Senior Administrative Director


Are you a creative problem-solver? Do you love thinking about organizational structures and people-centered processes that pave the way for great work? Are you a systems thinker who thrives in bringing order to chaos? Do you easily move between high-level strategy and in-the-weeds detail? Are you someone who is looking for an opportunity to apply your considerable organizational skills to a mission-driven non-profit? If so, please consider applying for the role of Senior Administrative Director. We will consider applicants from non-traditional backgrounds who possess an appropriate mix of skills and experiences.


Our teams are world-class creatives and we’re looking for strong administrative support to help our teams do their best work. The Exhibits group and the Media Studio collectively comprise a team of ~90 designers, writers, engineers, and artists who bring scientific phenomena to exhibits, graphics, text, and media for our museum visitors in San Francisco, our network of educators, and our partners globally. The Exhibits group (Developers, Engineers, Technicians, Environmental Designers, Production Managers) researches, conceptualizes, prototypes, designs, and fabricates 100+ interactive exhibits and environments a year, while the Media Studio (Graphics, Editorial, Multimedia, Online Media, Photo) produces everything from exhibit labels, exhibition graphics, and museum signage, to programs, brochures, and award-winning websites. Both groups intersect with almost every department in the institution, and the Senior Administrative Director serves as an important linchpin for those relationships.


The Senior Administrative Director works closely with the Shop and Media Studio Directors and teams, as well as stakeholders across the organization to support programmatic planning efforts and department initiatives, as well as budget, HR, and other administrative functions. The position requires a hands-on, proactive administrative leader experienced in managing processes, projects, and people, with outstanding problem-solving and communication skills. The ideal candidate is flexible, adaptable, and thrives in a collaborative and complex environment, working with creative staff. The Senior Administrative Director reports jointly to the Director of Exhibits and the Director of Media Studio.



Leadership & Management 

  • Provide administrative leadership and guidance to the Exhibits and Media Studio teams at both the individual and systems level; work as a thinking partner to the Directors and managers to support the priorities, strategic initiatives, and programmatic and financial goals of the groups
  • In partnership with the Directors, support, develop, and coach team members; cultivate a cohesive, creative, and inclusive working environment
  • Champion institutional diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within the Exhibits and Media Studio teams, continually integrate DEI thinking into the evolution and dissemination of administrative systems and processes, and embrace the Exploratorium’s efforts to counteract and interrupt structural racism


Budget, HR, & Administration

  • Lead the operating plan and budget development for the groups; work closely with department managers and finance staff in the budget and forecasting process; review financial data on a regular basis and prepare reports as needed
  • Provide high-level administrative oversight of all programs and projects in the groups and serve as a key liaison with stakeholders across the organization
  • Supervise Exhibits and Media Studio administrative staff such Project Managers/Coordinators Administrative Managers/Coordinators
  • Lead inclusive recruitment, hiring, and retention efforts in close partnership with managers and Organizational Development, with an explicit focus on DEI
  • Support capacity planning work, strategizing with department, production, and resource managers to build appropriately-sized teams for the breadth of Exploratorium work; act as thinking partner to Directors and managers around staff development opportunities; build and maintain a picture of the institutional pipeline to inform future planning
  • Provide direction and support to resource management staff: collaborate on refining processes and tools for incoming staffing requests, amplify communication efforts and help resolve issues


Communication & Collaboration 

  • Collaborate with stakeholders across the institution to develop, improve, and implement  systems and processes to enhance organizational effectiveness
  • Foster team communication; support staff in communicating with internal stakeholders, including Project Directors, program leads, Marketing, and Institutional Advancement
  • Work closely with the Exhibits and Media Studio Directors to facilitate team meetings and lead staff engagement efforts
  • Run point on special projects as needed



  • 8 years of experience in a position of administrative leadership and management; experience working in a non-profit, cultural, or education institution preferred
  • 4 years’ supervisory experience
  • Experience creating and managing $1M+ multi-year grant, contract, or organizational budgets
  • Strong spreadsheet skills (Excel, Google Sheets); fluency in project management and team collaboration software (such as Google Suite, Basecamp, Smartsheet, Confluence/JIRA), and comfort with learning new tools
  • Strong project management skills
  • Demonstrated success developing, iterating, and driving adoption of administrative systems, processes, and tools
  • Demonstrated ability to work with staff at all levels in a complex, dynamic environment; ability to foster and sustain inclusive workplace values and relationships with emotional resilience
  • Experience managing inclusive recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes for new staff
  • Exceptionally strong communication skills; demonstrated strength in clear, persuasive writing
  • Demonstrated problem-solving abilities



  • Skill in coaching and mentorship
  • Experience with staff capacity planning
  • Experience with multi-disciplinary, creative teams; design or fabrication studio background a plus
  • Experience with a unionized workplace



The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Ability to work at computer for extended periods of time, utilize general office equipment, lift and carry up to 20 pounds short distances
  • This is a hybrid position, with a minimum of three days a week on-site at the museum



This position is open until filled



Please include a cover letter with your application telling us about your interest in the position and how your experience makes you a great candidate.


This is a regular, full-time (37.5 hours per week), exempt non-union position that includes benefits. The salary range is $113,000 – $118,000, depending on skills and experience. Applicants must be authorized to work in the US. We are unable to sponsor or take over sponsorship of employment Visa at this time. Please, no phone calls in regards to this job. To apply, please visit the Exploratorium job page.


Condition of Employment: Willingness and ability to provide proof of completed COVID-19 vaccination will be required. All medical or sincerely held religious belief exemptions regarding vaccination status will be considered.


As a group dedicated to creating impactful, empowering, and inspiring work intended for all audiences, especially underserved audiences, we believe that a range of lived experiences, voices, and perspectives directly contributes to the success of our team.


The Exploratorium is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and values diversity, inclusion and respect.  We welcome and strongly encourage applicants from all backgrounds. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment.