Exhibition Designer

Chicago History Society

The Exhibition Designer plans and executes the design of in-house and traveling exhibitions. As part of a collaborative experience development team, the Exhibition Designer participates in defining exhibition big idea, main messages, goals, budget and schedule; produces documents that enable the design to be fabricated; and reviews fabrication progress to ensure that exhibitions meet design specifications. The Exhibition Designer ensures that exhibition designs are experiential, engaging, and accessible to diverse audiences, employ up-to-date presentation methods, and communicate content effectively. The Exhibition Designer strives to create the museum visit as a seamless experience for visitors, in which elements such as signage, seating, barriers, etc. in public areas are well-designed and consistent with CHM identity.


  • Participate in the planning of the CHM exhibition program
  • With project teams, develop work plans, budgets and schedules
  • Design exhibitions within budget and schedule limitations
  • Support audience research and incorporate results in design
  • Develop and design exhibitions with the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in mind
  • Use universal design principles to ensure that exhibitions are accessible to people with diverse abilities and are, at minimum, ADA compliant
  • Produce conceptual design documents including but not limited to: bubble plans, elevations, renderings, and scale models
  • Present design ideas to teams and stakeholders, and incorporate feedback in revisions
  • Produce construction documents including but not limited to: applied flooring, lighting, electrical, AV, painting, construction, elevations, casework, case layouts, framing specs, replicas and props, and interactives
  • Solicit quotes, prepare bid packages and RFP’s, and supervise contractors as needed
  • Collaborate with the Curator and experience team on selection of appropriate media to communicate content, such as AV, artifacts, interactives, text, photos or other design elements
  • Focus final exhibition lighting


  • Ensure the integration of graphic and 3-D design
  • Provide appropriate design materials for fund-raising initiatives
  • Research new products, exhibition media and vendors
  • Assist in developing and carrying out policies and procedures for the department, division, and institution as requested
  • Contribute advice and guidance to other departments on a host of design issues in public, office and workspaces.
  • Assist with the hiring of additional temporary design staff and consultants, as needed
  • Supervise additional temporary design staff, as needed
  • Drive aerial work platform
  • Other duties as assigned

The Museum expects all employees to contribute to and promote a positive culture and collegial atmosphere at CHM in three main ways:

  • Embracing the Museum’s mission to share Chicago’s stories, serving as a hub of scholarship and learning, inspiration and civic engagement. Modeling the values that the Museum seeks in all of its staff in all of its staff including:
  • All-in: Taking and sharing responsibility for the Museum, its mission, and our future.
  • Welcoming: Demonstrating every day that the Museum is for everyone.
  • Forward-looking: Anticipating needs, spotting opportunities, and solving problems with determination and ingenuity.
  • Supporting the Museum’s institutional values of Service, Collaboration, Discovery, Creativity, Empathy, Authenticity, Integrity, and Stewardship.
  • Purpose: The Chicago History Museum’s purpose is to help people make meaningful and personal connections to history.

REPORTS TO: Director of Exhibitions


This position requires an individual able to maintain professional and productive working relationships with other Exhibition staff, Curators, Collection Managers, Conservators, Director of Properties, Security, and Visitor Services.


  • A BA in design or related field
  • Five years experience in design of collections-based museum exhibitions
  • Experience designing exhibitions for family and young audiences
  • Experience developing immersive and/or interactive experiences
  • Experience working as part of a team
  • Knowledge of museum exhibition practices and procedures, including object preservation standards
  • Familiarity with current theories of learning in museums
  • Computer proficiency in Vectorworks, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Knowledge of ADA regulations and building code
  • Knowledge of production methods and materials
  • Superior organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including being a good listener
  • Ability to lift, carry, or otherwise move and position exhibit objects and properties weighing up to 50 pounds
  • Ability to ascend and descend ladders and lifts, as well as work from ladders and lifts when installing, maintaining, or removing exhibits
  • Ability to communicate design ideas effectively
  • Ability to prioritize work and meet deadlines
  • Ability to work independently and in a team
  • Ability to work on more than one project simultaneously
  • Ability to identify problems and recommend solutions
  • Ability to tailor exhibition design to available budget and schedule
  • Ability to mentor and delegate
  • Ability to lead a team
  • Commitment to the mission, values, and programs of the Chicago History Museum
CHM has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy requiring COVID-19 vaccination(s) for all employees.
This decision was made in accordance with CHM’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is as safe as possible during these uncertain times. We believe that adopting this policy safeguards the health of our employees and their families, our customers and visitors, and the community at large from infectious diseases that may be reduced by vaccinations.

To Apply: Please submit the following as a single document: cover letter and resume. Online submissions with incomplete information may not be considered. E/O/E D/V/M/F. No Phone Calls please.

This job description is not intended to be an express or implied contract between CHM and any employee. CHM employees are employees at will. CHM reserves the right to change or assign other duties to this position as necessary to meet changing business needs. CHM is an equal opportunity employer.