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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art: Head of Exhibition Design

Position Summary

The Head of Exhibition Design provides design direction and leadership for all indoor and outdoor installations and exhibitions at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary, ensuring design work is inspiring, surprising, and meets the needs of each project. This includes coordination of resources, project workflow, and review and approvals management. The Head of Exhibition Design collaboratively engages a variety of stakeholders in the design process and explores and implements a variety of methods for design ideation with the aim of engaging colleagues and guests. This role provides supervision, mentoring, and leadership to design staff and interns and delivers outstanding and innovative design work for a portfolio of installation and exhibition projects. The role requires supervisory and managerial experience, substantial design, presentation, and construction experience, considerable diplomacy, and the ability to work collaboratively and effectively with diverse vendors, museum teams, and leadership.

Positions Principal Responsibilities

The Head of Exhibition Design:

  • Oversees the design of exhibitions and installations (in the collection and temporary galleries, on the grounds, and in other museum-related spaces at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary) that engage visitors aesthetically, emotionally, and intellectually, to deliver on the museums mission.

  • Recruits, hires, on-boards, evaluates, mentors, and coaches exhibition design staff and interns.

  • Explores and implements a variety of methods for design ideation.

  • Delivers exhibition designs which fit within the budget and time available for each project, in consultation with project managers. Manages exhibition design expenses and schedules to ensure exhibitions are opened on time and within budget.

  • Oversees all installation and exhibition design projects to ensure safety and functionality, visitor appeal, and a cohesive institutional design aesthetic.

  • Supports the needs of object display and exhibitions by collaborating with teams and sharing design and architecture expertise to inform the design of gallery and interpretive spaces.

  • Develops designs for own portfolio of exhibition projects, as a vital member of exhibition teams.

  • Enhances the curatorial, interpretive, and educational vision for exhibitions through the layout of artworks, including the manipulation of walls, spaces, color, lighting, digital elements, and the thoughtful and innovative integration of interpretive elements, such as in-gallery activities.

  • Uses drawings, models, and renderings to communicate ideas effectively. Collaborates with in-house designers to integrate exhibition graphics and digital elements. Synthesizes design input from multiple sources into a balanced response; able to receive feedback gracefully and professionally and respond to concerns.

  • Ensures proper methods, materials, and display techniques for the presentation of artworks to ensure safety, visual appeal, engagement, and optimal traffic flow.

  • Manages ongoing relationships with contractors, fabricators, and vendors, including obtaining timely estimates. Works with outside architects, artists, and others as requested.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Supports and participates in the museums anti-racist efforts.

  • Is a member of the museums Leadership team.

  • May provide design support to other departments as time allows, and as requested.


Minimum Qualifications

Education, Training, and Traits

  • Bachelors Degree from an accredited college or university in architecture, exhibition design, set design, or a related domain or equivalent work experience is required. Masters Degree is a plus but is not required.

  • Demonstrates knowledge of principles, techniques and best practices of exhibition design; lighting and/or theatrical set design knowledge a plus.

  • Demonstrates an understanding of structural integrity and construction methods and materials and has the desire to stay abreast of trends and innovate in the field.

  • Demonstrates ability to plan, prioritize, schedule, and implement multiple overlapping design projects, and deliver on time and under or on budget.

  • Possesses exemplary design and creative skills.

  • Ability to communicate clearly, persuasively, diplomatically, and professionally in a team setting is required.

  • Ability to give engaging and persuasive design presentations and accept feedback diplomatically is required.

  • Knowledge of the principles and benefits of Universal Design, Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design, and ADA Standards for Accessible Design is strongly preferred. Possesses knowledge of local building codes, or the ability to locate and respond to the relevant information.

  • Portfolio of completed and built exhibition design projects is required.

Work Experience

  • Minimum (4) years of work experience in architecture or a related field and in the design of museum exhibitions, or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience, is required.

  • Minimum (2) two years supervisory and leadership experience is required.

  • Proficiency in CAD, rendering programs, Adobe Creative Suite, and the use of physical models is required.

  • Experience working effectively with a variety of construction and fabrication trades- people is strongly preferred.

Physical Demands and Work Environment:

The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Sitting or leaning while on post will not be permitted.

  • Physical demands: While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to travel independently within and between museum office and spaces, construction sites and grounds. In the work environments described below, position requires verbal and written conversation with others, sitting, moving throughout the museum, trails, and associated buildings, reaching, lifting/moving objects up to 30 pounds, and use of hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls. The position requires the ability to focus and work at a computer for long periods of time, listening, analyzing and summarizing large quantities of information. Vision abilities required by the job include close vision and the ability to discern nuances of color and lighting.

  • Work Environment: Work will be performed in an office environment, interior and exterior museum spaces and grounds, construction sites, some overnight travel may be required. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time. The noise level in the work environment is usually low to moderate. The employee will need to be able to drive to acquire samples, see prototypes, and approve construction.

About Crystal Bridges

The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. We explore the unfolding story of America by actively collecting, exhibiting, interpreting, and preserving outstanding American art. Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 as a non-profit charitable organization by arts patron and chair of the museums board of directors, Alice Walton. Since opening to the public on 11-11-11, the museum has welcomed more than 5 million visitors and garnered 15,000 membership households. Some 280,000 school children have participated in the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit program, which provides educational experiences for school groups at no cost.

Crystal Bridges takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building, designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A series of pavilions nestled around two spring-fed ponds house the galleries and amenities such as a restaurant, museum store designed by architect Marlon Blackwell, and a library featuring more than 50,000 volumes of art reference material. In addition to the museums architecture, a Usonian house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was preserved, acquired, and moved to the museum grounds in 2015, and a rare Buckminster Fullers Flys Eye Dome was installed in 2017, both providing access to American architectural masterworks in a natural setting.

Sculpture and walking trails link the museum’s 120-acre park to downtown Bentonville, Arkansas. A new entrance, elevator tower, and pedestrian bridge was added to the north side of the building in 2017, increasing access to the museums north lawn and newly enhanced North Forest Trail. More than 600,000 visitors a year utilize the museums five miles of walking trails.

Crystal Bridges permanent collection spans five centuries of American artworks from early American to the present, and is always free to view. Crystal Bridges is committed to telling broad and inclusive stories by acquiring and showcasing the highest quality works by artists underrepresented in art history and conventional museum frameworks. Works such as Asher B. Durands Kindred Spirits, Gilbert Stuarts George Washington, and Georgia OKeeffes Jimson Weed are displayed alongside contemporary artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Maya Lin, Fritz Scholder, Jaune Quick-To-See-Smith, Felix Gonzales-Torres, and Amy Sherald represent some of the finest achievements in American art. The collection continues to grow, while the museum also offers temporary exhibitions that complement the collection and can also reveal arts connections to equality and justice.

Crystal Bridges provides year-round programming for all ages. In 2019, more than 800 public programs and events were offered, including lectures, performances, classes, and continuing education for K-12 teachers. Crystal Bridges stays connected online with the full collection available via eMuseum, an award-winning app, a podcast called Museum Way, all available for free, and many of the museums lectures such as the Distinguished Speaker Series are on Crystal Bridges YouTube channel. An online-learning initiative provides opportunities for students and teachers with arts-based courses, as well as SmartHistory with arts history videos and essays. Crystal Bridges also offers two research fellowship programs. The Tyson Scholars in American Art program encourages and supports full-time scholarship that seeks to expand boundaries and traditional categories of investigation into American art and visual culture. The Reese Teacher Fellowship provides for research into the development of interdisciplinary connections between American art and core curriculum subjects of language arts, history, social studies, and the sciences. In addition, Crystal Bridges administers the awarding of the Don Tyson Prize, an unprecedented award recognizing significant achievements in the field of American art. Additional information about Crystal Bridges is available online at CrystalBridges.org.

About the Momentary

The Momentary is a new contemporary art space that opened to the public on February 22, 2020, in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas. A satellite to Crystal Bridges, the Momentary presents visual, performing, and culinary arts. The mission of the Momentary is to champion contemporary arts role in everyday life and explore the unfolding story of contemporary American arts in an international context by actively commissioning and exhibiting outstanding works that explore new ideas and inspire action. The Momentary was founded by the Walton family, based on the vision of Tom, Olivia, and Steuart Walton. The Walton Family Foundation is supporting this project as a way to enhance the quality of life in Northwest Arkansas. The Momentary welcomes all with free general admission. Additional offerings include an artist-in-residence program, culinary experiences including an Onyx Coffee Lab, indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, an outdoor festival space, and a gift store. For more information, visit theMomentary.org. The Momentary is located at 507 SE E Street, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712.

To apply, visit: https://www.paycomonline.net/v4/ats/web.php/jobs/ViewJobDetails?job=34623&clientkey=BC9586F35E70BD74D59EC08D93D8EDD5


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