You are here

Presidential Search


The board of directors of the Science History Institute seeks an experienced and visionary leader to collaboratively build a sustainable future for the organization.

The Institute, located in historic Old City Philadelphia, is the epicenter of collecting, interpreting, and sharing the stories of science in North America. The Institute houses an acclaimed museum that is free and open to the public; a library and archive for historians and researchers; a fellowship program for visiting scholars from around the globe; a community of researchers who examine historical and contemporary issues; an award-winning digital content platform that includes videos, articles, and a podcast; and a state-of-the-art conference center.

Following a successful merger, name change, and rebrand, the Institute is poised to significantly expand its reach and relevance. The next president and CEO of the Science History Institute will work with the board of directors and an engaged staff to articulate the next strategic plan, create and execute a major fundraising and capital campaign, and realize the ambitious, outward-facing future of the Institute.

We have partnered with Korn Ferry, the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm, to conduct a robust search process.

Richard J. Bolte, Jr.
Chair, Science History Institute Board of Directors


President and Chief Executive Officer (PDF)

Reports to the Chair of the Board of Directors

Direct reports:

  • Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer & Chief Financial Officer
  • Vice President, Development


The Science History Institute seeks an inspirational, strategic leader with strong fundraising and public relations skills, who can tell the story of the Institute with passion and contagious enthusiasm. The next leader will be an individual adept at uniting staff across functions and divisions; managing a complex institution with a wide variety of constituencies representing museum collections, library holdings, research, and education and outreach; and building strong relationships with other cultural institutions in the region as well as with supporters, patrons, corporate and foundation donors, practitioners, and scholars internationally. The next president and CEO should have significant management experience, a “builder” mindset, and a leadership style that values transparency, accountability, and collaboration. The successful candidate will be an expert communicator with high emotional intelligence, media savvy, and a deep and broad intellectual curiosity. Candidates should have successful experience or comparable understanding of fundraising for nonprofits within the United States, particularly for audience-focused organizations.


The president and chief executive officer is responsible for the organization’s vision, strategy, and management, and for ensuring that the management team is properly structured and staffed to ensure programmatic, financial, and operational strength. The president/CEO serves as the linchpin in the organization’s fundraising efforts, linking donor interests with the fundamental needs of the organization, all in close collaboration with the development staff. The president will frequently serve as the face of the Science History Institute, hosting ceremonies, key speakers, or overseeing a variety of events. The president/CEO acts as the steward of the Institute’s brand and understands their role in growing the reputation of the Institute.


Strategic Vision and Leadership

  • Collaborate with the board to refine and implement Institute strategies, while ensuring that the budget, staff, and operating priorities are aligned with the organization’s core mission.

  • Cultivate and maintain strong and transparent relationships with the board of directors and other governance groups, including the organization’s founding members, the AIChE and ACS, and ensure open communication about financial, programmatic, and outcome performance against stated milestones and goals.

  • Provide leadership to staff and ensure the senior leadership team continues to develop and manage a professional and efficient organization; establish effective decision-making processes.

  • Help build a diverse and inclusive board that is representative of all its audiences and constituencies, highly engaged, and willing to leverage and secure resources to support the organization’s mission and objectives.

  • Work with the director in the Office of the President in preparing insightful and informative materials for all governance meetings.

Resource Development

  • With support of the vice president of development, act as the “chief fundraising officer” of the organization. Fundraising activities include but are not limited to special events, awards, major gifts, corporate gifts, foundation and government grant solicitations, annual campaign, individual gifts, and planned giving.

  • Support growth of the organization’s endowment alongside annual giving.

  • Identify, cultivate, and solicit prospective donors and key leaders of prospective new corporate partners.

  • Leverage personal and professional contacts and relationships into fundraising opportunities.

  • Promote a culture of fundraising in the organization, both at the staff and board level.

Strengthen Infrastructure and Operations

  • Work closely with the vice president, chief administrative officer & chief financial officer on matters relating to organizational management and operations.

  • Work with the vice president, chief administrative officer & chief financial officer in maintaining accountability for the operational and fiscal integrity of the organization within policies set by the board of directors.

  • Support and motivate the organization’s staff.

  • Support plans and programs that facilitate cross-departmental collaboration and strengthen internal communications with staff throughout the organization.

  • Support and promote a positive work environment.

Strategic Planning

  • In conjunction with the board of directors and the organization’s senior and program leadership, develop comprehensive multi-year strategic plans (typically, once every two to three years).


  • Be a proven leader in industry or cultural institutions.

  • Have knowledge of and experience with the world of nonprofit institutions, particularly those devoted to cultural heritage, and have engaged in public programming supporting such areas.

  • Exhibit successful experience as a fundraiser, demonstrating the ability to excite donors about an organization’s enterprise and to link donor interests to the fundamental needs of the organization. Demonstrate keen understanding of the legal and cultural nuances of nonprofit fundraising in the United States.

  • Possess exceptional skills at managing staff and stakeholders with clarity and diplomacy, exemplified by creating an atmosphere that encourages cooperation and collaboration.

  • Possess a positive public presence and display expert communication skills, be an articulate writer and speaker, and have the charisma and the oratorical skills that inspire enthusiasm and commitment among many and varied audiences; have the ability to unify and inspire staff and constituents around a common vision.

  • Show enthusiasm for and a positive outlook on the opportunities and challenges that present themselves to the Institute, move easily and with an amiable manner in a wide variety of social milieus, and be comfortable with the extensive travel necessary to carry out the Institute’s mission.
  • Embody the essential values of high integrity, careful listening, commitment to mission, and celebration of success.
  • Have experience in developing and maintaining collaborative engagement with a board of directors.
  • Be a financially savvy and politically astute leader with the ability to set clear priorities, delegate, and guide investment in people, financial matters, and systems; keen analytic, organizational, and problem-solving skills that support and enable sound decision making.


Advanced degree in the history of science, biological science, chemistry, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, management, or a related field desirable but not required.


The Science History Institute offers an attractive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with the successful candidate’s background and experience.


Applications should consist of a detailed cover letter responsive to the needs of the Science History Institute and a CV or resume.

To ensure full consideration, inquiries, nominations, and applications should be submitted in confidence to:


  • Richard J. Bolte, Jr., board chair
    BDP International
  • Daniel D. Adams, board member
  • Peter B. Dervan, board member
    California Institute of Technology
  • Louise Y. Palmer, board member
    Fairfield University
  • Cheryl I. Teich, board member
    Dow Chemical Company