Exhibit Designers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Exhibit designers, like the majority of museum professionals, need diverse educational backgrounds to perform well in their jobs. Designers must develop their creative and artistic skills and master mathematics courses. At the high school level, you should take courses in English, history, science, art, and foreign language. These courses will give you general background knowledge you can use to define educational components of exhibitions. Solid geometry, algebra, advanced math, and physics are essential courses for future designers. Exhibit plans must be drawn to scale (often using the metric system) and measurements must be precise. Computer skills are equally necessary as many designers use computer-aided design programs when planning exhibits. Finally, courses in studio art and drawing will introduce you to the hands-on nature of exhibit work.

Postsecondary Training

Some postsecondary training, including college-level math, art, and design courses, is necessary, and most museums expect candidates for the position of exhibit designer to hold a bachelor's degree in set design or scenic design. Designers are at a greater advantage to be hired by a museum or similar institution if they specialize in a design-related subject and continue further study in the museum's specialty, such as art, history, or science. As part of their education, exhibit designers typically complete an internship at a museum or a related institution.

Those who desire a director position in a museum's design department should consider earning an advanced degree.

Other Education or Training

Continuing education (CE) opportunities are offered by professional associations at the national, regional, and local levels. For example, the New England Museum Association offers continuing education workshops such as The Joys and Challenges of Developing Exhibits in Teams, LAUGH: No Joke: Making the Most of Your Internship or Volunteer Position Tablets, QR Codes and Apps...Oh My! Digital Technology and Museums, and Weapons of Mass Display: An Arsenal of Ideas for the Safe Display of Artifacts. Contact organizations in your area to learn more about potential CE opportunities.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There is no certification or licensing available for exhibit designers.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Students should obtain as much experience as possible by participating in summer internships and part-time jobs at museums and related institutions.

Designing exhibits is mentally challenging and can be physically demanding. Exhibit designers should be artistic, creative, and knowledgeable about preparing safe display environments that accommodate valuable and fragile objects. Those who create electronic exhibitions should have strong computer skills and be willing to constantly learn about new technology throughout their careers. Excellent communication skills are essential. Exhibit designers must be able to clearly express their ideas to both museum staff members who collaborate on exhibit projects and to visitors through the display medium.