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George Mason’s Gunston Hall, a National Historic Landmark located on scenic Mason Neck in Fairfax County, Virginia, is pleased to announce an exciting new opportunity for an energetic and action-oriented leader to participate in the development, management, and interpretation of gardens and historic landscapes on our 550-acre historic site. Having recently adopted a twenty year Campus Master Plan and initiated the restoration of the historic river-side garden at Gunston Hall, we are seeking a passionate and collaborative horticulturist with the vision, expertise, and ability to inspire, develop, and implement an active program of landscape restoration, maintenance, and education.

The ideal candidate will possess expertise in horticulture and landscape management, a compelling vision for the educational potential of gardens and landscapes, an enthusiasm for their work, a commitment to collaboration, a strong belief in the importance of ongoing personal and professional development, and knowledge of 18th-century horticulture.

Description of Duties

The horticulturist is a full-time, exempt-status position working within the education and guest experiences department under the direct supervision of the director of education and guest experiences. 

In addition to supporting the overall mission of George Mason’s Gunston Hall, the horticulturist is charged with overseeing all gardening and historic landscape-related operations at Gunston Hall. The horticulturist is also expected to help develop and lead implementation of the strategic vision for horticultural and agricultural operations and initiatives at Gunston Hall.

Additionally, the horticulturist is responsible for the following:

  • Overseeing all garden and historic landscape initiatives at Gunston Hall.
  • Providing vision and direction for a comprehensive and strategic long-range plan for Gunston Hall’s gardens and historic landscapes in alignment with the Campus Master Plan.
  • Leading and implementing the restoration of the river-side garden in close collaboration with the Restoration Planning Team.
  • Ensuring that Gunston Hall’s horticultural work implements and reflects current best practices in the field and that the organization’s plant holdings and landscapes are documented appropriately.
  • Establishing goals and providing daily technical and physical assistance to ensure the success of garden and historic landscape related activities.
  • Adhering to the best care and management practices for planting, pruning, replacing, harvesting, seed collecting, and the overall care of a variety of flowers, fruits, vegetables, herbs, trees, and shrubs. Also responsible for amending the soil within the garden enclosures as necessary.
  • Directly supervising volunteer and contractor gardeners.
  • Establishing and ensuring that work places are safe for all those helping in the gardens and that safe work practices are used.
  • Fostering teamwork within the horticulture division.
  • Identifying, controlling, and treating weeds, diseases, and pests including the safe and proper use of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides.
  • Supervising the timely harvesting of produce and as requested by the education and guest experiences department and the museum shop.
  • Directing and conducting research on Gunston Hall’s gardens, plants, and landscapes including the sharing of findings with staff and the public through lectures, publications, tours, new media, and similar formats.
  • Providing tours of the historic gardens and historic landscapes as needed.
  • Interacting positively with visitors, answering questions, and giving directions.
  • Working closely with the director of education and guest experiences to prepare the annual horticulture budget and work plan.
  • Serving as the authority on Gunston Hall’s horticultural efforts, representing these initiatives and work to visitors, donors, the media, and the public at large.
  • Collaborating with the executive director and development staff to raise funds necessary to complete needed horticulture initiatives and projects.
  • Cultivating and maintaining professional relationships with other historic gardens and greenhouse facilities to exchange ideas and information.  
  • Undertaking other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

  • B.S. degree in agricultural sciences, horticulture, or a closely related field.
  • Five years of progressive experience at a historic site, park, or comparable facility.
  • Sound knowledge of the philosophy and fundamental principles, theories, and best practices of horticulture and landscape management.
  • Demonstrated commitment and success engaging and educating the public.
  • Ability to supervise and manage volunteers.
  • Ability to work with staff of other departments and outside professionals.
  • Proven ability to establish and maintain strong lines of communication.
  • Ability to safely operate a variety of hand tools, power equipment, and gas-powered equipment (i.e. shears, blowers, chain saws, tractors, weed eaters, loaders, and trucks).
  • Ability to obtain a Virginia pesticide applicator’s license.
  • Ability to prepare and manage departmental and project budgets.
  • Must be available to work weekends, holidays and/or evenings as needed.
  • Ability to lift 30 lbs.
  • Ability to work outdoors for long periods in various weather conditions.

This position is a full-time, salaried, and classified as exempt. Compensation will be based on qualifications. Performance will be evaluated based on the achievement of collaboratively determined team and personal goals specific to the requirements of the position.

Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason, aspires to utilize fully its physical and scholarly resources to stimulate the continuing public exploration of democratic ideals as first presented by George Mason in the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights.  Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and a National Historic Landmark, Gunston Hall was built by George Mason from 1755-1759. Today, the site includes Gunston Hall; reconstructed outbuildings; a visitor center, museum, event facility, and museum shop; and 550 acres of diverse landscape situated along the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia.  For more information, please visit www.gunstonhall.org.

Gunston Hall is an equal opportunity employer.

Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and three references to Rebecca Martin, the director of education and guest experiences, at rebecca.martin@gunstonhall.org.  Applications must be received by close of business on March 27, 2019.

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