Fellowship Position Description

Position Title: Ford W. Bell Fellow for Museums & P-12 Education

Department/Office: Center for the Future of Museums (CFM)

Organization: American Alliance of Museums (AAM)

Supervisor: VP, Strategic Foresight and Founding Director, CFM

Status: Two-year, full-time position

Salary range: $47,000 – $71,000 plus benefits

Location: Washington, DC Metropolitan area, with significant travel. Proposals for non-resident fellows will be considered (see details below).

The Ford W. Bell Fellow for Museums & P-12 Education (Ford Fellow) will research, develop and implement plans for the Alliance’s initiative to integrate museums into the education and learning environments of the next era of P-12 education in the United States. This is an opportunity for you to shape the next educational era, exploring the boundaries of how museums can contribute to learning.

Reporting the director of CFM and collaboration with the staff of the Government Relations and Development departments, you will help operationalize the recommendations of the Alliance’s 2014 report “Building the Future of Education: Museums and the Learning Ecosystem,” in order to establish how AAM will:

  1. Spread the Word (compile and share information needed to guide planning and decision making by museums, educators and learners)
  2. Disrupt Conventional Dialogue (promote ideas that disrupt conventional thinking about education and expand our conception of the educational landscape)
  3. Create Systemic Change (instigate innovative experiments that could increase the role museums play in education)

You will create and execute a two year work plan that combines elements of the following:

  1. Research, compile and disseminate case studies of successful projects that integrate museum assets into the larger educational landscape.
  2. Determine which existing high-performing digital platforms that aggregate and distribute educational content are superior options for museum use. devising ways to inspire museums to make use of them.
  3. Develop strategies to cultivate innovative experimentation by individual museums or by consortia of museums.
  4. Identify research needed to fill in gaps in our knowledge regarding the outcomes of museums educational work, and find appropriate groups or individuals to conduct this research and funders that might support such work.

Plan and execute a local convening in one selected city that brings together museum staff with education providers (formal and informal) to identify appropriate ways for that community to integrate museum resources into the local learning ecosystem.

In addition, you will:

  • Represent the Alliance at relevant meetings and conferences.
  • Prepare competitive grant applications to support this education initiative.
  • Work closely with national and local associations and organizations engaged in the P-12 education sphere, to ensure the Alliance’s work complements and builds on their efforts.
  • Use traditional and social media to disseminate information about this initiative.

The Alliance sees the rapidly evolving educational landscape as an opportunity to ensure museum resources are used to their fullest advantage in the 21st century. The two-year fellowship will culminate with a report to the Alliance, and the museum field, outlining recommendations and next steps for how to integrate museums more systematically into the U.S. learning landscape. (This initiative may evolve into its own department at the Alliance, added to our core mission delivery areas of excellence, advocacy and professional development.)

The presumption is the fellow will be based in Washington, DC. Applicants may proposing to conduct the fellowship from their own base of operations should indicate this in their cover letter, and make a strong case for why their connections in and knowledge of their own community would be an advantage in achieving the fellowship goals.

Required and preferred qualifications

We are looking for someone with a futures-oriented mindset, who is willing to challenge assumptions about how museums and schools work today.
You will also be asked to demonstrate:

Strong project management skills, including planning, analysis, decision making and problem solving

  • Excellent problem-solving abilities; flexibility; attention to detail
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, particularly the ability to convey information effectively and write and speak persuasively for a variety of audiences
  • Proficiency with social media platforms
  • Basic digital literacy including word-processing and spreadsheet skills
  • Ability to work independently, yet ask for help when needed
  • Intrinsic motivation; a self-starter
  • Strong desire to transform pre-college education U.S.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Work experience in the nonprofit sector in general, in out-of-school learning environments (museums in particular), or in public or private schools, is desirable
  • Personal experience (as a learner, parent, or educator) with alternative educational structures (home-schooling, un-schooling, experimental schools) would be a plus

The American Alliance of Museums is committed to equal opportunity for all employees and prospective employees without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, personal appearance, sexual orientation, political affiliation, family responsibilities, disability, matriculation, marital status or any other category protected by law. This policy applies to all aspects of employment at the Alliance, including but not limited to recruitment, promotion, compensation, benefits, training and development, access to facilities, discipline, separation of employment, and other terms and conditions of employment.