The Art Institute of Chicago is a world-renowned art museum housing one of the largest permanent collections in the United States. It is encyclopedic in nature with strong holdings across all media, all traditions and all ages.  The Art Institute is particularly recognized for its extraordinary Impressionist, Modern, Contemporary and American collections, among other aspects of its holdings.  In addition to housing its permanent collection, it typically stages 35-40 special exhibitions a year.  In 2014, it was named by Trip Advisor travelers as the number one museum in the world, a remarkable recognition that speaks not only to the quality of the collection but to the entirety of the visitor experience.

The Art Institute welcomes between 1,400,000 and 1,800,000 visitors a year and has a membership of 100,000.  The museum has an annual operating budget of approximately $110 million.

Founded in 1879, the Art Institute grew with the success of Chicago and quickly attained world class stature given the strength of its collection.  The Art Institute has expanded several times in its history, most recently and notably with the opening in 2009 of the 264,000 square foot Modern Wing designed by internationally acclaimed architect Renzo Piano.  The addition has been critically important to the museum as it not only provided much needed gallery space, but also allowed the Art Institute to reorganize its galleries to present the collection in a more logical and accessible fashion.  The new addition also includes one of the largest education facilities at any museum and this center has allowed the Art Institute to expand its already impressive array of offerings.

We are currently seeking a Director of Exhibitions who:


  1. Oversees the installation and de-installation of all exhibitions campus-wide and on occasion off campus, coordinating all phases of planning and implementation by staff, students, and contractors, as well as related and other department programming.
  2. Works with curators and/or others administering the exhibition or project to present a broad range of technical, material, esthetic and logical solutions to installation concerns
  3. Assesses art works to determine appropriate installation gear, crates, mechanical supports, vitrines, pedestals, matts, frames, hardware, or other needs; coordinates the fabrication or purchase of these items as needed
  4. Coordinates cost analyses for exhibition production including contracted services and technical support
  5. Reviews installation plans with IRFM and other SAIC staff for safety and security concerns and city permits
  6. Supervises the construction of temporary display walls and exhibition furniture, installation of all media equipment, lighting of exhibitions, and installation of graphics including signage and labels
  7. Assigns crew; monitors workflow to ensure activity is being performed correctly and effectively
  8. During the run of each exhibition, conducts weekly walk-throughs with curator to monitor needs
  9. Leads critical post-mortem review within 7-10 days of the opening of each exhibition. Makes written assessment and recommendations.


  1. Coordinates exhibition production calendars
  2. Hires, schedules, and supervises preparators and other preparations temporary staff in gallery operations daily, assessing each person on a regular basis after each show.
  3. Coordinates proper training for permanent, temporary, and student staff to meet expectations
  4. Locates, hires, schedules, and supervises contractors as needed
  5. Develops and tracks budgets, managing activity within allotted budget; participates in the billing and accounting duties required to ensure fiscal accountability within the department
  6. Regularly re-examines structure and working methods and recommends and implements changes, remaining up-to-date on institutional safety standards and ensuring these are implemented within the department.
  7. Maintains inventory of all equipment and hardware and coordinates timely purchase of required materials
  8. Determines regular maintenance of the galleries
  9. Performs other duties as assigned

Job Requirements


  • MA, MFA, MArch in studio art, architecture, design, or related field required.
  • Minimum five years’ experience in exhibition planning, preparation and management in a public gallery, museum, or equivalent is required.
  • Two to three years teaching experience at a college level or equivalent practicum program preferred.
  • Thorough knowledge of museum standards for packing, crating, handling, installing, and housing artworks.
  • Thorough knowledge of and hands-on experience with architectural planning and execution, building and construction, and display, lighting, and media.
  • Familiarity with security measures and loss-prevention techniques.
  • Physical abilities to perform the essential functions of the job, including working at elevated heights.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills; aptitude for quick learning, problem solving and teamwork, as well as informed on contemporary issues and artistic concerns.

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce.