Exhibit/Display Coordinator – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position. A design portfolio will be required for review during interviews.

The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, a unit in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, opened with all new exhibits and programs in the new Biological Sciences Building in 2019.  Currently, we are in a period of remediation of the new exhibits. Soon we will move to setting up new systems for ongoing creation of new and maintenance of existing exhibits, and preparing to host a traveling exhibit in 2021.

We are seeking an experienced exhibit preparator/designer to help us achieve our annual changing exhibit schedule through: graphic design, layout and fabrication; employing knowledge of materials and collections practice to create mounts for specific specimens for display; and fabricating durable touchable items for hands-on elements.  This position will also use creative problem solving for maintenance issues in the galleries.

From Research Stations (small, researcher-focused displays) to our 500 sq foot Experimental Gallery, we aim to change out nearly a dozen display spaces in the museum every year—several of them twice a year.  Working as part of the Exhibits team, this work may include executing or coordinating graphic design projects for exhibit components using established design guidelines, planning layouts for galleries or cases, working with faculty, staff, or students to collect and mount artifacts, creating furniture or touchable items for hands-on activities, and making sure these projects are completed on time and within budget.

In the short term, this position will also be part of the current process of evaluating what does and does not work as planned in the new museum, devising creative solutions to problems that can be fixed easily, and helping prioritize which items should be pushed forward for remediation.

This position will be supervised by the Assistant Director for Exhibits.


Exhibit Preparation: Fabrication & Installation Knowledge and Skills – approximately 60%

  • Knowledge of exhibit fabrication techniques, tools, and materials, including casework, lighting, mount-making, model-making, etc.
  • Knowledge of museum standards and best practices
  • Knowledge of installation procedures and techniques; experience working to install collections following museum industry best practices for collections handling and security
  • Able to successfully coordinate and communicate with external contractors and internal personnel regarding exhibit deliveries, moving collections, and installation
  • Knowledge of and ability to work with collections and registration staff and procedures
  • Ability to critically read and understand construction and exhibit display drawings—floor plans, elevations, detail design, shop drawings, specifications, and diagrams
  • Ability to come up with creative solutions for fixing damaged exhibits and preventing further damage


Exhibit and Graphic Design Knowledge and Skills – approximately 40%

  • Able to follow graphic design templates for a variety of design tasks and to sustain overall look and feel established by building architects and contracted exhibit firm, as well as to create new designs
  • Experience with 3D design (case layouts, floor plans)
  • Demonstrated experience in exhibition and experience design—ability to design a small gallery in its entirety, making full use of the space and visitor kinesthetic experience, creating unique and appealing museum exhibit spaces which are visitor-centered and clearly convey content through materiality and design
  • Able to draft basic construction/fabrication drawings, such as to illustrate changes and additions or create new exhibit elements
  • Excellent command of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Sketchup or other similar programs
  • Demonstrated ability to work with outside vendors to coordinate production of graphics and other graphic elements
  • Able to work within established budgetary parameters; closely tracks expenditures

The ideal candidate is an energetic, enthusiastic individual with the ability to work both independently and as a collaborative team member on multiple time-sensitive tasks. He or she should be a resourceful technician and creative problem solver, in addition to demonstrating self-reliance and excellent attention to detail. Must be flexible and able to prioritize projects with interruptions for time-sensitive tasks.

This position requires three to five years’ experience in a museum or gallery setting, and demonstrated success in exhibit preparation and exhibit experience design and graphic design.

A Bachelor’s degree is expected in graphic or experience design, studio art, museum studies, or similar field, or related job experience / apprenticeship in comparable trade or craft.


  • Ability to work collaboratively with individuals and with teams—collegial and congenial
  • Ability to manage multiple projects in a fast-moving environment
  • Basic office computer skills
  • Excellent command of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Sketchup or other similar programs
  • Significant experience in an area (or multiple areas) of fabrication — wood, metal, plastics, molding/casting, etc.
  • Advanced knowledge of exhibit fabrication techniques, tools, and materials

Physical Requirements:

  • Must possess the ability to work confidently while on ladders, scaffolding and work on scissor lift (certification on self-propelled scissor lift is preferred or on-the-job training will be required)
  • Must be able to work in both confined and public spaces in the museum
  • Ability to consistently transport up to 75 pounds
  • Graphic Design and Exhibit Portfolio must be available for review for interview.
  • Past experience working in a science museum
  • Background or education in science / natural history field
  • Previous specimen / artifact handling experience in a museum, knowledge of best practices in museum collections care
  • Past experience designing and maintaining museum lighting plans

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitments to serve the diverse people of Michigan, fulfill the College’s Guiding Principles, and sustain the excellence of LSA.

To learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion visit http://lsa.umich.edu/lsa/about/diversity–equity-and-inclusion.html

To learn more about LSA’s Guiding Principles visit http://lsa.umich.edu/lsa/faculty-staff/human-resources/lsa-staff-guiding-principles.html

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks.  Background checks are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.