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Program Manager for Visitor Engagement

Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University


Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Program Manager for Visitor Engagement

Job Summary

Reporting to the Head of Public Programs (also posted as an open position- requisition 54567BR), the Program Manager (PM) for Visitor Engagement manages all aspects of the Arnold Arboretum’s on-site, visitor engagement, and educational services. They lead a team of four Visitor Engagement staff to deliver in-person welcoming and orientation services to a wide audience ranging from local neighbors to visitors from all over the globe.

The Program Manager works cross-departmentally with the Digital Programs and Content Manager, Manager of Children’s Education, and departmental leadership to set goals for visitor engagement activities that include an emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and environmental justice.

Collaborating with the Digital Programs and Content Manager, the PM creates and implements public programming including, but not limited to, outdoor presentations, seminars, tours, and seasonal events inspired by the Arboretum’s living collections and the natural world. They also work through, and with, the Coordinator of Visitor Engagement, to recruit, train, and organize a volunteer corps that includes Arboretum Docents and Arboretum Interpreters.

The Arboretum has reconfirmed its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through a variety of new initiatives. Many of these are centered around the work of the Public Programs and Visitor Engagement departments. The PM plays a key role in these efforts aimed at increasing access and welcoming across the Arboretum. The Arboretum is also committed to working to build a diverse community within our staff. We strongly encourage people of all backgrounds to apply.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

  • Oversee all work, scheduling, training, and development of Visitor Engagement Staff. Has responsibilities in managing performance, doing performance reviews, and hiring/ firing when/ if needed.
  • Manage all aspects of the Arnold Arboretum’s physical Visitor Engagement amenities including, but not limited to, the Hunnewell Visitor Center and the new mobile visitor center.
  • Collaborate with other Harvard University units, the City of Boston, and not-for-profit organizations in creating and implementing dynamic programming.
  • Develop and oversee tours with the Coordinator of Visitor Engagement; lead tours.
  • Oversee and manage the recruitment, training, organization, and recognition of Arboretum volunteer Docents and Arboretum Interpreters.
  • Manage departmental budget.
  • Assume the lead role in running and organizing the Arboretum’s largest event, Lilac Sunday, each May.
  • Create content and write for institutional publications and digital resources.
  • Occasional evening and weekend presence is required.

Basic Qualifications

Candidates MUST meet the following basic qualifications in order to be considered for this role:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any of the plant sciences, museum studies, environmental education, or a related field.
  • Three or more years of experience working within a public garden, museum setting, or related setting. Experience in outdoor education programs and/or interpretation of natural sites or related fields.
  • Two or more years of progressive management, supervisory, project management, and administrative experience and skills.
  • Experience managing staff in a public garden, natural history collections, museum, or related setting.
  • Computer skills including Microsoft Office Suite.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Master’s degree in public gardens management, plant sciences, museum studies, education, or related field preferred
  • Strong working knowledge of botany, horticulture, and/or natural history
  • Proven teaching and teamwork skills, including the ability to effectively serve and communicate with diverse audiences and with Arboretum managers, staff, and volunteers
  • Ability to foster a collaborative working environment with coworkers and volunteers
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills and positive attitude
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including tact, diplomacy, and ability to direct and influence others as necessary
  • Demonstrated team leadership skills
  • Multilingual (working knowledge of one or more additional languages) preferred

Physical Requirements

Must be able to bend, reach, stoop, and lift up to 25 lbs. Must be able to walk and stand for up to two hours at a time in indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor conditions. Must be able to lead tours across a 281-acre landscape.

Additional Information

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 and respected 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 visit:

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.

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