Executive Director (Glass House)

National Trust for Historic Preservation
March 17, 2023
199 Elm St., New Canaan, CT
Job Type
Annual Base Salary
Location Type
Work at location



The Executive Director (ED) of the Glass House provides dynamic, creative, and strategic leadership to advance the ongoing evolution of an international icon of Modern architecture. The Executive Director will have the opportunity to develop and implement a bold new vision for the property that carries forward its legacy of creativity and experimentation through vibrant, experiential programming and inclusive partnerships.

The Executive Director will be a highly effective fundraiser who will craft and share the vision for the site in ways that expand philanthropic support and earned revenue. The ED will work closely with the site’s Advisory Council to support fundraising, raise the profile of the site, and establish strategic connections at the local, national, and international levels.

The Executive Director will be positioned full-time at The Glass House and will lead a full-time staff of 11 and an additional 25 part-time curatorial, guide, and facilities staff. The ED will report to SVP for Historic Sites and will work in collaboration with National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) headquarters staff in Development and in the Historic Sites Department.

About The Glass House

The Glass House property, built between 1949 and 1995 by architect Philip Johnson, is a National Trust Historic Site located in New Canaan, Connecticut. For more than half a century, the Glass House was home to Philip Johnson and his partner, influential curator David Whitney, a place where they hosted many of the most notable architects, artists and designers of their time.

Today, the pastoral 49-acre landscape comprises fourteen structures, centered around the iconic Glass House, and features a renowned permanent collection of 20th century art. The entire campus serves as a catalyst for the preservation and interpretation of Modern art and design, and a canvas for inspiration and experimentation through leading-edge exhibitions and installations of the highest quality. The site’s tour program, acclaimed Design Store, and on-site and online events provide a variety of opportunities for dynamic engagement. The Glass House also continues to honestly examine the negative aspects of Philip Johnson’s personal history and their legacies through new research and programming.

Over the last 10 years, the Glass House has conducted a strategic campaign to restore and re-activate the buildings and landscape at the site. The restoration of the Brick House, the companion to the Glass House that was also built in 1949, is currently in the final stages of design with construction expected to begin in spring/summer 2023. This re-opening of the Brick House offers a tremendous opportunity to define and implement a vibrant new vision for the property that continues to build its relevance in the international art and design community as the property celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2024.

The site is owned and operated by the National Trust Historic Site and is a part of its portfolio of 28 National Trust Historic Sites that are central to the organization’s mission and operations. The National Trust also owns and operates the Edith Farnsworth House and there is significant potential for creative collaborations between these two iconic Modern residences.


Visionary Leadership

  • Develop and implement a dynamic vision for the Glass House that carries forward its legacies of creativity and experimentation, interprets its full history, and expands its relevance.
  • Expand partnerships with artists, scholars, and other institutions that align with the site’s cultural significance, advance inclusive interpretation, and build financial sustainability.
  • Lead the creation of innovative and engaging public programming—including the evolution of the tour and installation programs—to expand audiences and increase revenue.

Effective Fundraising and Earned Revenue Enhancement 

  • Develop and expand corporate, foundation, government, and individual giving to ensure growth and support for ongoing preservation and site programming and other operations.
  • Cultivate and expand the site’s Advisory Council.
  • Create and successfully manage a portfolio of prospects in consultation with staff at the Glass House and the National Trust’s Development Division staff.
  • Provide executive leadership to effectively manage and track constituent data and develop successful fundraising proposals and donor cultivation events.
  • Enhance and expand earned revenue sources, including the Design Store, online retail, and the sensitive use of the property for photo shoots and other special events.

Skilled Communications & Management 

  • Act as a knowledgeable and engaging spokesperson for the site.
  • Recruit and lead a well-qualified, high-performing, and culturally diverse staff.
  • Ensure that The Glass House represents best practices in historic preservation, education and interpretation, management, and JEDAI (justice, equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion).
  • Develop, manage, and maintain a balanced operating budget.
  • In collaboration with staff at the Glass House and in the National Trust’s Historic Sites Department, develop and implement plans to advance ongoing stewardship and interpretation of the site’s highly significant buildings, landscape, and art collection.


  • At least 8 years of professional level experience overall, including at least 5 years of experience in an executive capacity. Prior work in the cultural heritage/museum/historic sites field and experience with Modern art and architecture is preferred. Relevance of experience and size and type of organization worked for may be considered when evaluating background/qualifications.
  • Proven fundraising success, including donor cultivation, grant-writing, foundation engagement, and membership development. Experience in capital campaigns optimal.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and skill set, with revenue development experience and ability to be flexible in a dynamic work environment.
  • Highly skilled in project and team management with experience in leading transformative initiatives.
  • Appreciation of Modern art and architecture; engagement with contemporary art and design.
  • Commitment to and experience with implementing DEIA policies.
  • Dynamic communications style with effective presentation skills. Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Must be able to articulate the site’s vision and operations to a wide range of audiences in engaging ways.
  • Experience successfully managing key internal and external stakeholders and relationships. Proven ability to collaborate across organizations and disciplines to achieve results.
  • Limited travel required.
This is a full-time, exempt level position, eligible for full benefits, including health, dental and life insurance, retirement benefits, and 3+ weeks of vacation, plus sick time and holidays.
The National Trust and its subsidiaries require all staff to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters (with limited exceptions for religious or medical reasons).
Hiring Range:  $160,000- - 180,000 per year

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