Seattle Art Museum seeks Exhibition Designer

Seattle Art Museum seeks Exhibition Designer

OVERVIEW: Designs and executes the installation and dismantling of art exhibitions in the Museum’s permanent and special exhibition galleries.

SAM is dedicated to racial equity and strives for employees, volunteers, and interns who are passionate, qualified, and offer diverse perspectives. SAM prioritizes racial equity in the workplace because we know that people of color are the most impacted when it comes to inequities. We are particularly interested in engaging with historically under-represented groups in the museum field as we strive to be inclusive and equitable. SAM is responsive to cultural communities and experiences, and our strategic plan goals address the role art plays in empowering social justice and structural change to promote equity in our society.

FLSA STATUS:            Exempt

COMPENSATION:       $85,000-90,000 annual salary range DOE

REPORTS TO:             Director of Design and Installation


  1. Ensure transformation of curatorial, conservation and artistic concepts into practical aspects of exhibition design and installation.  Creates installation elements such as exhibition layout, mount making schedule, and casework requirement schedule.  Participates in lighting design and exhibition signage concepts and planning.
  2. Participate in the exhibition planning process with appropriate personnel. Develop budgets for special exhibitions, the permanent collection, and special projects.
  3. Purchase supplies, materials, and services required to implement exhibitions and installations.  Initiate and maintain vendor contacts and competitive bidding pricing.
  4. Establish project timelines; monitor and revise as required.
  5. Coordinate activities with preparators in conjunction with curators, registrars, outside vendors and other SAM personnel involved in special exhibitions or installation projects.
  6. Ensure artwork is prepared for exhibition, including creation of mounts, framing of paintings, etc.
  7. Monitor condition of permanent galleries.  Consult with staff on logistics of gallery changes and gallery maintenance
  8. Conduct research on exhibitions through the study of catalogues and reference materials and through travel to other venues.
  9. Serve as acting department head in absence of Director of Design and Installation.
  10. Represent the Museum with a high level of integrity and professionalism.
  11. Adhere to Museum policies and support management decisions in a positive, professional manner.
  12. Participates in and collaborates on special projects including but not limited to, emergency procedures, building renovations, and long-range planning.


  1. Bachelor’s degree in interior, theater, graphic, or industrial design; or equivalent experience.
  2. Proficient in the use of design software such as Vectorworks, SketchUp or AutoCAD
  3. Five years exhibition design and management experience in a fine arts museum.
  4. Two years of experience in a supervisory position preferred.
  5. Valid Washington state driver’s license.
  6. Ability to be both creative and practical in order to plan innovative and attractive exhibits that can be constructed in accordance with established budget and technical limitations.
  7. Knowledge of basic art handling, conservation and art security requirements.
  8. Excellent written and oral communication skills; ability to effectively communicate visual ideas.
  9. Organizational ability with strong management and supervisory skills.
  10. Ability to assess priorities and work well under pressure; excellent time management, problem-solving, and analytical skills.
  11. Ability to work with close attention to detail and to maintain confidentiality of sensitive information.
  12. Proficiency in the areas of design of space, lighting technology, art handling, drafting, carpentry, use of power and hand tools and heavy equipment, and metal and plastic fabrication.
  13. Ability to work with the public, architects, vendors, and co-workers professionally and tactfully.

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