The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) aims to engage
audiences in an ongoing and historical dialogue, in which people of
all backgrounds are able to see American history through a critical
perspective, to reflect on their own experiences, and to make
meaningful connections between the past and the present, the global
and the local, themselves and others.
Since its founding in 1980, MOCA has celebrated the living
history of the Chinese experience in America by preserving and
presenting the 250-year history, heritage, culture, and diverse
experiences of American communities of Chinese descent. Founded as
a community-based organization, MOCA has, over a period of four
decades, maintained its community centrality while gaining a
national following of visitors and members. The museum strives to
be responsive to the moment, spotlight politically conscious
issues, and provide a platform for open dialogue and dynamic
programs. MOCA contributes to a fuller and more nuanced and layered
American narrative in highlighting the stories of this immigrant
Visitors experience MOCA’s pertinent yet under-told history and
content through the curation of seasonal exhibitions; the
documentation and collection of the largest research center of
Chinese American artifacts in the United States; the production of
public programs featuring the stories of Chinese and Asian American
milestones, challenges, achievements, and community activism; the
organization of a roster of educational initiatives for people of
all demographic groups.
Ultimately, MOCA connects the past with the present and the
future, bringing together the Chinese American community with the
diaspora and people from all walks of life. MOCA envisions its
visitors re-entering the world as moral advocates, active
historians, and community stewards. MOCA was selected as one of 20
of America’s Cultural Treasures in 2021 by a consortium of leading
Located at 215 Centre Street, MOCA is currently engaged in a
$128 million Capital Campaign for a Home. In the wake of a
three-story, five-alarm fire in January 2020, the COVID-19
pandemic, and increased anti-Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI)
bigotry, an updated and expanded national Museum of Chinese in
America will make a defiant and celebratory statement in the fight
against anti-AAPI discrimination and ensure the museum’s
sustainability within the New York cultural landscape.
Uniting the visionary designs of artist and architect,
Maya Lin, with the cutting-edge innovation
of Ralph Applebaum Associates, the new
facility will replace MOCA’s current home and expand its current
footprint from 12,000 square feet to more than 68,000 square feet.
The building will feature a center for research and genealogy, a
theater, classrooms, a cooking demonstration kitchen, exhibit
space, a canteen, and outdoor gathering spaces. The new space,
expected to open in 2026, will offer visitors a welcoming place for
research, exploration, education, creation, and gathering.
The Museum of Chinese in America is governed by a 17-member
Board of Trustees and has an annual budget of approximately $3.5
million, which will expand as MOCA embarks on its current expansion
plans. MOCA is managed by a staff of 11 full-time and six part-time
For more information on MOCA, please visit: https://www.mocanyc.org
Reporting to MOCA’s Board of Trustees, the President will
provide leadership, creativity, management, and strategic direction
for the museum and pursue a clear and impactful vision for the
organization going forward.
The President will champion the museum’s ambitious capital
campaign and expansion efforts, and deftly navigate this critical
inflection point in the history of the museum. The President will
inspire and engage Board and staff, community, and other
stakeholders, and bring to scale strategic ambitions and priorities
essential to MOCA’s health, vitality, and financial wellbeing.
The President will assume a highly visible external role as
chief spokesperson, storyteller, and fundraiser to build awareness
and support for the museum, secure the funds necessary to complete
the capital campaign, and strengthen the organization’s impact
locally and nationally.
Responsible for the programmatic direction of the museum, the
President will give emphasis to the development of interesting and
unique approaches to telling stories of the Chinese diaspora and
sharing these experiences and the richness and diversity of Chinese
in America with new audiences. Additionally, the President will be
a stalwart figure in the fight against anti-Asian American Pacific
Islander (AAPI) bigotry.
While embracing the museum’s current sense of place, this person
will build and secure a management team, create and implement new
business plans and strategies designed to heighten MOCA’s
visibility, generate enthusiasm, and attract the broadest range of
PRIORITIES AND ONGOING
It is expected that the President will be an inspiring yet
pragmatic leader who will embrace the power of storytelling, and
give priority to the following:
- Thoroughly understand MOCA’s history, culture, mission,
programs, operations, and constituents; understand its base of
support and its potential, both as a cultural treasure and a world
class tourist destination; quickly become familiar with its
finances, fundraising efforts, policies, and other critically
- Take ownership of the museum’s strategic planning and
direction; prioritize and create measurable steps to achieve its
objectives, particularly those that relate to MOCA’s ambitious
expansion plans; quickly grasp the numbers and scale of the
build-out, and work closely with the architecture and construction
teams, exhibition design and planning, and with New York City
officials and agencies as appropriate.
- Take the lead in MOCA’s Capital Campaign for a Home;
build on the momentum of the campaign to generate increased
interest and support and move it to completion; take a significant
and active role in the cultivation of major donors; develop key
relationships with MOCA’s individual, corporate, government, and
foundation supporters; increase museum membership.
- Forge strong and sustainable working relationships with the
Board of Trustees; understand their strengths and capabilities and
bring forth their best ideas, efforts, resources, and contacts;
ensure that the Board receives timely and clear information;
continue to diversify and attract new members to the Board.
- Steward and create new and enduring partnerships within the
community; build bridges and seize opportunities for fence mending
as appropriate; enhance and position MOCA as an integral
participant and partner within the greater New York City cultural
landscape; underscore through cross-sector engagement and
programming the museum’s role as a collegial partner to other
institutions across the city.
- Supervise, support, build, and retain a highly qualified and
motivated professional staff; support and maintain a collegial
environment and delegate appropriate responsibility; ensure
administrative policies and procedures are timely and up to date;
champion policies, procedures, and hiring efforts which reflect
MOCA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Ensure the short- and long-term financial stability of the
museum; provide overarching budgetary guidance and transparency;
build MOCA’s capacity; professionalize and strengthen internal
processes and systems and demonstrate the business acumen necessary
to ensure its ongoing success.
- Leading up to the new museum’s groundbreaking and building
phase, develop and solidify plans for temporary programming (i.e.,
pop-ups and partnerships) and office space; maintain MOCA’s
relevance during this transition.
IDEAL EXPERIENCE AND PERSONAL
The ideal candidate will have an entrepreneurial and creative
spirit, a demonstrable passion for history and culture and the role
museums can play in contemporary society, as well as the following
experience and qualifications:
- A seasoned executive with prior leadership experience in a
well-regarded museum or other cultural institution is ideal, or in
a nonprofit organization of similar scope, and/or from the
for-profit sector, preferably with experience in a public-serving
institution; experience leading, coordinating, and aligning
strategic plans with organizational capacity and fiscal resources,
with a record of achievement in bringing about change in exciting
and creative ways.
- Proven senior-level planning and problem-solving capability,
with project management skills applicable to MOCA’s expansion
efforts, and the requisite significant financial, administrative,
and day-to-day operating responsibility.
- Enthusiasm for fundraising with experience in the execution of
a successful capital campaign is desirable; a track record of
success in identifying, cultivating, and soliciting major donors,
foundation grants, and corporate sponsorships, and generating other
sources of revenue.
- A commitment to advancing educational, inspirational, and
thought-provoking exhibitions, storytelling, and programming that
attracts and engages a diverse range of patrons and instills a
sense of pride among Chinese American community members, both
locally and beyond.
- Financial acumen commensurate with running an institution the
size and stature of MOCA; able to develop and manage the budget of
a complex nonprofit institution; interpret and articulate financial
statements and financial performance.
- Conversant in the use of technology and digital media in
promoting an institution, reaching audiences, and creating
innovative and engaging exhibitions and programs; meaningful
experience in overseeing effective information technology plans and
- Superior communication, writing, and presentation skills that
are effective with a range of audiences, including MOCA members,
volunteers, staff, business and community leaders, the media, and
the general public.
- An advanced degree in an appropriate discipline is preferred;
professional experience in a historic, cultural, or academic
environment is a decided plus; knowledge of AAM standards and
The ideal candidate will also be:
- A creative and collaborative leader; a team builder committed
to MOCA’s role and mission; rooted in the community; willing to
engage, be highly visible within, and actively participate in the
cultural and civic life of Chinatown, the city of New York, and
- Persuasive and resourceful, entrepreneurial, and charismatic;
able to generate enthusiasm, motivate and direct others; able
to delegate, negotiate, handle, and prioritize multiple activities
and responsibilities with clarity and confidence.
- Intellectually curious, levelheaded, organizationally and
politically savvy and sensitive, with an ability to pick up on
cultural cues; a sense of urgency and resourcefulness necessary to
gain the support and confidence of the MOCA community, internally
and externally, in all functions and at all levels.
- Demonstrated understanding of and commitment to the values of
diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; commitment to mentoring
and empowering a dedicated, collegial, and diverse staff.
- Mature, with good judgment and a sense of humor to maintain
perspective and balance.
The salary range for this position is estimated at $275,000 to
MOCA is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified
applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard
to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy
(including childbirth or related medical conditions), sexual
orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, genetic
information, military or veteran status, citizenship, or any other
characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local
Applications, including cover letters and resumes, or
nominations should be sent to G. Angela Henry and Susan Gluck
Pappajohn at MOCA@PhillipsOppenheim.com.