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Job Posting: Library Director for Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 3:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Center), one of the premier institutions worldwide devoted to the history, cultures, and environment of the American West is seeking a professional and innovative director of its McCracken Research Library. The Housel Director position offers an extraordinary opportunity to shape and lead an exciting future for the McCracken.

The McCracken ranks with the likes of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, the Beinecke Library at Yale, the Huntington Library, and the Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma in terms of the depth and quality of its Western Americana research collections. Holdings include 36,000 books, more than 600 numbered manuscript collections, and over one million photographic images.

Through its collections and services, the Library supports the work of the five Center museums: Draper Natural History Museum; Buffalo Bill Museum; Plains Indian Museum; Whitney Western Art Museum; and Cody Firearms Museum. The McCracken’s rare books, historical photographs, maps, manuscripts, and rich ephemeral collections feature in the museums’ exhibitions and programs and are used extensively by researchers and curators.

The successful candidate will encourage and extend the work of a knowledgeable and skilled library staff of four and a group of committed volunteers. The Director will guide the stewardship of existing holdings and build exciting new collecting areas. The Director will also develop innovative interpretive programs, such as exhibitions, lectures, symposia, and publications.

They oversee the Center’s Resident Fellowship Program and actively contribute to The Papers of William F. Cody (, a project of the Buffalo Bill Museum and external partners.

Working closely with McCracken Advisory Board members, Center colleagues, and library team members and volunteers, the Director will build an international profile for the McCracken through networking, public speaking, media engagements, presentations at conferences, and scholarly publications. For use at the Director’s discretion in alignment with institutional strategy are funds supporting acquisitions, travel, personnel, and programming. The Director will also collaborate closely with the Center’s development department to raise funds for the library through grants and donations.

Candidates should ideally have experience in archives development and administration, or a record of involvement with archives and a capacity and willingness to expand their knowledge and skills. Experience working with a variety of analog and digital resources in a research environment is preferred. The Center may provide support to the Director for additional library and archival training and other forms of professional development for themselves and the other members of the McCracken team.

Candidates with a master’s degree in western American history or a related subject will be considered; Ph.D. preferred. Additional Master’s degree in library science, archival studies, or related area preferred. Candidates with a Master’s degree in library science with a deep interest in western American history or a related subject will also be considered. The ability to lead a team, collaborate with colleagues and external partners, participate actively in the field of western American archives, and interface with the public is critical.

Inquiries are welcome.

The salary for this position begins at $75,000 p.a., accompanied by a full benefits package.

Please apply by submitting your resume, a cover letter explaining why you want this position and why you believe you’d be successful in it, and the names and contact information for three professional references to: Terry Harley at If you have questions about the position or require more information, please contact Karen McWhorter, Chair of the Search Committee, at

To learn more about the MRL and its collections and activities, please visit

Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860 

The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas. The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!