Program Manager for Visitor Engagement

Updated: 4 months ago
Location: Jamaica Plain, MASSACHUSETTS


University Administration


Job Summary

Reporting to the Head of Public Programs, the Program Manager (PM) for Visitor Engagement manages the Arnold Arboretum’s on-site visitor engagement and educational services. Using current learning methods and approaches, the Program Manager strategically designs in-person learning opportunities, serving tens of thousands of adult learners each year. The Program Manager also oversees the Visitor Center and Mobile Visitor Center, which welcome and orient some of Arnold Arboretum’s several million annual visitors from Boston and around the world.

The Program Manager creates and implements public programs for a wide range of adult audiences, including workshops, seminars, talks, tours, and seasonal events inspired by the Arboretum’s living collections and the natural world. The PM builds relationships with plant and landscape experts across the Arboretum, Harvard University, and wider communities to facilitate programs and grow the learning communities.

The Program Manager also leads a team of four Visitor Engagement staff to deliver in-person welcoming and orientation services. To further support these services, the PM works with Visitor Engagement staff to recruit, train, and organize volunteer docents and interpreters. This position collaborates with the Digital Programs and Content Manager, the Manager of Children’s Education, and departmental leadership to set goals for learning activities that emphasize diversity, inclusion, and environmental justice. 

The Arboretum has reconfirmed its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through a variety of new initiatives. Many of these are centered around the work of the Public Programs department. The PM plays a key role in these efforts to increase access and welcoming across the Arboretum. The Arboretum is also committed to working to build a diverse community within our staff. We strongly encourage people of all backgrounds to apply.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

  • Oversee all work, scheduling, training, and development of Visitor Engagement Staff. Has responsibilities in managing performance, doing performance reviews, and hiring/ firing when/ if needed.
  • Manage the Arnold Arboretum’s Hunnewell Visitor Center and the new Mobile Visitor Center.
  • Collaborate with other Arboretum departments, Harvard University units, the City of Boston, and not-for-profit organizations in creating and implementing dynamic programming.
  • Develop and oversee tours with the Coordinator of Visitor Engagement.
  • Oversee and manage the recruitment, training, organization, and recognition of Arboretum volunteer docents and interpreters.  
  • Manage visitor engagement budget.
  • Assume the lead role in running and organizing the Arboretum’s largest event, Lilac Sunday, each May.
  • Create content and write for institutional publications and digital resources.
  • Occasional evening and weekend presence is required.

Basic Qualifications

Candidates MUST meet the following basic qualifications to be considered for this role:

  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental education, museum studies, plant sciences, or a related field.
  • Three or more years of experience working within a public garden, museum setting, or related setting. Experience in outdoor education programs and/or interpretation of natural sites or related fields with a wide range of audiences. 
  • Two or more years of progressive management, supervisory, project management, and administrative experience and skills.
  • Experience managing staff in a public garden, natural history collections, museum, or related setting.
  • Computer skills, including Microsoft Office Suite.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Master’s degree in public gardens management, plant sciences, museum studies, education, or related field preferred
  • Strong working knowledge of theory, methods, and approaches for outdoor learning
  • Proven teaching and teamwork skills, including the ability to effectively serve and communicate with diverse audiences and with Arboretum managers, staff, and volunteers
  • Ability to foster a collaborative working environment with coworkers and volunteers
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills and positive attitude
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including tact, diplomacy, and ability to direct and influence others as necessary
  • Demonstrated team leadership skills
  • Multilingual (working knowledge of one or more additional languages) preferred

Certificates and Licenses


Physical Requirements

Must be able to bend, reach, stoop, and lift up to 25 lbs. Must be able to walk and stand for up to two hours at a time in indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor conditions. Must be able to lead tours across a 281-acre landscape.

Additional Information

If you believe you need a reasonable accommodation in order to search for a job or to submit an application, please contact us at 617-495-2772 . This is a dedicated line to assist job seekers with a disability requiring assistance in applying online.

Please note: this position fully takes place on-site, not in a remote or hybrid fashion. Please also note that Harvard University cannot provide Visa Sponsorship or Work Authorization for this position.

Consistent with the new federal guidance, all Harvard employees must be fully vaccinated. Individuals may submit a request for exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. More information regarding the University’s COVID vaccination requirement and exemptions may be found at the University’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” webpage:

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is the oldest public arboretum in North America and one of the world's leading centers for the study of plants. Founded in 1872 and designed by America's first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the Arboretum's first director, Charles Sprague Sargent, the 281-acre Arboretum is a historic landmark and one of the best-preserved of Olmsted's landscapes. A unique blend of beloved public landscape and respected research institution, the Arboretum provides and supports world-class research, horticulture, and education programs that foster the understanding, appreciation, and preservation of woody plants. Along with a horticultural library and herbarium encompassing some 1.5 million dried plant specimens, the Arboretum comprises one of the largest and best-documented woody plant collections in the world, with roughly 16,000 accessioned plants. To learn more about the Arnold Arboretum, please visit:

The Arnold Arboretum views diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a culture where everyone can thrive. Our community is made of individuals who draw from a dynamic range of backgrounds to contribute to the pursuit of our common goals. The work and well-being of the Arnold Arboretum are strengthened by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, age, ability, political views, veteran status, and more. We actively seek and welcome people of color, women, persons with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQIA, and those who are at the intersections of these identities, from across the spectrum of disciplines and methods to join us. Together, we strive to create an environment that values diversity, promotes an inclusive culture, and establishes a profound sense of belonging for each member of our community.


USA - MA - Jamaica Plain

Job Code

388056 Museum Professional


Public Programs


00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening

Education, Identity


Full time. Monday through Friday. 35 hours per week. 

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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