation or gender identity. EEO/AA/Vet/Disability Employer.


Korn Ferry Contacts

Jodi Weiss
Practice Leader, Higher Education & Nonprofit Practice
Direct: 202-955-5943

Brendan Gallagher
Managing Associate, Higher Education & Nonprofit Practice
Direct: 215-656-5342

Mike Moore
Senior Recruiter, Higher Education & Nonprofit Practice
Direct: 713-557-6189