Lisa Monteiro, Executive Director: Museum Job Spotlight


My name is… Lisa Monteiro
The name of my museum is… Central Sierra Historical Society & Museum
My job title is… Executive Director


What’s your day to day like? What are your main responsibilities?

My day to day consists of supervising all aspects of the museum. As a small institution, we have 7 employees, every day is different. My main focus is fundraising and ensuring sustainability. A typical day includes responding to emails, coordinating and attending committee meetings, outreach to potential donors, and grant management and applications.

What is your absolute favorite part of your job? ?

My absolute favorite part of my job is that no two days are exactly alike. I get to live and work in beautiful Shaver Lake, CA in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I have had a bobcat visit my office window, I have found myself on a boat on the lake promoting the museum to journalists, traveling to record a web series about bark beetles and the devastation caused in our forest. I have spent time with a logging crew to work on an exhibit about timber harvesting in environmentally conscious ways, and have met such wonderful people in our community including our donors and volunteers. Every day brings new challenges but also new opportunities to expand my network, learn something about the area, and to grow professionally.

What advice would you give someone that wants to work in your profession?

My best advice, especially to those working in smaller institutions, would be to be passionate and willing to go the extra mile. We joke about the job description line, “and other duties as required” as tasks come up that I would never have dreamed I would be doing but our staff goes above and beyond for this museum. Sometimes that means we shovel snow off of the dumpsters or have to troubleshoot an IT issue without an IT department, but we get the job done!

What is the best part about working in the museum industry? ??

I think the support within the industry is amazing and its ability to accept change. Attending conferences and gaining a network of colleagues from different stages in their careers that I can refer to as questions arise is so important. I think it is easy to feel isolated as a small institution but access to other professionals is incredibly helpful. I am proud to be a part of an industry that takes pride in being diverse and inclusive to all.

What part of your job is the most surprising?

The most surprising aspect has been the support of the community. I moved here for the position three and a half years ago and this past winter had a fire in my home. The community rallied behind my five-year-old daughter and I. We were given a place to stay by a board member, a member put together a yoga class for a fundraiser to help us make ends meet before the insurance acted, volunteers brought in clothes, toys, and blankets for us. I was completely overwhelmed by the support and true sense of community. I knew how generous our donors, staff, and volunteers were to the museum but to experience it on a personal level was incredible.


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