Exhibition Designer

  • United States
  • Full Time
  • Experienced

Exhibition design requires a high level of judgement and creativity in collaborating with curatorial colleagues to shape the design and narrative of permanent and special exhibitions that form the foundation of the Museum’s mission, identity and visitor experience. As a member of the Exhibition Design Department, the Exhibition Designer supports the department’s goal to provide leadership in the museum design field by producing original, impactful and inclusive designs for the Museum’s exhibition program.


  • Collaborate with curatorial staff on exhibition-making process. Conduct research on artwork and its historical context as required and liaise with Curatorial to understand conceptual underpinnings of artwork/exhibition thesis and aesthetic sensibility of each project. Design all aspects of the gallery environment including narrative flow, shaping of checklist, layout of art work, wall construction, custom casework, finishes etc. for both permanent collection and special exhibitions.
  • Liaise with colleagues in Conservation, Registrar, Art Handling, Lighting, and Multi Media regarding installation requirements, and with Security, Fire Safety, Facilities, Visitor Services, Education, and Graphic Design to ensure design adheres to museum standards and promotes a successful and accessible visitor experience.
  • Produce architectural design documents from schematics through construction, including millwork detailing and material specification.
  • Produce art layouts, design renderings, maquettes, study models and other presentation materials to convey design and exhibition scope to Curators, Director, and various other Museum departments and outside parties.
  • Produce drawings and specifications for mockups and prototypes.
  • Source vendors, materials and services. 
  • Identify and communicate important deadlines, project milestones, and monthly goals. Provide timely design documentation for budgeting purposes and production.
  • Work closely with the Manager, Exhibition Production to ensure that all design elements are executed according to plan and on budget.
  • Advise implementation team during installation, with goal of preserving the curatorial vision and overall design of the exhibition while facilitating solutions and communication among various internal Museum departments.
  • Supervise Associate Exhibition Designer as they oversee gallery lighting with Engineers, assist on Exhibition Designer’s projects, and conduct departmental maintenance.
  • Research and implement special initiatives like new software, sustainability reviews as assigned by supervisor.
  • Recruit, interview, and supervise interns for the Exhibition Design department, ensure process aligns with institution’s E&I goals.
  • Participate in educational presentations for Whitney members, staff and the internship program about exhibition design.
  • Other duties, as assigned.


  • BA in Architecture or related design field.
  • 5 years’ experience in museum exhibition design, architecture or related field with a minimum of two years’ experience as an exhibition designer. Experience working with modern and contemporary art.
  • Excellent project management skills, concern for details.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, and deftness with expressing and understanding abstract concepts.
  • Ability to design creatively within distinctive architectural environment.
  • Professional experience with all phases of design and construction, including millwork detailing, material specifications, and the production of Construction Documents.
  • Judgement to carefully allocate museum resources, source suppliers, and generate design details that promote the safety of the visitor and the artwork.
  • Experience with museum lighting, conservation, security, life safety, building code and accessibility standards.
  • Knowledge of best practices for improving sustainability in the design/build field.
  • Advanced 2D drafting skills, preferably Vectorworks; advanced 3D modeling skills, preferably Rhino and V-Ray, and fluency in Adobe Suite. Ability to learn and use specialized software like ClimateStudio to analyze daylighting performance.
  • Facility with building both study and finish models. Efficiency with maquette and mockup production.
  • Ability to collaborate with diverse implementation team is essential.
  • Ability to work in a flexible, fast-paced environment on simultaneous projects.
  • High tolerance for last-minute changes and extensive consensus-building.
  • Some light physical work.
  • Weekend, holiday, and overtime hours may be required during exhibition changeovers.
  • Occasional travel may be required.

Not sure you meet 100% of our qualifications? Research shows that men apply for jobs when they meet an average of 60% of the criteria. Yet, women and other people who are systematically marginalized tend to only apply if they meet every requirement. If you believe that you could excel in this role, we encourage you to apply. We are dedicated to considering a broad array of candidates, including those with diverse workplace experiences and backgrounds. Whether you’re new to arts and culture administration, returning to work after a gap in employment, simply looking to transition, or take the next step in your career path, we will be glad to have you on our radar. Please use your cover letter to tell us about your interest in the arts and culture space and what you hope to bring to this role.


About the Whitney:

The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. From her vision arose the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for 86 years. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists themselves, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today.


EEO Statement:

The Whitney Museum of American Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Museum does not discriminate because of age, sex, religion, race, color, creed, national origin, alienage or citizenship, disability, marital status, partnership status, veteran status, gender (including gender identity), sexual orientation, or any other factor prohibited by law. The Museum hires and promotes individuals solely on the basis of their qualifications for the job to be filled. The Museum encourages all qualified candidates to apply for vacant positions at all levels. This description shall not be construed as a contract of any sort for a specific period of employment.


COVID guidelines:

The health and safety of our Museum community is the highest priority.  As such, the Whitney Museum is requiring all newly hired staff members to be fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized and/or approved COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. Requests for reasonable accommodations for medical, religious, or other reasons will be considered in accordance with applicable law.



Read More

Apply for this position

Apply with Indeed
We've received your resume. Click here to update it.
Attach resume as .pdf, .doc, .docx, .odt, .txt, or .rtf (limit 5MB) or Paste resume

Paste your resume here or Attach resume file