Job: Executive Director, Historical Society of Dauphin County–Harrisburg, PA

Executive Director, Historical Society of Dauphin County, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania


The Historical Society of Dauphin County (HSDC) ( was founded in 1869 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Early programs and displays were offered in the 1860 County Courthouse. In 1906, a prominent Harrisburg family donated its Front Street home to the Society as its headquarters. Here the Society remained until 1941, when the heirs of 19th century businessman and politician Simon Cameron gave to the Society their home, built by early settler John Harris, one of the city’s founders.

The mission of the HSDC is to collect, preserve, exhibit, publish, and promote interest in the history of Dauphin County for the benefit of the public. Friends of the Harris-Cameron Mansion is an auxiliary group that provides opportunities for the public to visit the house.


John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion: The Georgian-style stone house was built c. 1766 by John Harris, Jr., whose father was an early settler in the region. In 1863, Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s first Secretary of War and former Ambassador to Russia, purchased the house and transformed it into the Victorian showplace we see today. The house is a National Historic Landmark and is used for public and private events, programs, and tours, and exhibitions of collections (which number approximately 15,000 items). Last year more than 3,200 enjoyed touring or meeting in the house.

Alexander Family Research Library: The library contains 3,700 books on local history and genealogical data related to Dauphin County. All sorts of encyclopedias, community histories, genealogies, church, marriage, and death information are found here, as well as Civil War regimental histories, and books relating to Native Americans, transportation history, and local buildings and businesses. The library is located in the 1893 stable adjacent to the Mansion.

Archives:  The archives, growing for over 130 years, contains 20,000 items in collections of historical records of individuals and families, businesses, agencies, organizations, institutions, schools, churches, military units, and other entities located in Dauphin County. The photo archives contains more than one million images dating from the 1850s to the present, including collections from prominent families and photographers, and the Allied Pix newspaper collection of 1952-1994. Nearly 1,000 people used the library and archives. HSDC publishes from time to time a journal, Susquehanna Heritage, and a quarterly newsletter, The Oracle. It has a number of printed items and photos for sale through its Web site, including a monumental tome, Building Harrisburg: The Architects and Builders, 1719-1941, by the staff librarian.

THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR is the senior staff member of the Society and is responsible for the overall operation and management of the Society, in accordance with its mission statement. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Trustees.


The successful candidate shall:
 hold a BA/BS, preferably in the field of museum studies, history, historic preservation or museum management
 show experience in successful leadership within a non-profit historical or cultural organization
 exhibit excellent organizational, administrative, planning, and financial management skills
 demonstrate a record of success in cultivating fundraising relationships within the community; success in obtaining grants is desirable
 show an ability to work closely with Board members and volunteers

Specific duties include the following:

Board of Trustees:
 Schedules Executive Committee and board meetings in concert with board leadership.
 Prepares draft board meeting agendas for review and approval by the Executive Committee.
 Assures board meeting minutes and appropriate materials and reports are provided to board members prior to or at board meetings.
 Attends monthly board meetings and provides status/committee reports as needed.
 Works with the Board in the maintenance of a viable strategic plan and appropriate policies and procedures.
 Supports the Board members in carrying out their responsibilities.
 Administers the policies and directives of the Board of Trustees.
 Serves as ex officio member of all board committees.

 Prepares a draft annual budget (approximately $260,000 per annum) for Finance Committee and board approval.
 Oversees/approves expenditures to ensure fiscal controls and stability.
 Processes and records all income and expenses, pays invoices and makes bank deposits.
 Reconciles bank accounts monthly.
 Assures that restricted funds are processed and expensed as directed.
 Prepares payroll and employee tax forms, files reports for and pays all monthly, quarterly and annual federal, state and local taxes.
 Updates and maintains the internal accounting system and fiscal records.
 Manages funds received and files necessary fiscal and program reports for grants.
 Arranges for and facilitates an annual financial audit by a board-selected firm.

 Coordinates and facilitates fundraising events and sponsor outreach with appropriate board committees.
 Applies for grants from federal, state, and county governments; the business community; foundations, trusts, and others.
 Facilitates membership outreach and development.

Building and Grounds:
 Arranges for maintenance of and improvements to all property and grounds, systems, services, and utilities.
 Works with the Property Committee and the Board to assure preservation of the Mansion, library building, garage, and off-site storage building.

 Represents the Society before fundraising panels and outside functions.
 Attends or assures staff representation at Society events and programs.
 Serves as the Society liaison to other community and history-based organizations.
 Ensures the development and distribution of the HSDC publications and information pieces.
 Works with board committees to facilitate and assure the success of Society education programs and mission-based events.
 Oversees mansion rentals and tours.
 Assures the media is informed of Society activities and acts as the chief spokesperson to the media.
 Supervises all employees, currently number four part-time and one casual worker.
 Assures adequate staffing and works with staff members who manage the library, archives, and collections to ensure operations are consistent with the Society’s mission.
 Facilitates efforts to recruit volunteers, now estimated at approximately 70 people doing large and small tasks.
 Other duties as assigned by the Board of Trustees.

Salary is commensurate with experience. Hours are flexible, depending on the needs of the organization.

Interested candidates should email a letter of interest, including personal contact information; a current resume; and contact information for four references to Attached documents must be in Microsoft Word or PDF formats. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. No phone calls will be accepted. Thank you for your interest.

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