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Marilyn Hoffman, Principal
Executive Search for Museums
Manchester, NH / Boston, MA



Marilyn Hoffman has been successfully placing professionals at museums and nonprofits since 2004.  Her extensive national networks have grown rapidly, along with her firm.  Hoffman had a 25-year museum career, capped by 18 years as a successful and respected museum director.

At age 27, she became Director of the Fuller Museum in Brockton, MA, and then took the helm of one of the top 100 art museums in North America, The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH.  She previously held two curator posts and educator positions at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the RISD Museum in Providence.  Hoffman serves on many boards and advisory committees, and often presents at NEMA.

She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Art History from Brown University.


“Marilyn Hoffman and the MS&R team did an exceptional job for us; it greatly exceeded my expectations for working with a search firm. They provided OUTSTANDING value across the entire lifecycle of the search, provided us with exceptional candidates, and helped us make a great hire.  Their personal touch and effort were exceptional. As one of our Board members put it: ‘In my 40 years of working with non-profits, this was by far the best search experience I’ve ever had.’”

–Adam Rubinson, Chair, Search Committee, Jewish Historical Society (and future Jewish Museum) of Greater Washington, DC, 2017

“Museum Search and Reference is a firm that is exceptionally knowledgeable about the museum search processes, potential candidates, organizational documentation and candidate screening. Marilyn’s leadership skills in facilitation, communication and relationship management provided a smooth and effective process that resulted in a very high caliber final candidate. Her thorough yet concise finalist dossiers were instrumental in providing a foundation for candidate selection in an incredibly timely manner. We highly recommend her services and would engage her again if ever needed in this organization or another!”

–Diana Joyner, Chair, Search Committee, Ogunquit Museum of American Art, 2016

“From the moment we engaged your firm, we experienced a full-level of service and commitment to our search. You sought to thoroughly understand our Museum and many personal touches were evident throughout the search and in your interactions with prospective candidates. We’re grateful for your assistance in recruiting a strong candidate to lead our Museum into its next chapter. ”

— Michael J. Zeleny, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development, University of Nebraska-Lincoln / Chair, Search Committee, University of Nebraska State Museum, 2015

“Marilyn and her team are consummate professionals. Her search experience, tremendous work ethic, and expansive network led to a highly successful search. I would use her again without hesitation or reservation.”

–Gary Meyer, Vice Provost, Marquette University / Chair, Director Search Committee, Haggerty Museum of Art 2015

“The members of the FAM Search Committee all feel that Museum Search & Reference (MS&R) staff and
process achieved our goals at very high standards.  In my 40+ years of business experience, I have never worked with a firm whose dedication to success was achieved with the professional ethics as MS&R.”

–Joe Sylvia, Co-Chair, Director Search Committee, The Fitchburg Art Museum 2012

“Hiring Museum Search & Reference was a unanimous decision made by the Fitchburg Art Museum New Director Search Committee Fall 2011.  From that day forward led by Marilyn Hoffman and her Museum Search & Reference staff we experienced a highly professional, laser focused, tremendously enjoyable employee search.  Our delight in our outcome shines brightly and we highly refer anyone to Marilyn and her firm as her references communicated to us when we called upon them.  They are THE BEST!”

–Lynne Benoit-Grzyb, Co-Chair, Director Search Committee, The Fitchburg Art Museum 2012

“Museum Search and Reference handled my application and interview process thoroughly, professionally, and with a special attention to the personal and human values often overlooked by larger firms. Moreover, Marilyn Hoffman and team clearly provided the best value to the Fitchburg Art Museum – by educating their leadership about the search process while simultaneously stimulating institutional introspection and team-building.  This had made my job as the new Director just that much easier.”

–Nick Capasso, newly hired Director, The Fitchburg Art Museum 2012

“You have found for us what we think is the best candidate at the best time to lead this institution.  We are especially grateful for the extensive background and reference checking you did which provided us so much useful information prior to the interviews.  That allowed us to go into the interviews confident we could focus on the really important issues to assess the cultural and philosophical “fit” of the candidates.”

–Cheri Roach, Chair, Search Committee, Telfair Museums

“The services Marilyn Hoffman and staff provided were uniquely effective.  Marilyn was particularly dedicated to finding out our real objectives and then meeting them…by exhaustively discovering the best candidates and making sure that their representations were true.”

–Fred Kellogg, Chair, Search Committee, Farnsworth Art Museum

“The search resulted in the hiring of an excellent new museum director.  The person we eventually hired was not really looking for a new job.  It was Marilyn’s connection to and knowledge of the museum world together with her active recruiting efforts that matched our museum’s need with the personality and skills of the person we hired.

To anyone who is considering engaging Museum Search and Reference for an executive search but is wondering if they can afford the fee.  I would say, ‘You really can’t afford not to.’”

–Tim Meeh, Search Committee Chair, Canterbury Shaker Village

“One of the easiest searches I’ve done [with a search consultant].  I appreciated your sensitivities to issues, and your sensitivity in general.  You are a real addition to the field.”

–Lora Urbanelli, former Executive Director, Farnsworth Art Museum (currently Director, Montclair Art Museum)

“Marilyn was personable, professional, and knowledgeable.  She was generous with her time, her insights, her experience, her guidance, and her wisdom, all of which helped our search committee tremendously throughout the process.  It was a pleasure working with her.”

–Mary Wendell, Board Chair, Forbes House Museum