Careers with The Filson Historical Society

The Filson Historical Society, founded in 1884, is a privately-supported historical society dedicated to preserving the history of Kentucky and the Ohio Valley Region. We have serve the public through our extensive library, varied museum artifacts, and our special collections department that includes over 2.1 million original manuscripts, letters, diaries, photographs, architectural records, and portraits.  Our collections form a regional educational resource that attracts national and international researchers.

We are an organization dedicated to providing continuing adult education in the form of quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal – the Ohio Valley History, quarterly magazine publications, weekly lectures, historical tours, art exhibits, reading-and-discussion groups, weekend-long conferences and field institutes and excursions.

The Filson Historical Society is a member-supported 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, an equal opportunity employer, and provides its employees with industry competitive salaries and a comprehensive benefits package that includes health, life and disability insurance; a contributory retirement plan; paid holidays; and generous medical leave and vacation.

For general information regarding career opportunities, please contact The Filson Historical Society at (502) 635-5083 and ask for Marian Salmon.

Career Opportunities

President and Chief Executive Officer

The Filson Historical Society, one of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished historical institutions, seeks qualified candidates for the position of President and Chief Executive Officer. The mission of The Filson Historical Society is to collect, preserve, and tell the significant stories of Kentucky and Ohio Valley history and culture.

Founded in 1884 in Louisville, Kentucky, and named in honor of the 18th-century historian John Filson, the Filson has acquired a large and comprehensive collection of manuscripts, documents, books, maps, museum objects, artwork, and photographs relating to the history of the Ohio Valley, Louisville, and Kentucky. The Filson publishes a quarterly journal, produces exhibits, conducts lectures, conferences and other public events, offers a fellows program for scholars and graduate students, and offers a variety of educational programs.

The President and CEO of the Filson is charged with leading the organization at the direction of the Board, in accordance with a shared vision guided by the organization’s strategic plan. This position has the following responsibilities:

1. Communicate to the board of directors about the Filson’s activities, through its chair, at formal meetings, and through other channels; take direction from the board to adjust the course of progress; and guide the board in appropriate ways.
2. Lead the staff to excellence in implementing the board’s strategic plan.
3. Represent the Filson to its members, in the community, in relationships with partners, and with donors.
4. Raise money for current operations and to strengthen the Filson’s endowments.
5. Develop new services that respond to user needs, and anticipate future needs.
6. Oversee the maintenance of the building and grounds.
7. Shepherd the collection in its growth, its refinement, and its alignment with the mission.
8. Ensure the institution’s financial health and accountability.
9. Exercise the ultimate responsibility for the Filson’s human resources stewardship.
10. Establish and maintain the Filson’s standards for public communications and perceptions.

Qualified applicants should have at least ten years’ experience in a leadership position with a proven track record of fundraising success. Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred. Interested candidates for this position should submit letter of interest, resume/CV, and professional references by January 15, 2019 to Carl Thomas, Board Chair, at

Volunteers, Welcome to The Filson Historical Society!

Volunteering is a great way to learn more about history while helping to preserve the past for the enjoyment of future generations.  Meeting new people, learning and sharing information, and making a real contribution to The Filson are just a few of the benefits volunteers can receive for their time and effort.

At The Filson Historical Society, volunteers provide connections to the past and insights into the present.  Volunteers provide personal attention to visitors, perform behind-the-scenes assistance to our Library and Collections, and work with the public in education and programming events … all by contributing their unique talents, skills and life experiences, and their knowledge about our community, our commonwealth and the Ohio Valley region.

The Filson Historical Society is committed to encouraging volunteer involvement at all levels in the organization. Please see our current volunteer opportunities below:

Volunteer Opportunities at The Filson

Front Desk Volunteer

The Filson Historical Society is seeking volunteers to welcome guests and researchers to The Filson. Volunteers will assist The Filson by:

  • Welcoming and directing Filson visitors
  • Registering researchers and collecting research fees
  • Answering the phone and directing calls
  • Registering people for events using SimpleTix, our online event registration platform
  • Helping Filson staff with other activities


The Filson is seeking volunteer docents to give tours of the exhibits and the historic Ferguson Mansion. Initial and ongoing training for docents will be provided.

If you have the following attributes, you should consider becoming a docent:

  • A passion for connecting the public to local history
  • Great public speaking skills
  • Interest in local history and art
  • Punctual and reliable

It’s an exciting time at The Filson—join us!

For more information regarding volunteer opportunities, please contact Sarah Bruns at 502-635-5083 ext. 235 or email