About Our Organization
Madison Children’s Museum (MCM) is an award-winning destination that connects children with their families, their communities, and the world beyond through discovery, learning, and creative play. With a focus on children from birth through age 12, MCM offers a vast array of custom-crafted, interactive exhibits that center on the arts, sciences, culture, health, and civic engagement. Early childhood specialists founded MCM in 1980 as a volunteer-led organization featuring innovative traveling exhibits. To support its growing success, MCM found a home in a warehouse on West Washington Avenue, followed by a move to 100 State Street in 1991. Expansion began again in 2005 when MCM acquired a $5 million, five-story building through the generosity of W. Jerome Frautschi. Renovation joined innovation with a $10 million capital campaign, supporting the use of recycled materials, local builders, and the creation of a rooftop garden. The Hamilton Street facility opened its doors in August 2010, serving a bigger audience, currently hosting around 200,000 visitors, 300 school groups, and more than 800 education programs every year.
MCM creates and builds all its exhibits in-house, which is a rarity and a sign of its commitment to original programming of the highest quality and sustainability. The space is a welcoming, imaginative, and joyful community hub where kids lead, and grownups are happy to follow. In the spring of 2023, MCM launched a $3 million capital campaign to invest in exhibits, programming, staff development, and their facility, establish an innovation fund; and support hosting the Association of Children’s Museums annual conference in 2024. To date $1.15 million of the goal has been committed or raised.
Within walking distance of the Wisconsin state capitol and Madison Capitol Square, MCM is home to one-of-a-kind interactive exhibits, daily activities, and year-round special events. Visitors can sculpt, draw, and weave in the drop-in art studio, experiment and tinker in Frank Lloyd Wright’s mock studio, and explore The Wonderground, an up-cycled former defunct parking lot area turned awe-inspiring, year-round, outdoor play space. The Urb Garden and the Rooftop Rambles space offer more outdoor experiences complete with rooftop chickens and a custom greenhouse-treehouse. MCM also features spaces with built-in fun for birthday parties, weddings, corporate gatherings, and unique after-hours private events.
MCM’s vision is to foster the healthy development of all children so they can fulfill their potential and become engaged community members and global citizens. Embracing the ideals of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) as a foundation for institutional excellence, MCM is committed to ensuring all children, regardless of background, can learn and grow in a supportive environment. MCM’s toolkit for welcoming families of children with autism or sensory processing challenges has become a nationwide resource for more than 250 schools, universities, museums, and care centers. Ranked as one of the top five children’s museums by Parents Magazine, MCM has developed Access for Everyone programs that include Free Family Nights, Access for School Kids (ASK), and First-Time Parent Membership programs to address the racial and economic disparities and collectively tackle the needs of many diverse groups across the Madison area. The 2017/2018 fiscal year saw the roll-out of a curriculum focused on mindfulness, empathy, and kindness to encourage children’s social-emotional development as they establish relationships. In 2019, more than 13,000 people visited the museum with the $1 Access Admissions initiative. Additionally, over 3,400 families became members through the Family Access Membership program and visited more than 26,000 times. Over two years, visits by access member families grew by 84%. In 2022, MCM opened Little John’s Lunchbox, the only pay-as-you-can restaurant in a museum in the United States. That same year, the museum received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create a network of US museums dedicated to climate action and education.
MCM is LEED Gold-certified and received many accolades, including the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries, the National Medal for Museum Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Following an extensive and highly competitive process, MCM has been selected to host InterActivity, the Association of Children's Museums’ international conference of children's museums, in 2024.
MCM is governed by a 14-member board of directors led by chair, Matt Premo. There are 72 employees and over 500 volunteers and mentors who contribute more than 16,000 hours annually. Total operating revenues in fiscal 2024 are anticipated to be $4.4 million, including $2.7 million in contributions, $1.4 million from program services, and $300,000 in investment income and other revenues. There is an endowment of $5.7 million. MCM includes an affiliate foundation, Madison Children's Museum Foundation, Inc. (Foundation) which was organized in 2002 for the benefit of MCM. The Foundation receives, manages, and disburses funds intended to benefit the Museum in accordance with the terms of the agreement between the two organizations.
With a population of almost 270,000, Madison is a city of neighborhoods and strong communities and a vibrant cultural hub of art, music, food, and more. The capital of Wisconsin and the state’s second largest city, Madison is nestled between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. Boasting a thriving downtown, a diverse population, and a strong economy, Madison is celebrated as one of the most desirable cities to live in the United States (Livability.com ranked it number-one in 2022 and 2023).
Madison has an economy that features a large and growing technology sector and serves as the base for many corporate headquarters, including American Family Insurance, Exact Sciences, Filament Games, and Sub Zero. The city is also home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Edgewood College, and several other highly rated community colleges, private colleges, and technical schools. Madison boasts a thriving cultural scene with museums and galleries galore, and a plethora of performing arts experiences to be had, including Broadway shows at the César Pelli-designed Overture Center for the Arts, waterfront festivals of all types, and world-class dance, comedy, and music in the city's unique venues.
Madison is a nature-lovers dream with over 250 parks occupying 6,000 acres of parkland, including Olbrich Park, Owen Conservation Park, Elver Park, Frost Wood Beach, and Henry Vilas Zoo. The five lakes in the city’s vicinity offer ample recreational opportunities, such as fishing and boating, and the 1,260-acre University of Wisconsin Arboretum provides 20 miles of trails. USA Today ranked Madison in its list of ten best cycling towns due to its widespread network of bike paths and lanes and its convenient bike share program, BCycle. NerdWallet named Madison as the greenest city in America, awarding high marks for air quality and a ratio of 12.7 parks per 10,000 residents – more than any other city. The ranking considered Madison’s 200 miles of hiking and biking trails and the fact that there are more bicycles in the city than cars. Madison also has a high number of green jobs and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings and venues. All these attributes make the Madison region one of the best places to live, work, study, and enjoy a vibrant, connected community.
Sources: visitmadison.com; livability.com; travelwisconsin.com
The President & CEO will provide strategic leadership, champion a positive culture, and oversee all museum programs, services, and operations with a focus on creating a sustainable environment for learning through creative play. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President & CEO will monitor and manage the organization’s financial health, guide advocacy efforts, and build on MCM’s vital relationships with the community. The President & CEO will also serve as the primary external voice and face of the organization and will be the lead for both operational and programmatic fundraising. This individual will invigorate earned revenue growth by increasing attendance and memberships and building capacity for new revenue streams. The President & CEO will possess a strong understanding and practice of ADEI as well as a deep commitment to environmental sustainability, and will continue to enhance these values within the institution. They will define, develop, and implement priorities that advance the organization’s mission and strategic goals while ensuring board engagement and team alignment with those priorities. The President & CEO will build an organizational culture of teamwork, accountability, and collegiality characterized by creativity, open communication, and strategic fiscal management.
Roles and Responsibilities
Leadership and Strategic Vision
- Advance MCM’s strategic plan, ensuring the goals and outcomes are consistent with the mission, vision, and values, by providing visionary, collaborative, and forward-thinking leadership.
- Employ knowledge and experience to undo systemic barriers to participation and belonging in cultural organizations, increasing the sense of welcome and belonging at all museum activities for all participants.
- Foster an environment that embraces ADEI through respect, collaboration, intentionality, and anti-racism in the arts.
- Create and maintain strong ties with community decision-makers, government officials, the media, business executives, and other arts leaders to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
- Advocate for children, families, the arts and arts education by serving as a visible leader and key spokesperson in the local and national early learning, arts and culture communities.
- Build upon MCM’s visibility and positive brand to ensure the organization is properly resourced to achieve its goals.
- Embrace other leadership and strategic vision responsibilities, as needed.
Contributed and Earned Revenue Enhancement
- Serve as the organization’s primary development liaison, increasing revenue diversification and inspiring individual and foundation donors, corporate sponsorship opportunities, government grants, and special campaigns.
- Identify and establish relationships with key funders and donors to nurture existing relationships and develop new sources of funding.
- Ensure the successful completion of the current $3 million capital campaign by partnering with the Director of Development and the board and take the lead on future campaigns and expansion projects.
- Cultivate ongoing government support from City of Madison, the state of Wisconsin, and the federal government, elevating the positive impacts of MCM on the larger community and throughout the region.
- Enhance and guide a marketing and communication strategy that maximizes memberships, admissions, rental revenues, and other earned revenue opportunities.
- Embrace other contributed and earned revenue enhancement responsibilities, as needed.
Program Vibrancy and Community Engagement
- Champion and grow the museum's local and national partnerships, innovations, and initiatives in collaboration with MCM's VP of Education and Community Engagement and VP of Exhibits, Facilities and Strategic Initiatives.
- Stay abreast of current research and trends in museums, particularly those for children, early childhood learning, and the continuum of cognitive, emotional, and social development in both formal and informal learning environments.
- Affirm MCM’s role in the ecosystem of a vital regional early learning and arts community with multiple constituents and develop relationships that enhance the goals of that larger community.
- Connect with teachers, principals, and superintendents to understand state and national education requirements and policies to ensure that MCM complements those standards.
- Enhance MCM’s presence and increase impact in the community by actively engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders through public speaking, attendance at community events, and participating in community initiatives on all levels.
- Communicate MCM’s mission to multiple audiences and develop and guide the implementation of effective strategies to expand participation.
- Advocate for children, families, informal education, museums, and the arts at the local, state, and national level.
- Embrace other program vibrancy and community engagement responsibilities, as needed.
Financial Resiliency and Board Governance
- Develop and oversee the organizational budget, managing expenses and income to ensure financial stability and growth.
- Create earned and contributed revenue forecasting models and analysis and make recommendations to support decision-making about MCM’s finances.
- Monitor and report financial performance to the board in collaboration with the finance committee to support timely decision-making.
- Communicate financial position and forecasts to staff and funders, so that they fully understand why financial decisions are made and how resources are allocated.
- Partner with the Nominating and Governance Committee to expand, diversify, and manage the board by ensuring that members are engaged according to their skills, interests, and the needs of the organization.
- Share information with board members regularly and serve as a liaison between board committees and staff.
- Embrace other financial resiliency and board governance responsibilities, as needed.
Organizational Stability and Resiliency
- Oversee all daily operations of MCM, including programs and personnel, to ensure the organization operates effectively and efficiently.
- Elevate and activate MCM’s commitment to AEDI to attract and retain staff and board members from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
- Demonstrate a commitment to MCM’s core values and proven strengths in the areas of design, creativity, and environmental sustainability.
- Anticipate the organization’s dynamic needs and invest in staff development to continuously advance skills and deliver on MCM’s mission.
- Maintain active assessment and management of risks facing the organization and develop mitigation plans to offset potential negative impacts.
- Amplify and advance MCM’s positive culture and work environment, where all departments are equitably valued, and staff of all gender identities, ethnicities, and backgrounds are valued and feel appreciated.
- Demonstrate a genuine curiosity and interest in all aspects of the organization so that all parts of the institution are fully understood and valued.
- Galvanize an experienced staff, fostering collaboration and teamwork.
- Embrace other organizational stability and resiliency responsibilities, as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
The President & CEO will be a dynamic, creative, and altruistic leader who values teamwork and collaboration and is passionate about uplifting all communities. They will be people-oriented and comfortable engaging a wide range of stakeholders and networking across sectors and groups, including donors, government, education, and grass-roots community members. A sound decision-maker, the President & CEO will be versatile and resourceful with the ability to anticipate and solve complex challenges. They will lead with diplomacy and authenticity, remaining sensitive and responsive to the needs of others. The President & CEO will be transparent with constituents, including the board, staff, artists, patrons, and external stakeholders.
Other key competencies include:
- Leadership and Goal Orientation – The capacity to organize, inspire, and influence people to believe in a vision, creating a sense of common purpose centered on the well-being and growth of MCM’s staff, patrons, and community, and setting and attaining goals established to advance MCM’s profile.
- Flexibility and Resiliency – The dexterity to quickly adjust to changing circumstances in the industry and environment with the flexibility to remain optimistic in the face of setbacks and challenges.
- Stakeholder Focus – The sensitivity and insightfulness to anticipate, meet, and frequently exceed parent, patron, teacher, and other stakeholder needs, wants, and expectations.
- Decision Making and Problem Solving – The ability to analyze and diagnose all aspects of a situation and make consistently sound and timely decisions.
- Diplomacy and Understanding Others – The clarity to demonstrate emotional intelligence and sensitivity when handling challenging issues, communicating, building rapport, and relating well to others.
Job Qualifications & Requirements
Qualified candidates will have proven success in arts administration, education, nonprofit, business, or related fields. Expertise in community engagement, fiscal oversight, fundraising, operations, board and staff management, marketing, strategic planning, and program development is needed. Demonstrated success in advancing AEDI strategies is essential. Experience building effective and productive partnerships with a board of directors and staff is strongly desired. A deep interest in and understanding of child development and early childhood education is important. A demonstrable connection and passion for the power of discovery learning and creative play is deeply appreciated. Prior visibility as a public spokesperson who has represented an organization to a diverse range of stakeholders is desired. A track record of managing and motivating a strong unified team through a visionary, collaborative, and forward-thinking leadership style is highly valued.
Compensation and Benefits
MCM offers competitive compensation, with a salary range expected to be between $160,000 and $180,000 with a generous benefits package
How to Apply
Application and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please visit https://artsconsulting.com/opensearches/madison-childrens-museum-president-and-ceo/.
For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Jenna Deja, Vice President
201 West Lake Street, Suite 133
Chicago, IL 60606-1803
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 227
Madison Children’s Museum is an Affirmative Action Plan/Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant because of sex, age, race, color, religion, marital or student status, disability/handicap, national origin or ancestry, income level or source of income, arrest, or conviction record, less than honorable discharge, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or political beliefs.