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Career Opportunities at the National Willa Cather Center

The Willa Cather Foundation—formerly the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial—is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather and preserving the historical settings and archival material associated with her life and writings. Since its founding in 1955, the Foundation has been headquartered in Cather's hometown of rural Red Cloud, Nebraska. 

Our purpose is to promote and encourage increased understanding and appreciation of the life, times, settings, and work of Willa Cather. Our core programs, which directly serve more than 60,000 people each year from an average of forty states and five countries, include:

  • Operation of a museum, archive, and performing arts center at the National Willa Cather Center;
  • Preservation of the largest collection of nationally designated historic sites devoted to an American author;
  • Facilitation of research from a large body of archival material related to Cather’s life and writing, the Red Cloud and Webster County region, and Homestead-era Nebraska;
  • Guided tours of historic sites associated with Willa Cather’s life and writing, including her childhood home, a National Historic Landmark;
  • Publication of the Willa Cather Review, a peer-reviewed journal that offers a unique combination of original writing focused on Cather, her influences and times, and the pleasures of her artistry;
  • Organization of conferences and seminars that generate new research and scholarship;
  • Presentation of regular programming and arts exhibits in the Red Cloud Opera House, which played a key role in nurturing Willa Cather's own interest in the arts.
  • Restoration and conservation of the 612-acre Willa Cather Memorial Prairie;
  • Curation of exhibits featuring artifacts from the Foundation’s collections, which include thousands of items that belonged to the Cather family, as well as other period pieces;
  • Scholarship awards to high school students, graduate students, and high school educators;
  • Encouragement of and cooperation with other Cather programs and initiatives.

We actively seek team members at all experience levels who share our values of Connection, Creativity, Inclusiveness, Learning, Professionalism, and Stewardship. Please see detailed job descriptions below. 

Facilities & Preservation Specialist

Job Title: Facilities & Preservation Specialist
Status: Full-Time
Classification: Exempt
Reports To: Director of Collections & Curation

Who we are: The National Willa Cather Center exists to promote and encourage increased understanding of and appreciation for the life, times, settings, and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather. We promote her legacy through education, preservation, and the arts, and we aim to become a premier cultural center that offers broad educational opportunities for our patrons to experience Cather’s work, explore historic landmarks, foster their own creativity, and embrace the arts and humanities.

Job Purpose: The National Willa Cather Center seeks a highly-organized, technically skilled, and  multi-talented candidate to fill a Facilities & Preservation Specialist position. The Specialist ensures the  short- and long-term maintenance, security, and safety of the NWCC’s  historic properties and grounds, including the National Willa Cather Center (30,000 square feet); the Red Cloud Opera House (11,000 square feet); and nine sites on the National Register of Historic Places, including Willa Cather’s Childhood Home (a National Historic Landmark), the Burlington Depot, the Farmers and Merchants Bank, the Cather Second Home, Pavelka Farmstead, J.L. Miner House, and three historic churches.  

The Facilities & Preservation Specialist works as part of the Collections team to ensure efficient maintenance and repair of properties; acts on behalf of the NWCC when engaging and overseeing the work of independent contractors and vendors; and assists NWCC leadership in planning and prioritizing regular preventative maintenance and capital improvements. Duties include evaluation of and contribution to sites-related procedures and documents, such as disaster planning, integrated pest management, environmental monitoring, and maintenance scheduling. 

Essential duties and responsibilities:  

  • Proactively review all general maintenance and maintain detailed maintenance files on all HVAC units, security systems, fire suppression systems, and other equipment 

  • Maintain compliance with applicable regulations by completing regularly scheduled  inspections per established schedules and update maintenance checklists as needed 

  • Oversee the safe and proper maintenance of equipment and tools including coordinating repairs and/or replacement and ensuring all are returned to appropriate storage areas 

  • Ensure that security, fire, and emergency safety equipment is inspected and in good working order

  • Respond to and resolve issues regarding security systems, buildings, and grounds

  • Manage and conduct basic maintenance and repairs including carpentry, plumbing,  electrical, and engaging outside vendors/contractors with approval

  • Keep centralized detailed records of preservation work completed, costs, warranty cards, paint colors, and other pertinent material 

  • Oversee construction projects, ensuring timely completion within budget 

  • Regularly communicate maintenance priorities, concerns, and emergencies both verbally in meetings and in written and digital communication

  • Develop a long-range facility maintenance plan including necessary improvements and costs 

  • Adhere to approved budget, managing expenses for the  benefit of the organization 

Education and Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s or Associate’s Degree with technical training in facility management, construction, or a related field is preferred 

  • Minimum 1–3 years of experience as a facility manager or related profession that involved conducting repairs and renovations including carpentry, plumbing, electrical, etc. 

  • Well versed in facilities management and historic preservation best practices, or a willingness to pursue professional development to acquire this knowledge 

  • Outstanding communication skills, organizational skills, and impeccable attention to detail  

  • Ability to work collaboratively

  • Strong analytical skills to review complex information in order to make decisions based on  priorities and budget availability 

  • Experience using Gmail, Google Calendar and Drive, and Microsoft applications  

  • Ability to have a flexible work schedule when needed (occasional evenings and weekends) 

  • Appreciation for rural America, small town life, and local history 

Work Environment and Physical Demands: 

  • Must be able to lift and carry a minimum of 40 lbs. 

  • Must be able to perform moderate to heavy manual labor 

  • Must be able to crawl, bend, stretch, and climb while performing routine tasks 

  • Must be able to work in non-temperature controlled areas throughout the year 

  • Must have a valid driver’s license and be able to drive a motor vehicle 

Salary and Benefits: 

This is a full-time, salaried position. Competitive compensation will be based on experience.  Benefits, including health insurance, IRA, paid holidays, and paid time off (PTO) are available. 

This job description may evolve over time. Duties and the position status are subject to periodic updates. At management’s discretion, the employee may be assigned different and/or additional responsibilities.  

To apply, send cover letter, résumé, and three professional references to: 

The Willa Cather Foundation  
Attn: Human Resources 
413 North Webster Street 
Red Cloud, NE 68970 

humanresources@willacather.org | www.WillaCather.org 

DEADLINE: Applicants are encouraged to apply by September 15. The position will  remain open until filled.

Tour Guide

Job Title: Tour Guide
Classification: Nonexempt
Reports To: Director of Education and Engagement
Status: Part-Time

Who We Are: The National Willa Cather Center exists to promote and encourage increased understanding of and appreciation for the life, times, settings, and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather. We promote her legacy through education, preservation, and the arts, and we aim to become a premier cultural center that offers broad educational opportunities for our patrons to experience Cather's work, explore historic landmarks, foster their own creativity, and embrace the arts and humanities.

Job Purpose: Tour Guides at the National Willa Cather Center are responsible for welcoming guests and leading individuals and groups on guided tours of the Willa Cather historic sites. Guides work closely with the Visitor Services Coordinator to ensure an outstanding visitor experience, and to this end, Tour Guides must have detailed knowledge of each of our buildings and be able to retain historical facts, dates and anecdotes about Willa Cather. Tour Guides are the face of our organization.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Know the history of Willa Cather, her time period in Red Cloud, her novels and short stories, and how they relate to the Cather historic sites in Webster County
  • Deliver friendly and professional service to all guests
  • Conduct tours of the various properties and prairie preserve maintained by the Willa Cather Foundation
  • Connect Willa Cather descendents and guests interested in donating gifts to our collection to the Director of Collections and Curation
  • Orient guests to our bookstore, exhibit, and art gallery spaces
  • Encourage visitors to sign our guestbook as well as complete a satisfaction survey about their experience
  • Answer the phone when the Visitors Services Coordinator and Administrative Associate are unavailable
  • Provide up to date information about opera house events, exhibits, and other relevant local services and community happenings
  • Process bookstore, opera house, and gallery sales using our Point of Sale system
  • Assist with restocking, cleaning, and decorating the bookstore
  • Handle bookstore opening and closing procedures as they pertain to shift schedules
  • Assist with preparing mailings and other office duties when requested
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Education and Experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Prior experience in the museum, hospitality, or customer service field is preferred but not required
  • Prior experience with public speaking is preferred but not required

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Interest in Willa Cather and Webster County history
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to build relationships and communicate effectively and professionally
  • An understanding of literature, the humanities, and the arts
  • The ability and desire to work cooperatively with others on a team

This job description may evolve over time. Duties and the position status are subject to periodic updating. At management's discretion, the employee may be assigned different and/or additional responsibilities.

To apply, send a resume and three references to:

The Willa Cather Foundation
Attn: Human Resources
413 N. Webster St.
Red Cloud, NE 68970

humanresources@willacather.org | www.WillaCather.org

DEADLINE: This position will remain open until filled.