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Senior Director, Operations

Organization Overview:

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is a landmark open to the public year-round, offering tours, exhibitions, and educational programs that delve into the legacy of American criminal justice reform. As a preserved ruin, it provides a unique, immersive experience that invites visitors to reflect on the evolving concepts of punishment and rehabilitation in the penal system.

Job Summary:

The Senior Director of Operations plays a critical role in the leadership and management of Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, ensuring operational excellence across all aspects of the site's administration, visitor services, maintenance, security, and program execution. This position requires a strategic thinker with a proven track record of operational management and leadership in a similar setting. The ideal candidate will have a passion for history, education, and public service, with a commitment to preserving the site's legacy while ensuring a safe, engaging, and educational experience for all visitors.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Operational Leadership and Strategy: Develop and implement comprehensive operational strategies to enhance the visitor experience, improve operational efficiency, and contribute to the preservation of the site. Collaborate with the Executive Director and other senior leaders to align operational plans with the organization's strategic goals.
  • Team Management and Development: Lead, mentor, and develop a diverse team responsible for visitor services, maintenance, security, and administration. Ensure staff are highly engaged, trained, and equipped to meet the highest standards of service and professionalism.
  • Facilities Management: Oversee the maintenance and enhancement of the historic site and its facilities, including but not limited to mechanical, electrical, plumbing, landscaping, fire, trash and custodial. Ensure all operations comply with relevant health and safety regulations and accessibility requirements. Collaborate with the Director of Preservation to align maintenance activities with historic preservation standards.
  • Financial Management: Develop and manage the operational budget, ensuring efficient use of resources and financial sustainability. Oversee procurement and contract management processes.
  • Stakeholder Relations: Foster strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders, including local community organizations, government agencies, donors, and the media. Represent the organization at public events and in media engagements as required.
  • Security and Safety: Oversee the development and implementation of comprehensive security and safety protocols, including OSHA compliance and construction safety, to protect visitors, staff, and the site. Ensure preparedness for emergencies and crisis.


  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, Museum Studies, History, or related field. Master's degree preferred.
  • Minimum of 7 years of senior leadership experience in operations management, preferably in a museum, historic site, or similar cultural institution.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and develop teams. Strong financial and budget management skills.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Sensitivity to and awareness of preservation and conservation standards applicable to historic sites.
  • Ability to work flexible hours, including weekends and holidays, as required.

Salary & Benefits:

$110,000 - $120,000

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site offers a comprehensive benefit package including 401K, medical and dental benefits, life and disability insurance and a family friendly work environment.

How to Apply:

Click here to apply via our online job portal.

About ESPHS:

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site (ESPHS) is a museum interpreting the legacy of American criminal justice reform from the site of the world’s first penitentiary. The facility pioneered the large-scale use of solitary confinement in the early 19th century and housed approximately 85,000 people during its 142 years of operation. The building itself was an architectural wonder: it had running water and central heat before the White House, and its revolutionary wagon-wheel design has been copied by more than 300 prisons around the globe. Although the prison now stands in ruin, its story remains relevant today.

Today, Eastern State Penitentiary attracts hundreds of thousands of guests from around the world each year to explore the site’s fascinating past and contemplate some of the most critical issues facing our nation. Its innovative public history program draws connections to contemporary justice reform through an approach that values multiple perspectives, amplifies marginalized voices, and respects a broad range of visitors’ interests and learning styles. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Corporation that operates the penitentiary, a National Historic Landmark, as an historic site and museum.

Commitment to Diversity:

We strongly believe in the power of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We recognize that a diverse workforce brings together unique perspectives, experiences, and talents, leading to increased creativity, innovation, and better decision-making. As such, we actively seek out and value job applicants from all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientation, ages, or disability. Our commitment to DEI extends throughout our hiring process, ensuring equal opportunities and fair treatment for all candidates. We firmly believe that by fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, we can create a stronger, more vibrant, and more successful organization.

Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, creed, color, religion, alienage or national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, disability or handicap, sex, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, arrest record or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws. Our management team is dedicated to this policy with respect to recruitment, hiring, placement, promotion, transfer, training, compensation, benefits, employee activities and general treatment during employment.

ESPHS strongly believes in second chances and, as such, is committed to providing appropriate employment opportunities to those who have been incarcerated. As a condition of employment, all individuals who accept an employment offer must complete a criminal background check. Eastern State will review any criminal record and make appropriate employment decisions in accordance with applicable law and its policies.

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner