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Obama Foundation
Chicago, Illinois, United States (on-site)
10 hours ago


Purpose of the Role

As a member of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) Museum team, the Exhibitions Designer, will report to the Director of Exhibitions Production and support the exhibition development, production, architectural coordination, installation, and remediation processes. Under limited supervision, you will work with key stakeholders, including internal staff, external project teams, and consultants, to ensure that all exhibitions and interpretive elements are produced at a high level of quality and seamlessly integrated with the museum base building. 

During this critical phase of building the OPC Museum and developing the inaugural exhibitions, you will bring a strong design sensibility to support the entire exhibition development and production process. You will participate and/or manage key aspects of exhibition fabrication procurement processes, including but not limited to architectural/exhibition coordination, bid documentation and specifications review, design drawing documentation, and installation. You will need to effectively communicate with external project management, architecture, exhibition design, exhibition fabrication, inclusive design, installation, construction teams, and other stakeholders as needed.

Initially, you will focus on technical design management, coordinating the physical exhibition design structures and elements for the inaugural exhibitions and select interpretive elements across the OPC campus. You will be the primary in-house designer and will develop designs for temporary exhibitions and collection rotations and/or manage and collaborate with external design partners when required. You may also work collaboratively with the OPC experience design team on select interpretive elements across the campus and will support efforts that require 3D renderings and drawings. As the OPC team continues to grow, you will manage design-related roles as needed.

Core Job Responsibilities

Technical Design Management

  • Lead specific design processes and coordinate with external consultants, including the exhibition fabricator, to support the exhibition design, fabrication, and installation processes for the OPC Museum’s inaugural permanent exhibitions, and temporary exhibitions. May also participate in processes associated with interpretive elements outside the core galleries and across the campus.
  • Take a lead role in architectural, exhibition, construction coordination, ensuring that the Museum team’s requirements (exhibitions, collections, curatorial, media) are met. Understand the museum base building conditions and exhibition typicals as they relate to mechanical, engineering, and structural capacities, security, fire protection, HVAC, lighting, ceiling and floor components. 
  • Manage graphic production; support the management of fabrication, installation, and punch list processes; and lead prototyping efforts.
  • Support design and fabrication partners in prototyping and production efforts.
  • Participate in and coordinate key elements of the internal and external reviews processes during the fabrication documentation, pre-fabrication, fabrication & installation (e.g. RFIs, specifications, case design, material schedules, and construction) phases.

Design Development

  • Serve as the lead exhibitions designer for temporary, special exhibitions, and gallery rotations–coordinating and collaborating with other internal or external designers as needed. Develop design strategies that align with project schedules and budgets, evaluating and proposing alternatives as necessary to help solve budget or technical challenges. 
  • Create detailed design packages throughout the exhibition development process, resulting in fabrication bid packages and as builts.
  • Generate design documents, presentation materials, maquettes, renderings, architectural models, mock-ups,  and graphic elevations; manage shop drawing reviews and visit fabrication facilities to ensure design intent is represented.
  • Participate in the overall OPC’s experience design strategy process, which covers topics such as wayfinding, donor signage, and reviews of other designed spaces on campus.
  • Advocate for accessibility and inclusive design needs, coordinating with relevant consultants and building knowledge of  physical accessibility needs and practices; ensure that inclusive design affordances are accounted for in the exhibition design.

Contract Administration

  • Participate in the exhibitions procurement processes, including research to ensure best in class vendor for our projects, administrative support in the creation and oversight for bid package documents, development of RFPs, SOWs, amendments, and coordination of vendor selection, contracting, and onboarding. For key vendors, develop SOWs and function as primary liaison with external/contract design partners  as needed.

Communications and Presentations

  • Develop and create internal and external memoranda and prepare presentations and briefings on exhibition-related topics to effectively communicate design ideas throughout the exhibition development lifecycle.
  • Support and participate in the planning, designing, and execution of any pre-public opening activation events and programs to highlight the work of the OPC including roadshows, community engagement working groups or events, and other activities as needed.


  • Manage all design documents and maintain organized files for project records and distribution to team members. Integrate  organizational systems, standards, and best practices into design solutions to ensure consistency and efficiency.
  • Support the onboarding and coordination of key external partners, including the Exhibitions Fabricator and Exhibitions AV Integrator.

Perform other duties as assigned.

Key Deliverables / Outcomes

  • Develop communication protocols with external exhibit designers, exhibition fabricator, architecture and engineering teams, and internal BOF stakeholders.
  • Garner full comprehension of the exhibition design, base building, and campus plans for the Obama Presidential Center and develop the ability to represent plans to stakeholders.
  • Lead key reviews, including design layouts, graphic identity, design documentation, architectural coordination, and specifications; facilitate reviews with other stakeholders as needed.
  • Develop as needed exhibition-related drawing, renderings, and models including case layouts, future gallery planning, etc.
  • Participate in various working groups across the OPC and Foundation teams including the teams working on exhibition rotation planning, experience design strategies, and inclusive design efforts within the museum and across the Foundation.


  • Track record of professional experience in 3D exhibition and/or structural design and  complex projects, preferably in a museum or cultural institution, with an understanding of industry best practices, including artifact display and conservation requirements.
  • Experience creating, reading, and interpreting technical drawings, specifications, and architectural and construction plans with the ability to translate technical concepts and drawings for a general audience.
  • Strong analytical, planning, and organizational skills with an ability to manage competing priorities.
  • Advanced knowledge of AutoCAD and/or Vectorworks  and other architectural drawing programs (e.g. Sketchup) and fluency with a range of SaaS programs, including Google Suite, Microsoft Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, Asana, Slack, Zoom.
  • Exceptional communications skills, both written and verbal.
  • Willingness and ability to travel and work extended and/or unusual hours as necessary to accommodate prototyping and testing, exhibition installation schedules, foundation-related trips, and other operational requirements.

The salary range for this role is between $96,750  and $161,250.

Don’t check off every box in the requirements listed above? Please apply anyway! Studies have shown that marginalized communities - such as women, LGBTQ+ and people of color - are less likely to apply to jobs unless they meet every single qualification. The Obama Foundation is dedicated to building an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible workplace that fosters a sense of belonging – so if you’re excited about this role but your past experience doesn’t align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to still consider submitting an application. You may be just the right candidate for this role or another one of our openings!

In the interest of employee health and safety during the pendency of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Obama Foundation is requiring that all prospective employees present proof that they are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19, or seek a reasonable accommodation for religious or medical reasons, prior to their first day of employment.

Job Information

  • Job ID: 68602748
  • Workplace Type: On-Site
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Company Name For Job: Obama Foundation
  • Position Title: Exhibitions Designer
  • Job Function: Exhibitions
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Job Duration: Indefinite
  • Salary: $96,750.00 - $161,250.00 (Yearly Salary)

Please refer to the company's website or job descriptions to learn more about them.

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