Director of Interpretation & Education

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Job Summary:

The National Trust’s national portfolio of 28 historic sites, known collectively as TrustSites, are a remarkable group of places that model best practices in preservation, interpretation, collections management, and inclusivity, while also extending their legacies and serving their multi-layered communities in a variety of ways. Over the past five years, in keeping with the National Trust’s comprehensive vision for dynamic and sustainable historic sites, TrustSites have together addressed more than $20 million in deferred maintenance, strengthened local governance, expanded earned revenue and visitation, developed more engaging and inclusive programming, and implemented new operating models.   

Within this context of collaboration and success, the Director of Interpretation and Education in the Historic Sites Department will lead and support place-based interpretive planning, development, implementation, and evaluation at individual National Trust Historic Sites and across the TrustSites portfolio. The director will develop and lead new initiatives in education and interpretation, while also expanding ongoing activities around arts-focused initiatives, digital tools, K-12 programming, and the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Through grants from the National Trust’s Interpretation and Education Fund, the director will also provide targeted financial support to innovative, humanities-based interpretive and educational programming and staff development opportunities for TrustSites. As a member of the Historic Sites Department, the director will join a team of specialists in communications, finance, architecture, collections, strategic planning, and staff development to support collaborative, effective, and expansive stewardship and interpretation of the buildings, landscapes, museum collections, and diverse stories of the National Trust’s Historic Sites.


  • Support development of grant proposals to the National Trust’s endowed Interpretation and Education Fund by individual National Trust Historic Sites and administer grants and trainings supported by the fund.
  • Develop and lead trainings supported by the Interpretation and Education Fund and as a part of Preservation Leadership Training programs.
  • Provide ongoing professional development to site directors and interpretation and education staff at National Trust Historic sites.
  • Identify and analyze funding opportunities from foundations, corporations, government agencies, individual donors, and others for interpretive and programming projects and develop proposals in collaboration with sites staff and National Trust development staff to expand interpretation and education at individual stewardship sites (the sites owned and operated by the National Trust), groups of sites, and across the TrustSites portfolio
  • Participate in multi-disciplinary teams engaged in developing and evaluating new site operating models and revenue streams.
  • Continue to develop and expand arts and humanities-focused programming at TrustSites to tell the full stories of these places in ways that engage new and existing audiences.
  • Expand and enhance digital interpretive tools, K-12 teacher and student programming, adult learning, and other experiential programming at National Trust Historic Sites.
  • Develop blog posts, articles, conference presentations, and other mechanisms for distributing best practices in interpretation using examples from the TrustSites portfolio.
  • Provide general support and advice to TrustSites in matters related to interpretation and education.
  • Continue the development of shared use interpretation in collaboration with commercial partners at sites including Cooper-Molera in Monterey, CA and Woodlawn in Alexandria, VA.
  • Provide interpretation and program development expertise to select National Treasure campaigns and other National Trust initiatives as appropriate.


  • At least 10 years of professional level experience, including experience with budgeting, staffing, guiding professionals and leading teams to generate      high quality results.
  • At least 3 years of experience managing functions and projects across multiple departments or locations, preferably within a national level non-profit      setting. 
  • Demonstrated success in developing, funding, and implementing new interpretive initiatives.
  • Proficiency in developing and utilizing digital tools for place-based interpretation.
  • Strong commitment to expanding place-based interpretive programming to tell the full stories of a place and engage new and existing audiences.
  • Experience utilizing the visual and performing arts in creative ways to expand place-based interpretation.
  • Experience integrating interpretation into commercial activities and developing new revenue streams with an interpretive component, such as licensing, retail and hospitality, or food service.
  • Proven track record in developing interpretive programs that generate revenue and expand audiences and/or visitation at historic sites.
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse and geographically dispersed staff.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently in a fast-paced, collaborative, open-office environment.
  • Advanced analytical and problem solving skills, including issue identification and prioritization.
  • Advanced project-management, team-management and client-management skills. Ability to achieve results with limited supervision. 
  • Experience guiding the work of professional staff, as well as successfully managing key internal and external stakeholders and relationships.
  • Effective presentation skills. Excellent writing, spelling, grammar, and proofreading skills, as well as strong verbal communication and customer service skills. 
  • Strong organizational skills. Excellent attention to detail.
  • Experience successfully managing key stakeholders and relationships. Proven ability to collaborate across departments to implement processes and achieve results. Track record of building and maintaining productive relationships with multiple stakeholders. 
  • Demonstrated success in engaging culturally diverse audiences and stakeholders. Ties to culturally diverse professional, academic, and social affinity organizations a plus. Bi-lingual language skills (especially English/Spanish) a plus. 
  • Ability to prioritize, multi-task efficiently and respond to a high volume of ongoing requests in a timely fashion. 
  • Ability to adapt and be flexible in a dynamic work environment required, including working effectively with frequent interruptions, and handling changing and/or unscheduled tasks with accuracy.  Public contact and ability to work successfully in close proximity to others and in an open-office setting, required. 
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and skill set a plus
  • Proven ability to continually develop skills related to use of rapidly changing technology and communications best practices.
  • Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel required. Familiarity with other software, including databases, a plus.
  • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent years of experience) required. Master’s degree or equivalent experience required.
  • Regular and reliable attendance is required.
  • Some travel required.

To Apply

Please email your resume and cover letter to

Washington, DC
Due Date: 
Friday, August 30, 2019
Posted by Mary.Fichtner on July 30, 2019 - 2:13pm