Exhibit designers create displays, erect fixtures, prepare objects and even restore items for a diverse array of events in museums, trade shows, exhibitions, galleries and libraries. They also identify and record these objects for proper arrangement in exhibitions.
Exhibit designers generally work exclusively for a private organisation, art gallery or public museum.
Duties and responsibilities
- Work with clients, management or donors to discuss their theme ideas and other desires
- Manage orders for various site services and materials, like electronics or equipment
- Create a proposal and submit quotes for clients regarding the exhibit
- Transport displays from locations to the exhibit venues and maintain inventory of every item
- Prepare, clean and assemble objects for public display during the exhibition
- Install objects, items or products throughout the event location
- Attend regular meetings to provide status updates of current projects
- Compose and present proposals for future projects and events
- Update clients throughout the design process
- Delegate and supervise staff handling, storing and mounting these pieces
- Photograph every object for documentation and insurance purposes
- Hold tours of an exhibit or a building for students or the general public
- Identify and inspect different pieces during festivities to ensure they are properly taken care of
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally
An exhibit designer will average 40 hours per week and generally clock in 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday in an office setting. That said, these hours may extend beyond 40 hours when special events take place, requiring the attention of the exhibit designer to prepare and design the exhibit and assist those who need it. These special events could happen at a library, new museum, art gallery or trade show.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
No formal education is required to become an exhibit designer, although a bachelor’s degree (such as in interior design, art history, museum studies, marketing or business) can improve job prospects. Training is typically provided on the job, but you will generally need to demonstrate an interest in art or design.
As an exhibit designer, you will typically begin your career as a junior designer. After several years of experience and building a compelling portfolio and detailed résumé, you can soon get promoted to management positions within the organisation you work for. Some exhibit designers who show a natural flair for exhibit design can become head of the institution, either internally or poached by another entity.