Job Description

Director/Curator, Fundy Geological Museum

I. Position Scope

The Director/Curator is an employee of the Board of the Cumberland Geological Society (CGS) and reports to its Chair. S/he is responsible for the safe, effective and professional operation of the Fundy Geological Museum (FGM) according to the policies and directives established or approved by the CGS Board and the Nova Scotia Museum Board of Governors.

Working in collaboration with the Cumberland Geological Society (CGS), the Archives, Museums and Libraries (AML) division, Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage (CCH), the Nova Scotia Museum (NSM), and local community and museum partners, the Director/Curator ensures the museum provides engaging heritage experiences for visitors, primarily in natural history, and ensures the preservation of the building, its exhibitions and collections. The Director/Curator provides managerial leadership to museum staff in creating and/or implementing FGM, NSM and CCH policies, programs and initiatives. The Director/Curator is responsible for developing and implementing short and long term plans that create high quality, relevant visitor experiences and reflect the museum’s mandate, goals and objectives. The Director/Curator ensures the long term curation, conservation, development and security of all collections at the FGM in accordance with the policies, procedures and best practices established by the CGS and NSM. The Director/Curator oversees and ensures the gift shop contains relevant items appropriate to the FGM experience.

II. Typical Duties

1. Oversees operation of the Fundy Geological Museum ensuring the delivery of safe, high quality museum experiences for Nova Scotians and visitors. Ensures administration, human resources, procurement and financial management are consistent with museum, CGS Board and CCH and NSM policies and procedures. Fosters a culture of visitor service and museum excellence by incorporating evaluation and best practice and standards into all programs, products and operations.

2. Directly supervises and manages the orientation, training and performance of staff employed at the museum. Responsible for staff recruitment and selection with participation from the Board. Responsible for attendance management and annual performance reviews, staff recognition and discipline in accordance with policies and procedures. Fosters a safe, respectful, collaborative and diverse work environment for staff and the public. Takes a lead role in planning and organizing regular operations meetings to foster a collaborative relationship between staff and to ensure the museum is functioning according to established policies, procedures and best practices.

3. Acts as primary liaison with community partners to ensure strong and productive relationships are developed to further the goals and objectives of the museum and enhance its sustainability and relevance. Fosters relationships with universities; other like-minded institutions locally, regionally and internationally; tourist attractions and operators; rural economic and tourism development offices; educators; and researchers. The Director/Curator is the primary contact for media and public enquiries and promotes FGM activities, programs and events. In collaboration with CGS, manages the negotiation and execution of agreements and contracts with external partners.

4. Prepares and manages the FGM operating budget and ensures it is realistic, achievable, and consistent with CGS and FGM plans. Ensures that deviations in budget, both positive and negative, are reported promptly. Seeks out sources of grants, drafts project proposals for board approval and supports fund-raising initiatives. Ensures that FGM procurement policies and procedures are followed. Undertakes, with guidance or approval from the Board, to raise adequate funds to balance the budget and meet costs of special projects, capital investments, activities and promotions of the CGS.

5. Ensures that NSM and CCH collections management and interpretation policies, plans and procedures are followed and implemented. Reviews and evaluates programs and plans on a continual basis to ensure accuracy and relevancy to key audiences. Organizes temporary exhibitions by undertaking research, determining themes, selecting materials, consulting on design and fabrication. Ensures interpretation activities support the NSM Interpretive Master Plan.

6. Oversees and supervises the curation, research, documentation, conservation, development and management of the FGM collection of specimens, artifacts, archival and library materials; acquires new specimens according to NSM and CGS policies. Practices preventive conservation in caring for the collection, maintains acceptable storage and environmental conditions and ensures safe care and handling methods are used in the transportation of artifacts, specimens and archival materials. Occasionally organizes and/or participates in fieldwork.

7. Oversees the FGM Occupational Health and Safety Committee and ensures the FGM is operated for the safety and security of staff, visitors and the public. Ensures regular hazard assessments are conducted and all safety, security and related incidents are investigated and appropriate corrective actions are implemented.

8. Oversees FGM building maintenance and groundskeeping activities and ensures they are planned and executed safely and with minimal impact to staff, visitors, the collection, exhibitions, revenues, and visitor services. Ensures that required equipment, tools and supplies are provided for staff and that safe work practices are followed.

9. Organizes and/or presents public lectures, workshops, in-service and field excursions for the public, other museums, educational institutions and researchers. Participates in  interdisciplinary teams to assist in the formulation of research, exhibitions, programs, web content and publications. Utilizes social media and internet as appropriate.

III. Reporting Relationships

This Position Reports to:

Chair of the Board of Directors, Cumberland Geological Society

Job Titles Reporting Directly to this Position:

Senior Administrative Officer
Coordinator, Public Programs
Coordinator, Visitor Services
Fossil Lab Manager
Facility Manager

IV. Contacts (Typical)

Maintains productive working relationships and regular, ongoing contact with FGM staff and the Chair of the Board of Directors, Cumberland Geological Society. Meets regularly to discuss museum operations including budgets, interpretation programs and projects, exhibits, special events, collections management, building and grounds maintenance and visitor services. Provides leadership and guidance on human resource and financial issues relating to museum operations and community collaboration.

Regular contact with the Manager, Rural Sites (NSM) and Director, Nova Scotia Museum (NSM) to seek advice and guidance on operational, financial and interpretation issues, policies, procedures and best practices.

Occasional contact with AML and CCH staff including but not limited to: Coordinator, Site Maintenance; Manager, Collections; Curator of Geology; Supervisor, Interpretation; CCH marketing and promotions team; partner organizations including the Association of Nova Scotia Museums (ANSM) and other NSM sites.

Other contacts include the Geological Survey of Canada and other government surveys; university departments; other museums and collecting institutions; professional organizations and other societies.

V. Decision Making

The Director/Curator works within the financial framework of legislation, regulations, CGS/FGM and NSM/CCH policies, and professional knowledge. S/he works under the guidance of the CGS Board of Directors and in collaboration with the NSM, making decisions around the day-to-day implementation, management and organization of FGM operations. S/he works with considerable freedom to make decisions on the coordination and management of resources and scheduling of staff to deliver effective programs and activities; s/he maximizes internal capability and ensures a high level of productivity and activity.

The Director/Curator has considerable freedom to plan, design and implement internal operational procedures and ensure financial controls are appropriate and function according to the policies and plans of the CGS Board. S/he plans and implements staff recruitment, orientation and performance management to ensure effective and efficient staffing and operational needs are addressed.

All decisions related to the museum’s day-to-day staffing priorities, assignments within budgetary authority are made by the Director/Curator. S/he has the authority to allocate resources to meet operational goals, to determine approaches and methods of service delivery and develops the FGM’s operational work plan.

VI. Dimensions (Approximate)

Number of Full Time Equivalent Staff 5
Number of Seasonal Staff variable
Annual Operating Budget $550,000
Physical Plant 17,000 sq. ft.

VII. Working Conditions

A Physical Environment Minimal to Moderate
Examples: Typical normal office environment, frequent use of computers and software; some fieldwork; some travel throughout Nova Scotia by car and occasional out-of-province travel as approved by the CGS Board.

B Physical Effort Moderate
Examples: The physical effort required is consistent with the office environment; occasional fieldwork, field trips and expeditions; assisting with lifting of specimens, furniture, equipment and exhibit cases.

C Sensory Attention Moderate
Examples: Significant attention required to concentrate on reading and listening while interpreting detailed information and deciding how to resolve problems to meet deadlines. Must focus and concentrate while dealing with multiple priorities and constant interruptions.

D Mental Pressures Moderate
Examples: The Director/Curator is often required to make quick accurate day-to-day decisions based only on precedent and/or experience. Handles a fairly high volume of requests for assistance which must be continually re-assessed for priority order depending upon urgency, nature of requests and demands for immediate attention. Often must determine solutions with limited resources and timing; be responsive to change.

VIII. Other

Knowledge and Skills Required
Bachelor’s Degree in Geology or an appropriate discipline plus 5 years’ experience or Master’s Degree plus 3 years’ experience. Demonstrated management skills and proficiency in a specialized area relating to museum work are essential.

Knowledge of Nova Scotia’s geological and/or paleontological history

Excellent interpersonal skills and strong leader, networker, clear communicator and conflict resolver

Minimum three years’ supervisory experience or equivalent

Financial (budgeting) skills

Strong communication skills including writing, word processing, e-mail, and internet

Values teamwork and works well with a wide range of people

Experience in research, collections management, exhibits and program development for a variety of audiences desired

Practical knowledge and experience for buildings, grounds and equipment maintenance desired

Documented scientific research performance desired

Judgment and Initiative Required

Sound judgment is required to balance visitor access with preservation, security and safety.

Ability to discern when it is necessary to contact CGS Board Chair, NSM staff or Manager, Rural Sites for assistance

Ability to carry out required procedures for the successful operation of the FGM

Ability to effectively supervise FGM staff

Ability to represent FGM within the community and beyond and work with a wide range of people to ensure strong partnerships and quality program development