Job Listings

Head of Public Programs

Harvard University
Job Location:
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Arts and Museum Administration
University Administration


Job Summary
The Head of Public Programs leads and manages Arnold Arboretum's public program initiatives, which include visitor and youth education as well as community outreach and engagement. They not only advocate for innovative public programming that leverages the Arboretum's renowned collections to connect with a broad audience, but they also diversify its reach in both content and delivery methods. The Head manages a dynamic team, including a currently open position, the Program Manager for Visitor Engagement (requisition 54569BR).

The Head of Public Programs will facilitate and collaborate on educational initiatives and public events with other Arboretum departments, University divisions, and external constituencies. They will lead a team of managers to design and implement exceptional programs that increase the audience's understanding and appreciation for plants, the natural world, and civic engagement with related important topics. The Head of Public Programs represents the Arnold Arboretum and its unique qualities and attributes within the City of Boston, Harvard University, and the world of arboreta and other botanical gardens.

As an Olmsted-designed open and free landscape, the Arboretum is reconfirming its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through a variety of new initiatives. The Arboretum is also committed to building a diverse community within our staff. We strongly encourage people of all backgrounds to apply.

Job-Specific Responsibilities
  • Develop and implement a strategic and cohesive public programs plan that ensures excellence in the design, delivery, and assessment of all formal and informal visitor experiences. This includes in-person and virtual classes and programs for both adults and youth, public tours, events, and exhibits.
  • Directly oversee and inspire the work of the Program Manager for Visitor Engagement, the Manager of Children's Education, and the Digital Programs and Content Manager; and indirectly their staff and volunteers. This includes curriculum and content development, training, and growth.
  • Serve as advocate and representative for the department by sharing successes externally and communicating departmental needs internally.
  • Closely collaborate and partner with the Director and other departments (Institutional Advancement, Living Collections, Research, and Library) to advance the Arboretum's mission through public programming.
  • Serve as the Public Programs' primary contact for all community-based affairs with local constituencies. Identify opportunities to attract new and diverse audiences, while increasing the engagement with current visitors and members.
  • Assist in the preparation and management of departmental annual budgets.
  • Establish and cultivate professional networks to ensure content and programs are leading edge.
  • Occasional night and weekend work required for special events
Basic Qualifications
Candidates MUST meet the following basic qualifications in order to be considered for this role:
  • Graduate Degree in education, museum studies, public gardens management, plant sciences, or a related field.
  • Seven or more years of experience working within a public garden, museum, or related educational setting including creating visitor engagement programming at an institution with multiple audiences.
  • Four plus years of staff and volunteer management
  • Demonstrated experience in reaching, welcoming, and including underserved audiences in programming and outreach efforts.
  • Intermediate to advanced computer skills including the Microsoft Office Suite.
Additional Qualifications and Skills
  • Experience in outdoor education programs and/or interpretation of natural sites or related fields.
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, communication, teaching, and teamwork skills, including the ability to effectively serve and communicate with diverse audiences and with Arboretum managers, staff, and volunteers.
  • Record of achievement working with diverse communities with a culturally competent approach, defined as the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including tact, diplomacy, and the ability to influence and direct others.
  • Demonstrated team leadership skills and the desire to further develop them.
  • Budget and contract management experience.
  • Multilingual (working knowledge of one or more additional languages) preferred
Certificates and Licenses

Physical Requirements
This position takes place in indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor conditions.

Additional Information
PLEASE NOTE: During the current period of Covid-19 related restrictions, this position may start as a remote position, with the transition to onsite in Jamaica Plain when the office reopens.

We continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 and the lifting of restrictions. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility with our interview process. We will be conducting interviews virtually for selected candidates until further notice.

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is the oldest public arboretum in North America and one of the world's leading centers for the study of plants. Founded in 1872 and designed by America's first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the Arboretum's first director, Charles Sprague Sargent, the 281-acre Arboretum is a historic landmark and one of the best-preserved of Olmsted's landscapes. A unique blend of beloved public landscape andrespected research institution, the Arboretum provides and supports world-class research, horticulture, and education programs that foster the understanding, appreciation, and preservation of woody plants. Along with a horticultural library and herbarium encompassing some 4.8 million dried plant specimens, the Arboretum comprises one of the largest and best-documented woody plant collections in the world, with over 15,000 living plants. To learn more about the Arnold Arboretum, please

The Arnold Arboretum views diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a culture where everyone can thrive. Our community is made of individuals who draw from a dynamic range of backgrounds to contribute to the pursuit of our common goals. The work and well-being of the Arnold Arboretum are strengthened by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, age, ability, political views, veteran status, and more. We actively seek and welcome people of color, women, persons with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQIA, and those who are at the intersections of these identities, from across the spectrum of disciplines and methods to join us. Together, we strive to create an environment that values diversity, promotes an inclusive culture, and establishes a profound sense of belonging for each member of our community.

Job Function

USA - MA - Jamaica Plain

Job Code
390058 Museum Manager

Arnold Arboretum

Public Programs

Time Status

Salary Grade

00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening
Education, Identity

Full time. Monday through Friday. 35 hours per week.

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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