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Executive Director

Portsmouth Historical Society

Portsmouth Historical Society, a nonprofit founded in 1918, promotes the history, culture and arts of New Hampshire’s only seaport city. Located in a dynamic small community with a world-wide reputation, Portsmouth Historical Society (PHS) encompasses a National Historic Landmark property, the John Paul Jones House and Garden; a gallery building with exhibitions that highlight the arts, history and culture of the greater Piscataqua region; a Welcome Center that orients visitors to Portsmouth; a museum shop carrying arts, crafts and local history products; and a small publications press focused on history and the arts. In addition, PHS offers educational programs for both adults and children; architectural and historical walking tours; advocates for Portsmouth’s architectural preservation; and is home to the City of Portsmouth’s 400th anniversary celebration (2023). Last year, we welcomed 41,000 visitors, twice the population of the city of Portsmouth. 


The Executive Director is the face of the Portsmouth Historical Society in the community. As the primary administrative officer, the Executive Director oversees the organization’s general operations and is the visionary who strategically guides its future. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and has overall procedural and operational responsibility for the staff, programs and execution of the Society’s mission. 

  • Requires at least a Master’s degree, preferably in an academic field related to the organization’s areas of interest
  • Ideally the candidate will have at least 10 years of experience in a museum, historic site, cultural institution or other nonprofit including senior-level managerial responsibilities
  • History of leadership and vision including developing and implementing strategic plans, advancing fiscal growth and managing facilities
  • Strong record of successful fundraising
  • Proven ability to work cooperatively and collaboratively with boards of directors, community organizations and government agencies
  • Excellence in nonprofit operations, including supervision of staff and volunteers
  • Strong business and projects management skills as well as oral and written communication skills

Community Relations & Fundraising

 Lead fundraising efforts to grow significant support for the organization working alongside the Board of Trustees and the Director of Development

 Increase revenue through creating and expanding relationships with individuals, companies and community partners

 Maintain, expand and develop beneficial relationships with appropriate local and regional public agencies including city and state governments

 Represent, as its public spokesperson, Portsmouth Historical Society, its Board and partner organizations

 Maintain and deepen communications, partnerships, and working relationships with community groups and organizations

Leadership & Management

 Nurture a workplace culture of innovation and excellence open to change

 Update the current strategic plan and implement initiatives that strengthen Portsmouth Historical Society’s identity, vision and mission

 Broaden, inspire and support an active Board of Trustees who are committed to the organization’s mission and activities

 Ensure policy direction and leadership for internal operations, including staff, consultants and volunteers

 Assure that adequate funds are available and properly managed to permit the organization to execute its work; confirm sound financial practices and records

 Insure that Portsmouth Historical Society meets all legal requirements with regard to financial reporting and controls

Facilities Usage & Maintenance

 Oversee daily building operations and grounds including security system, routine maintenance and overall appearance

 Oversee planning and implementation of upgrades and maintenance of buildings to ensure compliance with best practices for historic structures and quality workmanship

 Responsible for ensuring that Portsmouth Historical Society’s collections are securely stored and protected

 Coordinate and negotiate lease agreements with tenants Programming & Marketing

 Work with staff to develop programs, exhibits and publications that bolster the arts, culture and history of the Piscataqua region

 Promote Portsmouth Historical Society’s programs through robust communications including a website, social media postings, local and regional media coverage

 Oversee development and implementation of additional marketing strategies 

How to Apply:

Salary is commensurate with experience. Benefits package. PHS is an equal opportunity employer.

Submit your resume and salary range to: by May 3, 2019.

Please no phone or email inquiries. 

Salary Range:

Salary will commensurate with experience. Benefits package.

Job Location:


Date Added: March 26, 2019

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