Program Details

Cost and Eligibility

Applicants should have a minimum of 5 years of museum experience.

The cost of the seminar is $500.  A limited number of scholarships will be available based on need.

Applications are due by April 18, 2016.

2016 Museum Leadership Seminar

The Smithsonian Castle and Enid A. Haupt Garden, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution. Photo: Dane A. Penland
The Smithsonian Castle and Enid A. Haupt Garden, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution. Photo: Dane A. Penland

The George Washington University and Smithsonian Affiliations are pleased to announce the third annual leadership program for museum professionals on July 25 and 26, 2016. Participants will engage in two days of intensive, interactive learning about the current trends and challenges of successful museum leaders. This year’s program will emphasize personal evaluation, communication, creative problem solving and how leadership can be woven into all levels of museum management. This collaboration between George Washington University and Smithsonian Affiliations will allow participants to gain the skills necessary to help their institutions succeed.


New modes of leadership must arise to meet the changing landscape of museums. As concerns mount over issues of accountability, community engagement, finances, sustainability, and workforce diversity and development, museum leaders must come together to develop and share strategies for future success. The leadership program for museum professionals will afford attendees unprecedented access to the current and future leaders who can help meet these challenges.

Museums in the 21st century require versatile leadership at all organizational levels. The multiple dimensions of leadership, information fluency, and strategic assessment are all significant areas to address. Additionally, as the place of museums in their communities continues to shift, museum leaders must become more involved in effective communication and outreach. Museums require highly trained, adaptable, and innovative leaders to ensure their continued success. GW Museum Studies and Smithsonian Affiliations are committed to providing opportunities for professional development for leaders at all levels

Program Highlights

  • Personal Attention: Participants will work one on one with experienced faculty to address the issues facing their institutions
  • Honing Leadership Skills: Strategic and networking skills, communication, and self-evaluation will be highlighted throughout the seminar
  • Practical Focus: Participants will address the real-world challenges and successes of their institutions throughout the program
  • Networking: participants will work collaboratively on problem-solving and building individual strengths
  • Integration of lessons learned: Participants will work on action plans to implement lessons of the seminar
  • Faculty: Interact with faculty from the George Washington University, Smithsonian leaders, and museum professionals with exceptional leadership experience. Faculty members will work directly with participants to share ideas, theories, and approaches to leadership.

For more information about the 2016 program, eligibility and deadlines for application click here.