Museum Designer & Preparator – McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville


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Museum Designer & Preparator

The Museum Designer and Preparator, reporting to the Coordinator of Exhibitions and Physical Experiences, is responsible for supporting the museum’s mission through design, preparation, and installation of exhibitions, collections installations, and building projects. In coordination with members of the Exhibition and Physical Experiences Team (EPE) and other staff and collaborators, the Museum Designer and Preparator will produce graphics and drawings for museum project components accounting for available space, visitor experience, object and visitor safety, project budget and timeline, and institutional mission and quality standards.


60%, Design and Preparation

  1. Works with the Coordinator of Exhibitions and Physical Experiences (EPE), curators, educators, and others to organize objects and interpretive elements into exciting and engaging exhibition plans suitable for public display.
  2. Designs and constructs object mounts, museum furniture, interpretive materials and museum graphics, and other related exhibition elements. Arranges for framing as needed.
  3. Generates scaled computer renderings, as well as models, prototypes, design drawings, and mockups, to communicate design concepts (including museum furniture, object layouts, materials/paint colors, floor treatments) for exhibitions and projects.
  4. Installs, and supervises installation, of objects for museum exhibitions and collections installations utilizing museum best practices.
  5. Handles, prepares, and transports art and museum objects as needed.

25%, Project Management

  1. Manages budget expenditures for the assigned area. Works with the Coordinator of EPE in budget planning for other areas, ensuring elements are completed on schedule, on scope, and within budget.
  2. Oversees and evaluates external vendors and contractors as needed in direct consultation with the Coordinator of EPE, providing clear budgets, deliverables, and schedules as needed.
  3. Attends and participates in project-based meetings and ongoing communication between relevant parties, as needed.
  4. Archives final exhibition drawings, installation views, and other relevant materials.

15%, Operational Duties

  1. Provides general maintenance and monitors the condition of exhibitions and physical installations, in consultation with the Coordinator of EPE.
  2. Oversees the use, inventory, and maintenance of the OSHA-compliant museum workshop, and maintains all workshop tools, machinery, and materials.
  3. Keeps track of inventories and orders supplies as needed.
  4. Other duties as assigned.


  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, collaboratively, and effectively with others under pressure amidst shifting priorities, managing time, staying organized, and meeting deadlines effectively.
  • Knowledge of museum exhibit design and best practices, construction, carpentry, and finish work.
  • Ability to manipulate heavy and/or large objects and to climb ladders.
  • Proficient skill in 3D (3 Dimensional) modeling tools such as Google Sketchup (preferred), AutoCAD, or other or other industry accepted software as well as Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Knowledge of museum standards for handling, installing, and packing museum objects and art.
  • Ability to safely use power tools, specialized equipment, and/or heavy machinery.
  • Ability to determine labor, equipment, and material costs on projects.
  • Ability to work occasional nights and weekends.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Knowledge of video editing software for exhibition audiovisual elements.
  • Knowledge of lighting design.
  • Knowledge of the principles and benefits of Universal Design.
  • Knowledge of object mount-making, lighting, soldering, and audiovisual equipment.

Required Experience

Bachelor’s Degree and minimum 3 years of experience working in a similar position at a museum, gallery, or other similar cultural institution.

Preferred Experience

Five years of relevant experience in a museum, gallery, or similar cultural organization. Additional 2-D graphics, environmental graphics, interactive media, or wayfinding design experience is preferred.

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