Education Manager

Location: Dubuque, Iowa, U.S.A.

Innovation & Makerspace Coordinator – National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium 

 Full-time term position; initial 18 month appointment with strong potential to become permanent.  Flexibility on weekends, holidays and evenings is required.

Exempt/Non-Exempt:                       Non-Exempt
Department:                                         Education
Reports To:                                           Education Manager (Onsite Programs)
Staff Reporting to This Position:     Educators; Volunteers (as assigned)


The Innovation & Makerspace Coordinator is responsible for the educational oversight of the River Museum’s new River of Innovation exhibit. The new 9,000 ft2 gallery will open in phases. The first phase, a fully functional 19th-century belt-driven machine shop, opened in spring 2020. The second phase includes a series of hands-on interactive displays (“Innovation Currents”) as well as a makerspace/classroom.


The Innovation & Makerspace Coordinator will be tasked with creating new STEM-based and history-focused curriculum, and other educational materials, that can be utilized by all of the River Museum’s Educators for tours, programs, outreach, and visitor engagement. Quality programs will highlight connections to the Mississippi River through history, conservation, and STEM topics, utilizing dynamic resources of the NMRMA campus to forge meaningful connections with all audiences. Strong candidates will have a desire to use their curriculum development, interpretation, and leadership skills to support the mission and vision of the NMRMA and the entire Dubuque County Historical Society, while successfully executing new and existing education programs.


The Dubuque County Historical Society and its National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and Mathias Ham Historic Site are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment and are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Applicants from populations underrepresented in the field are strongly encouraged to apply. All qualified applications will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, familial status, sexual orientation, national origin, ability, age, or veteran status.


Primary Duties

  • Assemble and create source material for the historical interpretation for the belt-driven machine shop, develop a STEM-based interpretational strategy for the entire River of Innovation exhibit and makerspace, and work directly with consultants, education team, volunteers, and external partners.
    • Identify signage, consumable materials, and other onsite interpretive needs, and work collaboratively to coordinate their creation and acquisition.
    • Collaborate with teammates to identify relevant training and procedural needs, writing protocols as appropriate.
    • Collaborate with Education Manager to align curriculum to core standards and mission.
    • Initiate development of K-16 formal education curriculum materials for River of Innovation, and to support makerspace topics.
    • Provide training and coordination to team of 30 educators about how to use the machines, convey safety protocols, and provide instruction on interpretive scripts and outlines.
    • Mentor staff to ensure that interpretation and makerspace curriculum are effectively delivered.
    • Implement comprehensive evaluation program in collaboration with other Education staff and evaluation consultant(s). Incorporate results-based evidence with STEM and history education programming.
    • Support daily volunteer management and training needs of interpretive volunteers in STEM-focused areas.
    • Maintain the Museum’s ongoing partnership with Dubuque Community Public Schools as it relates to this exhibit and K-12 curriculum and programming.
  • Develop and initiate a method to evaluate the success of educational programming related to the River of Innovation, specifically the Belt Driven Machine Shop, Innovation Currents exhibits, and Makerspace.
  • Assist with supervision of the Education department staff and volunteers.
    • Ensure staff acts in a cohesive manner.
    • Ensure staff follows procedures and upholds the Education Department Code of Conduct.
    • Assign responsibilities to Education staff, assist with daily tasks, and provide alternate coverage for team members as needed.
    • Coach, motivate, train, and instruct staff and volunteers.
    • Act as a visible mentor and role model at all times.
    • Provide alternate coverage for other team members as needed.
    • In collaboration with Education Manager, perform annual performance reviews for direct reports listed above.
    • Engage all Education staff and delegate as appropriate to maximize their unique and individual talents and skill sets.
    • Act as Educator On Duty (EOD) as scheduled.
    • Attend department meetings.


Additional Duties

  • Create, schedule, present, and evaluate exceptional and dynamic guest experiences in formal and informal settings, with an emphasis on the River of Innovation exhibit and makerspace.
    • Assist with Education programs, including but not limited to youth camps (summer camps, school’s out ed-venture, group overnights, etc.), educational events (parties, education-themed events, etc.), and group tours (guided and unguided tours, school groups, cruise boats, leisure groups, etc.)
    • Develop, coordinate, and implement education programs, events, and activities for diverse audiences of all ages, including classes, camps, overnights, volunteer programs, tours, etc.
    • Incorporate small and medium sized live animals, biological specimens, and/or historical artifacts and replicas whenever possible.
    • Lead educational programs that include options such as: arts and crafts, live animals, games, activities, artifacts, props, etc.
  • Remain comfortable, competent, and invested in history, conservation, and STEM topics to ensure redundancy and cross-training are in place.
  • Attend mandatory, prescheduled training sessions.
  • Maintain written records in accordance with established practices and departmental policies.
  • Keep all education areas clean, organized and hazard free, report maintenance needs, and perform minor maintenance tasks.
  • Engage in continued learning about animals, plants, historical artifacts, and STEM components of institutional collection.
  • Maintain working relationships with local and regional educational organizations to foster collaborations.
  • Other duties as assigned.



  • Relevant college course work and/or a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in museum studies, education, biology, chemistry, engineering, environmental science, ecology, history, anthropology, or related field is strongly preferred.
  • Prior exposure to history, conservation, and STEM education concepts and curriculum development in PreK-16 school and/or informal learning setting is strongly preferred.
  • Will typically have paid education experience in formal education and/or informal learning (aquarium, zoo, nature center, science museum, history museum, makerspace) setting.
  • Must possess natural curiosity to identify and creatively facilitate strategies which engage audiences with making and design.
  • Must possess passion and interest in design, the arts, design and making across multiple fabrication domains.
  • Must show an interest in developing themselves and demonstrating leadership within the informal education field.
  • Must have familiarity with computers and the Microsoft Office suite of programs.
  • Must hold or be able to possess an Iowa, Wisconsin or Illinois driver’s license within 3 months of hire.
  • Must be capable of holding certification in First Aid and CPR.
  • Must demonstrate superb team-building skills with an ability to instill a positive and productive attitude in others.
  • Must learn quickly and be self-motivated to elevate personal skill set.
  • Must possess exemplary decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  • Must demonstrate the ability to work with all people in a positive and productive manner at all times.
  • Must possess the ability to adapt quickly and be flexible in any scenario, as well as maintain considerable patience.
  • Must be capable of dealing with emergencies calmly and efficiently.
  • Must be able to read, write, and speak the English language.
  • Must be comfortable around the water, and indoors and outdoors in any weather.
  • Must possess strength and endurance to perform the physical demands of all listed duties with or without accommodation.
  • Final candidates will be subject to a reference and background check.


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • Exposure to various cultures, geographies, nationalities, ethnicities and points of view, appreciating the basis of each person’s worldview;
  • Exposure to various economic sectors in order to appreciate the vastness of experience and expertise of others outside their field of interest, such as financial, manufacturing, technology, government, natural resources, education, etc.;
  • Demonstrate respect for committing to local, on-the-ground involvement with people, communities and cultures, with awareness and sensitivity to their economic realities; and
  • Understanding of Iowa’s unique history, heritage and culture; aptitude and capability to work closely with communities large or small, rural or urban, etc.


How To Apply

To learn more, visit  Apply by emailing your resume, cover letter, and references to Apply in person at 350 E. Third St., Dubuque, IA 52001.  Please contact Jonathan Ismail, or 563.557.9545 ext 212 with any questions about this position or for more information.