Exhibition Designer


Date Posted



Industrial Design August 30, 2018 Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL, USA

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The Art Institute of Chicago, founded in 1879, is a world-renowned art museum housing one of the largest permanent collections in the United States. An encyclopedic museum, the Art Institute collects, preserves, and interprets works in every medium from all cultures and historical periods. With a collection of approximately 300,000 art works and artifacts, the museum has particularly strong holdings in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, contemporary art, early 20th century European painting and sculpture, Japanese prints, and photography. The museum’s 2009 addition, the Modern Wing, features the latest in green museum technology and 264,000 square feet dedicated to modern and contemporary art, photography, architecture and design, and new museum education facilities. In addition to displaying its permanent collection, the Art Institute mounts more than 30 special exhibitions per year and features lectures, gallery tours, and special performances on a daily basis

Position Summary

Designs space plans, interior architecture, casework and furniture for assigned exhibitions and galleries in coordination with all other necessary Museum Departments, such as the Director’s Office, Curatorial Departments, Conservation, Collections and Loans, Experience Design, Museum Facilities, Capital Programs, and Protection Services.


  1. Serves as lead exhibition designer on assigned projects from research and conceptual development through drawing/documentation, production, and installation.
  2. Envisions and articulates exhibition content, themes, and goals with creative design solutions to produce distinctive, engaging, and safe space configuration and build-out options in close collaboration with Curatorial, Interpretation, Publishing, and Experience Design Departments. Engages in regular working and planning sessions with these departments and prepares deliverables and design progress updates for periodic milestone check-ins and presentation to other museum departments as needed.
  3. Supports Exhibition Project Manager in creation and monitoring of project schedules listing all related tasks and dates for exhibition team, including Curatorial, Collections and Loans, Experience Design, Museum Facilities, Protection Services, Special Events, Membership, etc. Provides constant communication of design progress and deliverable status.
  4. Prepares maquettes, floorplans, and models as required for concept development; designs casework and architectural elements and selects materials and finishes in consultation with Conservation, Collections and Loans, Protection Services, Visitor Services, and Museum Facilities to ensure a secure environment for art work, appropriate visitor circulation, accessibility, and safety.
  5. Develops all required design and construction documentation for exhibition and other gallery projects as assigned. Produces fabrication and construction drawings and specifications and liaises with Museum Facilities in the production and installation of casework, platforms, furniture, and all architectural elements.
  6. Coordinates with Museum Facilities to prepare cost estimates for projects. When necessary, procures estimates, selects, and purchases specialty fabrication, printing, imaging, silk screening, and other design-related services from external vendors.
  7. When necessary, procures, supervises and coordinates activities of outside contractors related to required installation elements.
  8. Maintains documentation of all design-related meetings and distributes notes to Exhibition Project Manager and other stakeholders as required.
  9. Other projects and duties as assigned.


  1. Degree in architecture, interior design, industrial design, or related field required.
  2. Minimum 3-4 years experience in exhibition and/or interior design. Museum experience preferred.
  3. Total and complete knowledge of VectorWorks, Auto CAD, or equivalent with minimum of 3-5 years drafting experience. Ability to use such software to produce bid and fabrication quality drawings. Ability to use 3D visualization software such as Google SketchUp to create presentations of design projects.
  4. Knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite preferred.
  5. Strong communication and management skills and collaborative nature.
  6. Highly developed time management skills and detail oriented.
  7. Ability to work in a fast-paced environment on multiple projects simultaneously while meeting schedule and budget requirements.
  8. Production management experience required.
  9. Office computer skills and systems knowledge required.
  10. A demonstrable ability to multi-task expertly.
  11. Experience in lighting design preferred.

**For full consideration, submit letter, resume and portfolio samples illustrating skills and strengths in conceptual design, drafting, detailing, and presentation (submit all as one document, system only permits for one attachment)**