Director of Design and Installation


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Application Deadline: 
January 20, 2017

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OVERVIEW: Provides oversight to the Department of Design and Installation.  This position is responsible for designing dynamic and engaging installations for special exhibitions and for the permanent collection, and for executing their installation and dismantling.  Working collaboratively with cross-departmental teams, develops environments and elements that meet the highest design standards with both creativity and practicality. 

STATUS: Exempt       REPORTS TO: Director of Museum Services and Chief Registrar


  1. Supervises Department of Design and Installation and serves as head of Division in the absence of the Director of Museum Services.
  1. Ensures transformation of curatorial/artistic concepts into practical aspects of exhibition design and installation.  Conducts research on exhibitions through the study of catalogues, artist interviews, reference materials and through travel to other venues.  Creates installation elements, such as exhibition layout, lighting design, casework requirements, and exhibition signage with departmental staff.  Participates in the exhibition planning process with appropriate personnel. Serves as project lead for complicated or high-profile exhibitions.  Works to ensure the safe, professional handling of works of art and the fulfillment of SAM's obligations to outside parties.
  1. Manages the work of Design and Installation staff in installation of works of art.  Develops work schedules to meet deadlines and to fulfill objectives for both the permanent collection and loans to/from SAM.  Reviews and approves work.  Determines production schedules based on SAM priorities.  Ensures through scheduling that exhibitions open on time, and that other deadlines are met, utilizing the available resources.
  1. Prepares and monitors Department's operating, exhibitions and special projects budgets.
  1. Coordinates activities of Design and Installation staff in conjunction with curators, conservators, registrars, A/V, graphic design, outside contractors, riggers, and other SAM personnel involved in special exhibitions or installation projects.  Works with Director of Museum Services and Chief Registrar to produce approved contracts for art installation services.  Selects vendors and monitors the quality of the art installation service provided.
  1. Directs purchase of supplies, materials, and services required to implement exhibitions and maintain galleries.  Initiates and maintains vendor contacts and competitive bidding system.
  1. Administers personnel procedures in the Department including hiring, preparing position descriptions, assessing staff needs, assigning tasks within the Department, recommendations for promotion, approval of annual leave, training, work assignments, performance evaluations, and disciplinary actions.
  1. Directs long-range planning for the Department and represents the Department in museum-wide long-range planning including but not limited to working with Facilities, outside consultants, conservators, and appropriate curators in the planning and design of facilities for new and/or renovation projects.
  1. Represent the Museum with a high level of integrity and professionalism.
  1. Adhere to Museum policies and support management decisions in a positive, professional manner.
  1. Participates in, collaborates on, and/or supervises special projects.


  1. Five years’ experience in a museum supervisory and managerial position, preferably fine art.
  2. Five years exhibition design experience, preferably fine art.
  3. Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, Design, or Exhibition Design, or other relevant design discipline required; post graduate work preferred. 
  4. Knowledge of best practices in exhibition design. Proficient knowledge of standard construction techniques, museum casework design, lighting technology, and art handling.
  5. Knowledge of basic art conservation and security design requirements.
  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. Demonstrated success with project management and budgeting.
  8. Proficiency with computer-aided design programs AutoCAD and/or Revit; knowledge of modeling software (Rhino, Sketch Up, etc.) and Adobe Design Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.). Knowledge of MS Office required; knowledge of TMS and SharePoint a plus.
  9. Ability to assess priorities and work well under pressure; excellent time management, problem-solving, and analytical skills.
  10. Excellent interpersonal, communication, supervisory and teamwork skills.
  11. Ability to effectively communicate visual ideas; excellent written and oral communication skills.
  12. Ability to work with the public, architects, vendors, and co-workers professionally and tactfully.


How to apply: 

The Seattle Art Museum will consider reasonable accommodations for those applicants with disabilities who may need a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions/duties.    Please contact the Human Resources Department for additional information.

Seattle Art Museum is committed to diversity and inclusion.  Qualified individuals who bring diverse perspectives to the workplace are especially encouraged to apply.

Please visit for specific instructions on how to submit SAM employment application, cover letter and resume.  Deadline: January 20, 2017


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