Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (Smithsonian Institution)
New York, NY
United States
Museums/Hist. Societies
Position Level
Experienced (Non-Manager)
Education Requirement
4-Year Degree
Position Type
Full Time Temporary
Application Deadline
Assistant Exhibitions Project Specialist
Reports to the Head of Exhibitions
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (Smithsonian Institution)
(New York, NY)
2 East 91st Street, NY, NY 10128

ABOUT COOPER-HEWITT, NATIONAL DESIGN MUSEUM (SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION): Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (CHNDM), located on Museum Mile in New York City, is the only museum in the nation dedicated exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Its collection is international in scope and encompasses over 217,000 objects representing 30 centuries of design, from Egypt’s Late Period/New Kingdom (1100 BC) to the present. The Museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions, publications and online initiatives. About the renovation: The museum’s main facility, housed in the Carnegie Mansion, is undergoing renovation as part of a $89 million capital campaign that includes enlarged and enhanced facilities for exhibitions, collections display, education programming and the National Design Library, and an increased endowment. During the renovation, Cooper-Hewitt’s usual schedule of exhibitions, education programs and events will be staged at various off-site locations. The renovated facility is scheduled to reopen in fall of 2014.


As Assistant Exhibitions Project Specialist, s/he reports to the Head of the Exhibitions and works closely with the Production Manager and other staff throughout the Museum. S/he works in all phases of the exhibition design planning process, helps to ensure a smooth and successful integration of the installation design, to identify any potential problems that may occur, and to clearly communicate problems/solutions to the Head of Exhibitions.

Assistant Exhibition Program Management

• Responsible for the administration and planning of designs for small exhibitions, from development through installation, planned out in 6 month, one, or two to three year intervals.
• Assists or creates production and installation budgets for small exhibitions and special installations, including identifying ways to reduce costs and make exhibitions more cost-effective. Advises team members and Head of Exhibitions on how to contain exhibition production budgets.
• Communicates to staff and external designers schedules, deadlines and the effect of delays on delivery by using Basecamp (or an equivalent web based project project management/collaboration tool).
• Works with the Head of Exhibitions to provide input on the master exhibition calendar for assigned exhibitions with the Curatorial Director and Head of Registrar.
• Manages assigned exhibition projects to ensure that the preservation of a historic Carnegie mansion is accounted for in exhibition planning.
• Works closely with curatorial, registrar, education, publications, conservation and other departments to produce contracts, schedules, budgets, and processes for effective exhibition development and implementation.
• Communicates in a timely manner with all assigned exhibition partners at the museum, including keeping Head of Exhibitions, Operations and Special Events staff informed of all assigned exhibitions and special installations that might impact their plans/events.
• Contributes to museum-wide planning efforts and other initiatives as requested by the Head of Exhibitions.

Installation of Exhibits

• Assists or works with Head of Exhibitions, exhibition designers and fabricators to facilitate the design and installation of exhibits.
• Serves as contract representative for small scale exhibitions. Writes specifications for work to be performed, oversees the contractor’s performance, and ensures contracts meet SI requirements.
• May also maintain exhibits once they are installed in the museum .
• Assists and ensures that assigned small scale exhibitions meet Smithsonian’s review and approval process (SD-410) by complying with standards and regulations.

• Creates, tracks and implements purchasing for exhibition-related projects such as vitrines, lighting, security.
• Provides on-site support to Head of Exhibitions and Production manager during installations.
• Coordinates and manages exhibition design documents and their storage. Maintains project files involving exhibition activity.
• Works as a team member on special inter-departmental projects and may be requested to set up meetings.

• Knowledge of exhibition development and management in a museum setting and project management methodologies.
• Skill in preparing museum exhibition project schedules.
• Basic knowledge of decorative arts and/or design.
• Excellent writing skills in order to draft reports and develop schedules with the Head of Exhibitions.
• Ability to use computers (Mac and/or PC) for emailing, word processing, spreadsheets/reports and database management.
• Excellent verbal communication skills and ability to facilitate work with multiple teams both inside and out the Museum.
• In person or via the phone (or email) to ensure staff, contractors and exhibitions designers are well informed on exhibition administrative issues.
• Knowledge of administrative management procedures to organize tasks, schedules, priorities, and set up meetings. Ability to serve as a contract representative on small contracts.
• Ability to maintain ownership and initiative of all exhibition tasks and administrative assignments to ensure deadlines or met or exceeded and in keeping all stakeholders informed as necessary.

SALARY: $44,000


TIAA-CREF (Tax Deferred & Defined Contributions)
Life Insurance
Health Insurance
Flexible Spending Accounts
Free Commuter Benefits
Annual Leave
Sick Leave
Federal Holidays
Family Friendly Leave
Family Friendly Workplace
Historic and landmark offices and garden
92Y Fitness Center
Employee Discounts
Free Entrance to Museums and Galleries (New York)
National Design Library
Employee Assistance Program

*Temporary position that may be extended on a yearly basis depending on funding/performance.

Application Instructions
Submit cover letter and resume (addressing qualification requirements) to

Application Deadline: Tuesday, 4 March 2014