Windsor Historical Society

Executive Director


Windsor Historical Society (WHS) strives to be the first in its region to center history and culture on the lives of its increasingly diverse community. WHS enters its second century committed to becoming a more inclusive organization through intentional, deliberate self-reflection, rooting its work in the history, stories, and voices representative of all Windsor community members. Guided by its strategic vision and plan, Stepping Into The Next Century Together, WHS is committed to becoming an organization that is recognized as part of the community, representative of and serving all members of Windsor.

Founded in 1921 WHS serves as the premier historical organization committed to preserving Windsor’s history and legacy. Expanding throughout its first 100 years from a member-only historical society to a public-serving museum and research library, WHS now serves more than 3,000 on-site and 6,000 online visitors annually through genealogical and other research, online and social media resources, school and family programs, inclusive exhibitions in its gallery spaces, and interpretative tours of its historic buildings.

With a commitment to expanding, digitizing, and making its collections publicly accessible, the WHS research library and archives house extensive resources relating to the town of Windsor with thousands of 19th to 21st century photographs, oral histories, primary source documents, genealogical resources, local newspapers, yearbooks, and more. WHS also holds 11,000 objects from Native American settlement, the English founding of Windsor in 1633, and through the present including household objects, archaeological artifacts, decorative and fine arts, machinery, and personal accouterments.

Anchoring Windsor’s historic district, WHS facilities include the Strong-Howard House, Chaffee House, and the Society’s main museum building featuring gallery spaces, a library, a gift shop, collection storage, offices, and a flexible meeting room. Exhibit galleries examine 400 years of history from the earliest Indigenous, English, and Black residents through its modern agricultural, industrial, and suburban past. Galleries also feature key figures and stories from the town’s richly diverse community.

The 1758 Strong-Howard House is furnished with reproduction furniture and artifacts providing a hands-on experience of the life of the Howard family in the year 1810 and serves as an interactive learning lab for visitors of all ages. The 1767 Georgian-style Chaffee House has been recently reinterpreted to illuminate the Black experience in greater Windsor from earliest times to the present day. A permanent exhibition entitled Bound Together: The Complexities of Black-White Relations in Early Windsor reflects the history of slavery in Connecticut and early Windsor as well as the stories of the four Black people enslaved by Dr. Hezekiah Chaffee and his family. The house also includes an exhibition space featuring Inspiring Equal Participation: Windsor Afro American Civic Association, sharing the stories of WAACA’s members and their efforts to expand the Black role in Windsor’s civic life.

Through creative and dynamic partnerships in the community, WHS education programs provide resources and opportunities for teachers and students designed to meet the goals and objectives of the Connecticut Frameworks Social Studies Content Standards with grants available to teachers for classroom projects and professional development. Programs offer thematic educational experiences featuring WHS exhibitions and historic homes, and access to the WHS collections and research library is tailored to address multiple disciplines.

Collaborative community programs develop new partnerships across Windsor to engage people in sharing memories, exchanging perspectives, and learning about Windsor’s rich history. WHS presents regular monthly programs including the Genealogy Support Group, open-hearth cooking classes, and community-based programs such as its Black History Conversations series. A sampling of recent events includes the Harriet Tubman living history performance of I Can’t Die But Once, by Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti, Connecticut beer history, and tasting with the Beer Snob, and the annual Shad Derby Fishing for Fun!

Windsor Historical Society has a 17-member Board of Directors led by President Randy McKenney, the organization’s first Black president. Executive Director Doug Shipman, overseeing ten paid and dozens of volunteer staff, will retire in late 2024. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024, WHS estimates revenue of $540,000, with 22% coming from earned and contributed revenue sources and 78% from endowment and investment income.


Situated at the confluence of the Connecticut and Farmington Rivers, Windsor is one of Connecticut’s most diverse towns. With a population of 29,000 comprised of 4% Asian, 36% Black, 11% Hispanic or Latino/a, 44% White, and 5% two or more races. Windsor offers multiple parks for outdoor enthusiasts with hiking and biking trails along the river, canoeing and kayaking, winter snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Park and recreational facilities feature public pools and playgrounds with basketball courts, baseball diamonds, cricket fields, a golf course, tennis and horseshoe courts, and skateboarding parks. The Windsor and greater Hartford region include a rich array of cultural institutions including the Windsor Art Center, Mercy Gallery at Loomis Chaffee School, Oliver Ellsworth Homestead, New England Air Museum, Mark Twain House, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Hartford Stage, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Windsor is home to hundreds of businesses including insurance, financial, business, and distribution services such as VOYA Financial, CIGNA, SS&C Technologies, SCA Pharmaceuticals, Eversource, Walgreens, Barnes Aerospace, and Amazon. Windsor is served by public transit and commuter rail including Connecticut Transit, Amtrack, Metro North, and Bradley International Airport, the second largest in New England serving 7 million passengers annually with international and 35+ nonstop flights.

Bordering the state capital of Hartford, Windsor is part of New England’s Knowledge Corridor, an interstate partnership created to increase cooperative marketing and public policy efforts that transcend political and state boundaries. Linked by a shared economy, culture, and rich history of innovation, invention, and world-class education assets, Windsor features a range of educational options including K–12 public schools; Academy of Aerospace and Engineering magnet school; the Madina Academy, Connecticut’s first full-time Islamic School; and The Loomis Chaffee School.

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Position Summary

The Executive Director (ED) will serve as the chief executive officer of the Windsor Historical Society and will be a strategic and people-oriented executive who values community engagement and leads with a clear sense of purpose and direction. As the face of the organization, the ED will build authentic relationships with the community by regularly communicating with civic leaders and public officials and developing and nurturing partnerships with community groups, and the greater Windsor nonprofit and business communities to ensure the Historical Society is seen as a cultural and educational resource. Reporting to the board of directors, the ED will oversee all society operations and be an active presence and support for the staff. This individual will ensure widely held museum and public history best practices are followed in the care and stewardship of collections and all matters related to the society's operations and strategic priorities including WHS’s commitment to inclusion and community building.

Roles and Responsibilities

Strategic and Visionary Leadership

  • Guide and ensure the implementation of WHS’ strategic plan and inclusion action plan leading diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion efforts to engage the community and transform the society’s collections, programs, and the stories it tells to reflect Windsor’s diverse community.
  • Develop, steward, and maintain strategic partnerships throughout the community to enhance the society’s reputation, relevancy, and standing locally and regionally in support of its mission, vision, and strategic goals.
  • Participate in local, regional, and national industry meetings and organizations to share and implement current best practices and industry standards with staff.
  • Serve as the chief advancement officer for the institution, working collaboratively with the board and staff to design, set, and achieve operational and strategic revenue and communication goals.
  • Embrace other strategic and visionary leadership responsibilities, as needed.

Administration and Operational Excellence

  • Provide day-to-day management and supervision of WHS operations and programming according to its bylaws, policies, and strategic plan.
  • Develop strategies, procedures, and goals that will support the staff’s creative and professional development and encourage a workplace environment that fosters employee engagement.
  • Assume primary responsibility for the preparation and approval of the annual financial budget and operating plans, collaborating with the treasurer and finance committee; and serving as liaison to auditors, endowment managers, and other contractors.
  • Ensure that the necessary organizational structure, policies, systems controls, and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed for sustainability.
  • Embrace other administration and operational excellence responsibilities, as needed.

Revenue Enhancement and Community Engagement

  • Lead staff and board in development operations and activities including fundraisers, annual appeals, membership programs, and planned giving strategy.
  • Maintain strong relationships with the funders, developing effective donor stewardship and cultivation methods with the board and staff.
  • Manage grant application calendar and work with society staff to prepare and submit grant applications, monitoring compliance and reporting within grant parameters.
  • Supervise media and external communications including production of quarterly newsletter annual report, press releases, website, and all official publications.
  • Embrace other revenue enhancement and community engagement responsibilities, as needed.

Governance and Board Relations

  • Build and nurture strong relationships across the board of directors; providing support to best utilize the board’s talents and resources, effectively mobilizing volunteers in support of the society’s mission.
  • Partner with the board in prospect identification, cultivation, recruitment, and orientation of new board members.
  • Facilitate the flow of all information between the board and the society staff; attend monthly board, executive committee, and other committee meetings.
  • Serve as an effective partner to the board’s policy-making role by researching and recommending best practice policies, procedures, and plans and lead the organization in the successful implementation of board decisions.
  • Embrace other governance and board relations responsibilities, as needed.

 Collections Stewardship, Exhibition, and Program Planning

  • Establish diverse exhibitions and program plans that support the society’s vision and operational goals in collaboration with the curatorial staff.
  • Seek opportunities to develop and strengthen exhibitions and programs through partnerships with other historical and cultural organizations, collectors, and educational institutions.
  • Ensure the sound and responsible management of the collection, research, and archives, including legal, social, and ethical obligations.
  • Embrace other collections stewardship, exhibition, and program planning responsibilities, as needed.

Traits and Characteristics

The Executive Director will be a collaborative, people-oriented, emotionally intelligent leader who values teamwork, continuous improvement, and collaboration with others. An active member of the community, this individual will enthusiastically interact with a diverse constituency with cultural acuity to develop partnerships that support WHS and enhance the community. The Executive Director will have the capacity to adapt to frequent change while maintaining focus on the organization’s goals and priorities. They will bring a balance of professional expertise, credibility, and interpersonal skills along with a strong capacity for self-management and the highest levels of personal accountability and integrity. Versatile and receptive to new ideas and methodologies, this individual will be an intellectually curious, innovative, and harmonious professional with a proven track record of success.

Other key competencies include:

  • Interpersonal Skills – The ability to build rapport and develop and nurture relationships with people across the organization and throughout the community, demonstrating a sincere interest in others.
  • Diplomacy – The aptitude to handle situations gracefully and with sensitivity, and communicate effectively by listening, observing, and appreciating cultural and personal perspectives.
  • Self-Starting and Personal Accountability – The capacity to prioritize and complete tasks necessary to meet or exceed the agreed-upon expectations of the role, and to assume accountability for personal actions.
  • Leadership and Teamwork – The capacity to articulate a vision and create a sense of purpose and direction for internal and external stakeholders, build trust by demonstrating respect and integrity, and create an environment where team members are appreciated and supported, enabling their success.
  • Resiliency – The agility to quickly recover from adversity or setbacks and move past obstacles with a sense of humor and without delay.


At least five years of progressively responsible leadership experience within a museum, arts, educational, historical, or nonprofit organization is required. A master’s degree in history, museum studies (or equivalent experience), is recommended. Previous senior leadership level with supervision responsibilities is desirable. Candidates should demonstrate success and commitment to principles associated with diversity, equity, and inclusion. They must possess a passion for community outreach and resource development as well as knowledge of the needs, best practices, and standards of the field and the ability to generate enthusiasm, inspire others, and translate vision into workable priorities.

Compensation and Benefits

Windsor Historical Society offers competitive compensation with an anticipated annual salary range between $85,000 and $100,000. Benefits include paid time off, holidays, sick leave, personal days, and health and dental insurance with WHS covering 75% for individuals or 50% of costs for family plans.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, including the anticipated salary range, please contact:

Renée Danger-James, Vice President

Arts Consulting Group logo.
1040 First Avenue, Suite 352
New York, New York 10022-2991
Tel         (888) 234.4236 Ext. 212
The Windsor Historical Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to treating all applicants and employees fairly based on their abilities, achievements, and experience, without regard to sex, race, age, disability, religion, national origin, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other classification protected by law.

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