The position of Assistant Director for Exhibitions at the Harvard Art Museums presents a unique opportunity for the successful and creative candidate to build on a solid design foundation, exploring new ideas, new methodologies and technologies to execute innovative exhibitions through all phases from concept to completion of art display projects. Reporting to the Director of Collections Management and working in close collaboration with a number of museum departments, the Assistant Director for Exhibitions develops and implements engaging exhibition design solutions to support the curatorial vision for each exhibition or installation. Managing and guiding a staff of design and installation professionals, the Assistant Director leads the department toward the achievement of the museums' goals for art display, design and planning in approximately 43,000 square feet of exhibition space that includes collection galleries, temporary exhibition spaces and public art areas.
Exhibition Design and Installation:
Develops and communicates the global work plan for exhibition installation.
Prepares and presents exhibition designs to both support the curatorial vision and effectively work within the building's unique architecture. Consults with and partners with colleagues across the museums to ensure workable and effective designs and installation plans.
Produces plans for case design and construction, gallery layout, color palette, and lighting for all exhibitions and installations, with special consideration for the installation challenges unique to each project, including lender or conservation requirements, security, construction specifications, access, A/V and other technical needs. Works collaboratively with museum staff on innovative approaches to embedding digital components and new technologies into installations.
Continuously reassesses and refines guidelines for design and installation methods and materials. Solicits and considers relevant feedback from stakeholders.
Leads design development process including organizing and facilitating design meetings and brainstorming sessions.
Deploys tools and innovative technologies, including creation of architectural drawings, elevations, renderings, maquettes and other techniques to visualize design concepts for project staff.
Provides oversight of design and installation changes in the collections galleries, art in public spaces, and temporary exhibitions. Develops digital drawings and working methodologies that illustrate the collection galleries in support of a rethinking of the collection galleries. Works closely with Assistant Director for Exhibitions and Collection Projects to organize and execute plans.
May be called upon to assist with the design of other campus exhibitions and installations..
Works closely with graphic design and other staff colleagues on development and integration of labels and other interpretive materials.
Department management and leadership:
Fosters collaborative relationships among key stakeholders, including Curatorial, Academic & Public Programming, Conservation, Collections Management, Facilities, Security, Visitor Services, Communications and others.
Responsible for creation of a project management system for all exhibitions and related gallery changes including policy and procedures. Identifies and implements digital applications to assist in project tracking, recording and communicating progress of exhibition development.
Manages staff of design and installation professionals who install artwork throughout the museums' buildings and campus locations.
Final responsibility and authority for installation schedules and advising Director of Collections Management in advance of any pinch points.
Member of the Exhibition Scheduling Advisory Committee. Provides advice to guide the placement and schedule of all approved exhibitions.
May be called upon to provide design assistance with changes to museum buildings.
Maintains up-to-date knowledge of trends in field, protocols, and regulations. Develops and implements policy and procedures as appropriate. Assesses and improves upon existing internal practices and procedures to better support the goals of the exhibition program. Ensures timely communication with stakeholders.
Gathers and assesses budget information for exhibition design to ensure milestones are met within budget and timeline.
Oversees external vendors as needed, ensuring quality and consistency of exhibition design guidelines and museum identity for each project.
Serves as hub for exhibition information and synchronizes work between departments.
Effectively communicates museums' exhibition design aesthetic and installation process to faculty, students and other external constituents.
Candidates MUST meet the following basic qualifications in order to be considered for this role. Bachelor's Degree; minimum of 7 years of exhibition design experience, including project management and supervisory experience.
Additional Qualifications and Skills
Master's Degree in relevant field preferred. Demonstrated ability to develop and manage complex projects and design development and to balance conflicting priorities. Proficiency with state-of-the-art imaging tools deployed for design, as well as, Microsoft Office, Google SketchUp, Photoshop tools and Mac platforms. Familiarity with AutoCAD, Revit, Navisworks, Vectorworks, Renderworks, building plans, symbols and terminology preferred. . Demonstrated knowledge of installation and construction techniques, building codes, and electrical requirements, as well as experience with automated dimmable LED lighting. Experience working in a university museum a plus.
Knowledge of art history is preferred. Experience with Basecamp and The Museum System (TMS) tools a plus Excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Ability and willingness to stay abreast of emerging design technologies. Ability to seamlessly blend digital and non-digital experiences in a physical space. Previous art handling experience welcome.
A cover letter and selection of design samples are required with the application.
The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University. With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up to date on CDC-recommended vaccines.
Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.
EEO Statement We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, offering a truly global education. Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.