Director of Acquisitions

at Wisconsin Historical Society (view profile)
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Date Posted October 11, 2021
Category Public or Governmental
Job Type Full-time
Apply Here
Minimum Compensation in Local Currency 74,880
Maximum Compensation in Local Currency 89,440
Hourly or Salary? Salary



The Director of Acquisitions is responsible for the continued growth and administration of acquisitions across the Collections Division of the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS). WHS’s holdings make up one of the preeminent North American history collections in the country, with a library of more than 4 million volumes, an archive of more than 105,000 cubic feet of manuscript collections, 25,000 maps and atlases, 3 million photographs, 750,000 three dimensional artifacts, and an extensive sound and moving image collection. The Society’s holdings include one of the largest newspapers and periodical collections in the country with a specialization in African-American newspapers and alternative serial publications that span the political spectrum. As part of a new collections leadership team, the Director of Acquisitions will work to advance the development, prioritization and assessment of a comprehensive acquisitions program that spans library, archives, and museum collections.

Joining WHS during an exciting time of growth, transformation and innovation, the Director of Acquisitions serves as the primary point of supervisory contact for the transfer of all non-government acquisitions to WHS’s world-class collection. Having direct oversight of the workflows that support user-centered approaches to collection acquisitions, the Director manages the day-to-day work relating to archival accessioning, library acquisitions, and curatorial registration. Serving on the division's leadership team, the Director of Acquisitions has primary responsibility for activities relating to acquiring non-governmental collections through gift, deposit, transfer, exchange, and purchase. The Director works closely with the Division Administrator on the establishment of long-range goals, budget development, and acquisition strategies across collections, assists in developing digitization priorities and engages in donor relations. The Director leads data management initiatives relating to acquisition metadata workflows and assessment analytics across varied formats and genres within the Collections Division. The Director leads, mentors, and encourages the acquisitions team in fostering an inclusive culture of integrated collection building across library, museum, and archives collections as well as creates an environment that encourages staff in continual improvement, learning, and development of new skills to serve WHS’s mission.


Minimally-qualified applicants will have all of the following:

  • Experience developing strategic approaches and operational plans for the acquisition of books, serials, and related e-resources.
  • Experience with financial management relating to the lifecycle management of GLAM collections including creating budgets, monitoring collection funds, and annual reporting.
  • Experience supervising and managing staff (assigning work, creating performance evaluations, initiating staffing decisions).

Well-qualified applicants will also have at least one of the following:

  • Experience negotiating licensing agreements, donor deeds of gift, and acquisition purchases.
  • Experience optimizing acquisition metadata workflows for ingest into an integrated library system or a collections management system.
  • Experience analyzing usage statistics and collections assessment data to inform budgetary decisions.
  • Experience implementing best practices relating to copyright and intellectual property, fair use, and access permissions.
  • Experience establishing work processes for archival accessioning or museum registration.

How to Apply

Apply online! To apply, click “Apply for Job” to start the application process.  Then, you will access your existing account or to create a new account if you don’t have an account. Once you are logged in, click “Apply for Job.” Follow the steps outlined in the application process and submit your application.

Your letter of qualifications and resume are very important parts of your application and are used during our evaluation process to determine your qualifications as they relate to the job. For instructions on developing your resume and letter of qualifications for your application and what should be included in these materials, click here.

Submitted materials will be evaluated and the most qualified applicants will be invited to participate in the next step of the hiring process.

We are an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer seeking a diverse and talented workforce.

Questions can be directed to

Deadline to Apply

Applications are due at 11:59PM on November 3, 2021