Director – USC Pacific Asia Museum

The University of Southern California seeks an entrepreneurially savvy and scholarly leader to provide strategic leadership, management expertise and an educational perspective for the USC Pacific Asia Museum (USC PAM).

The museum’s addition to USC was formally announced in November of 2013. Following a series of exhibitions and programs and plans for an upgrade to its physical plant and facilities, the museum was closed for renovations in July of 2016. It reopened in December of 2017. The Director will lead the continuing integration of the museum into USC. As an experienced “Academic Entrepreneur” of a museum or cultural institution, the Director is an advocate of the university museum as a teaching space and research laboratory where faculty and students across disciplines will explore and deepen their knowledge and accelerate discovery. The Director has the insight and ability to leverage USC’s multi-disciplinary academic resources in conjunction with the museum’s Pacific and Asian art holdings, its local and global connections, and other cultural and academic institutions. The Director will ensure USC PAM’s positive impact on USC, and on art and culture worldwide.

The University of Southern California Pacific Asia Museum is one of a small, elite group of stand-alone museums in the U.S. dedicated to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands that is also a part of a major research university in the U.S.

The museum’s historic building has served as a center for art, culture and learning in Pasadena since its construction in 1924 by pioneering collector and entrepreneur Grace Nicholson (1877-1948) as her residence, galleries, and Treasure House/emporium. Ms. Nicholson’s championing of Asian art early in the century set the tone for much of the Pasadena community’s arts-related activities during the ensuing decades. The building also served as the site of the Pasadena Art Museum, which was renowned for its groundbreaking exhibitions of contemporary art. Pacific Asia Museum combined the spirits of both its predecessors in its focus on the classic and contemporary arts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. In 2013, University of Southern California partnered with the museum to form USC Pacific Asia Museum. The connection to the university has broadened the community that benefits from the museum’s role as a vital resource for education, cultural heritage and scholarship, and expanded the audience interested in a dialogue about art, history and culture.

The Pacific Asia Museum, founded in 1971 and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2009, is committed to scholarship and has produced more than 50 exhibition catalogues. It has a collection of over 15,000 items from across Asia and the Pacific Islands, extending from Persia to the Pacific Islands and spanning more than 500 years. Prominent holdings include the Harari Collection of Japanese paintings and drawings from the Edo (1600-1868) and Meiji (1868-1912) periods, one of the largest collections of Japanese folk paintings outside of Japan, a South Pacific bark cloth collection, collections of Chinese ceramics and textiles, and Buddhist art from throughout Asia.

In its brief history, the museum has organized and presented groundbreaking exhibitions, including the first North American exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art after the Revolution and the first exhibition of Aboriginal art in the United States.

Exhibitions originated by the museum have traveled across the country and to Japan. Presently the museum is traveling an original show to Mexico City demonstrating the influence of Mexican Muralism on Chinese art after its own Revolution. USC PAM also continues its tradition as a partner to the community by its presentations of exhibitions, performances, lectures, classes, workshops, and festivals, all drawing on the arts and cultures of Asia and the Pacific Islands. These programs provide quality arts programming and education to children and families and ensures greater access to the arts for area residents while nurturing new audiences.

The integration of USC PAM into the greater university serves the research and scholarly pursuits of the entire school and benefits several institutions focusing on the historic, cultural and dynamics of the Pacific Rim and the Asia-America experience including the East Asia Studies Center, the Korean Studies Institute, the USC Center for Japanese Religions and Cultures and the USC U.S.-China Institute. In addition, and importantly, all six arts schools include a significant number of students from Asia, and creative work by many faculty members is influenced by Asia.


The Director reports to the Executive Director of USC Museums, develops the museum’s vision, communicates its mission across communities and platforms, is the principle administrative and fiscal officer of USC Pacific Asia Museum. The Director is the museum’s leading spokesperson to a broad constituency including students, faculty, donor, alumni, university leaders, trustees, volunteers, visitors, local, global arts and philanthropic communities and the global museum and academic communities. The Director leads the marketing, fundraising, research and educational initiatives, curatorial vision, acquisitions program and exhibition schedule, as well as facility planning and budgetary process. The successful candidate works closely with the Executive Director of USC museums; and through PAM inspires and elevates the University’s institutional, intellectual, creative and community research, educational and cultural pursuits.


  1. Develop and implement strategic and budgetary plans to ensure the continuing integration of the museum into the broader university as an integral place for learning, and as a destination for the broader Manage museum resources including human, museum collection, capital, revenue and expenditures and the processes and controls necessary for implementation. Ensure alignment between the museum’s goals and the overarching goals of the University and leverage USC resources.
  2. Develop and implement plans to designate PAM as a global recognized resource for the study of Asian and the Pacific Islands’ art and culture. Lead the outreach to and create partnerships with traditional and contemporary Asian and Pacific Islands arts scholars, artists, museums and other cultural organizations, collectors and
  3. Lead the continuing development and communication of the vision and mission to all relevant stakeholders. Ensure complete buy-in.
  4. Develop a brand promise/identity and marketing plan to communicate the identity and promise of the museum to the university, community and donors.
  5. Ensure curation of exhibits, shows and acquisitions are consistent with the brand promise/identity.
  6. Drive marketing and communication. Personally, and inspirationally communicate and advocate on behalf of the USC Pacific Asia Museum across media platforms, cultural institutions, galleries and all other global sources of influence in the world of scholarship, art and culture. Attend and represent USC PAM at relevant conferences, exhibitions and events, or where requested by Advancement and or University
  7. Build and lead, in conjunction with USC’s University Advancement Office, a robust ongoing development/advancement and revenue program ensuring a capital reserve to fund programs, people and other resources. This includes but is not limited to donor and trustee relations, new donor development, grants, membership, special events, creation of national and international boards and
  8. Oversee personnel and ensure a cohesive team and collaborative work environment. Promote individual initiative and provide mentorship. Recruit and hire best in class staff and outside consultants. Carry out timely evaluations, promotions and terminations
  9. Establish relationships and collaborate with University senior administrative and academic leaders and colleagues. Encourage and recruit interdisciplinary faculty participation including potential co-curatorial roles and research programs. Advocate for museum integration into curricula across disciplines. Help develop innovative curriculum and programs. Encourage and facilitate research, inquiry, interpretation, experimentation, innovation, conservation, new and contemporary artists, publication and all forms of
  10. Collaborate with volunteers and other community leaders and be a resource for K-12 and other community programs. Build a robust membership base and encourage admission thus raising the profile of the museum as a destination point. Partner with the Fisher Museum and other relevant USC schools, departments and programs to ensure the museum plays a leading role in the ever-changing higher education environment and the role of the university museum in that environment. Maintain currency with emerging technologies and student behavior such as virtual environments and the use of social networks
  11. Oversee the curating of exhibitions. Develop criteria, plans and processes for new acquisitions
  12. Develop and manage budgets. Oversee the allocation of expenditure and resources. Oversee personnel, contract management, policy development and revenue such as memberships, admissions, concessions and retail. Create and communicate USC PAM specific success
  13. Foster and promote the museum as a point of entry for exploration into Pacific and Asian art and culture, a portal to the university and safe-haven for international students

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