Executive Director/President - Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, PA

Owned and operated by the Bucks County Historical Society (BCHS), a private non-profit organization, The Mercer Museum is located in the cultural district of Doylestown, Pennsylvania and, along with the nearby Fonthill Castle, presents the collections of American archeologist, collector, and tile-maker Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930).

Mercer built the Museum to display his collection of objects chronicling the history of everyday life in America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Comprising some 40,000 objects, the collection documents the lives and tasks of early Americans through the tools that built the nation prior to the Industrial Revolution. The Museum’s remarkable poured concrete design offers visitors a unique opportunity to choose their own paths to view its 55 exhibit rooms and alcove installations. In addition to the Museum, Mercer built Fonthill Castle as a home and showplace for his print collection and famed Moravian tiles produced during the American Arts & Crafts Movement. An eclectic mix of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, Fonthill provides a full range of programs related to Henry Chapman Mercer while maintaining a strong commitment to the preservation and conservation of the building and its collections.

In 2011, the Mercer Museum opened a $12.5 million expansion adding a 13,000 square foot wing with state-of-the-art spaces for special exhibitions, educational programs, and other public amenities. The Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle are designated National Historic Landmarks and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Operating at a $1.9 million annual budget, the Museums welcome nearly 100,000 visitors a year from every state and more than 35 foreign countries. In 2016, both the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle were designated as Smithsonian Institution Affiliates.

To learn more about the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle, visit www.mercermuseum.org 


Mission - The Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle educate and engage audiences in appreciating the past and helping visitors find relevance to their lives through a diverse program of collections, exhibitions, and educational initiatives. 

Vision - Inspired by the vision and creativity of Henry Chapman Mercer, the Bucks County Historical Society (BCHS) is a dynamic, educational organization that operates the Mercer Museum and Library, and Fonthill Castle. The organization involves its visitors in meaningful explorations of the past through active engagement with its dramatic buildings and historical collections. To encourage audiences to view history from multiple perspectives and multiple disciplines, and in relation to their own lives. The Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle offer innovative and participatory experiences in order to involve diverse segments of local, regional and national audiences through its commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards.

Goals - 

• Enhance audience engagement with museums and library through participatory, relevant, and enjoyable experiences thereby strengthening recognition as an important community partner. 

• Maintain enlightened stewardship by practicing responsible custodianship, committing to the long-term care, preservation, and comprehension of the collections and facilities. 

• Attract and empower committed people by fostering an environment that encourages change, innovation, and respect for diversity while providing necessary human, physical and financial resources. 

• Achieve organizational sustainability by sufficiently increasing the endowment and ongoing fundraising to support operations and maintain high standards of programs. 

• Utilize the organization’s physical assets to best meet the long term needs of the institution in accordance with accepted museum ethical and professional standards. 


The Executive Director/President, reporting to the BCHS Board of Trustees, provides vision, strategic leadership and management expertise to assure the well-being and on-going success of the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle along with related support facilities.


The Executive Director/President is responsible for:

• Strategic vision for the BCHS and its facilities: the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle

• Goal setting and development of exhibition and program plan

• Providing leadership for institutional activities

• Serving as a highly visible ambassador and friend-raiser for the Museum and Castle

• Leading an effective development program working closely with the Board of Trustees

• Supporting effective Board operations, governance and continuity 

• Leading, motivating, and developing a productive staff and volunteer corps

• Financial stewardship and delivery of a balanced budget

• Facilities management and capital budgeting

• Stewardship and use of the collection

Challenges and Priorities:

• Create and implement an ambitious and aspirational long-term plan for the Museum that will build on its demonstrated success and take it to a new level of impact and vitality in the local and regional community. 

• Continue to strengthen staff capacity and support a culture of innovation, collaboration, professional development and accountability.

• Develop new strategies for friend- and fundraising, to energize community support of and engagement in the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle’s activities.


The ideal Executive Director/President will be an experienced leader and administrator, who has a deep commitment to the arts and will generate support from current and potential donors, and a broad range of individuals. He or she will ideally have the following:

Qualifications and Experience:

• Advanced degree in a field related to American History or Studies, with a deep knowledge of museum management.

• Five to ten years of museum management and leadership experience. This may have been as a Director of a smaller institution or as a Department Head in a larger organization, but in either case, it will have involved administrative and organization responsibility.

• Demonstrated experience in the development and implementation of a visionary strategic plan.

• A proven record of sound financial, staff and facilities management.

• Proven fundraising ability, from a variety of sources, including successful experience cultivating and soliciting individual gifts and maintaining long term patron relationships.

• Demonstrated ability to serve as an effective spokesperson and ambassador for an institution or program, with outstanding oral and written communication skills.

• Strong network of colleagues and other professionals and a commitment to collaboration and partnering.

Personal Characteristics:

• Passion for American history and innovation with commitment to making the past relevant and come alive for audiences of all ages.

• Strong interpersonal and leadership skills, with the ability to make decisions thoughtfully, thoroughly and decisively, and to manage change.

• A diplomat and a consensus builder with a successful record of engaging, partnering and building alliances with a wide range of stakeholders.

• The ability to energize the community in support of the Museum and its programs.

• A high energy level to deal with the seasonal demands, extensive entertaining, and special events.

• A team builder with an understanding of the subtleties of motivating, directing and working with a group of diverse personalities, as well as the ability to delegate, handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities.

A creative thinker with excellent marketing instincts and a high comfort level with technology and emerging digital platforms.

• Superb communication skills, both written and verbal.

• The ability to work in partnership with an active and dynamic volunteer Board of Trustees in support the strategic goals of the BCHS.


The present Executive Director/President, Douglas Dolan, has announced his retirement, effective mid-2017. The Board hopes to find and install his replacement on a schedule that will provide for minimal interruption in leadership.


The Executive Director/President’s compensation is commensurate with the importance of the role. Benefits include health insurance, a retirement program through TIAA-CREF, life insurance, along with vacation and sick leave.


Applicants should submit a resume, a one-page narrative describing interest and experience, and the names of three references. Applications will be reviewed by Management Consultants for the Arts, an executive search firm working with the Museum’s President and search committee. Suggestions of qualified candidates are welcome. Send resume and accompanying materials to:

Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
Attn: Linda Sweet or Bill Appleton

Email only:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
Subject line:   Mercer Museum

The Mercer Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Last modified on Sunday, 18 December 2016 23:40