Lead Exhibit Designer

Website The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village

The Henry Ford is a nonprofit organization, an internationally recognized cultural destination, and a one-of-a-kind workplace. Our team is inspired daily by one another as well as the authentic stories of innovation that we share across our four venues. We want you to be part of this legacy and take it forward.

The Experience Design team works as a collaborative studio to create impactful, memorable, and best in-class exhibition experiences to support the institution’s vision and mission. The Lead Exhibition Designer is responsible for leading design of temporary and permanent in-house exhibition projects of all sizes for all institutional venues. This individual works at every stage of exhibition creation and in close collaboration with many institutional departments and external partners.

A perfect fit for this position will be an individual who is innovative in approach while committed to creating authentic, memorable, and exciting experiences, with a demonstrated ability leading the creation of story based exhibitions from concept to installation. Experience in the blending of technology and physical components to create unique interaction opportunities is important. A curious and inquisitive personality is beneficial. A professional with experience designing exhibits for use by children would be ideal.


Essential Responsibilities

  • Participates in the story development and conceptual design of new and revised exhibits that bring together innovative guest experiences, the synthesis of historical content and contemporary stories, interpretive best-practices, and engaging exhibit design techniques.
  • Creates programmatic and space planning solutions that support the physical exhibition’s objectives, docent use, and other identified needs.
  • Leads design effort of projects from concept through design development. Prepares design intent and ready-to-bid drawing packages. Works with outside vendors to ensure exhibitions are fabricated, produced, and installed according to design intent.
  • Ensures designs are supportive of learning and guest experience objectives and supportive of institutional educational priorities.
  • Works with Experience Design leadership and other institutional stakeholders to define project scopes, budgets, and timelines.
  • Works cross-functionally with institutional departments to make recommendations on exhibit fabrication methods that may include print production, audio-visual components, technology solutions, interactives, lighting, and facility modifications.
  • Designs exhibit experiences and components that meet internal and select external conservation, accessibility, guest comfort and safety, maintenance, cleaning, and programmatic use requirements.
    Creates necessary deliverables that clearly communicate experience planning, design intent, look and feel, materials and their use, interface and coordination of exhibit components, and suggested fabrication techniques through a variety of formats including concept sketches, architectural plans, elevations, sections, diagrams, and other renderings.
  • Presents ideas visually and verbally to internal stakeholders, external partners, and vendors.
  • Revises and modifies designs to fit budgets and maximize opportunities.
  • Pursues solutions for exhibition design, fabrication, and maintenance that meets institutional environmental sustainability goals.
  • Evaluates and collaborates cross-functionally to identify improvements to design solutions in the areas such as guest engagement, maintenance, and programmatic use.
  • Ensures best design practices by staying up to date on industry trends and developing strong working relationships with outside experts, and continuously seeks out and recommends ways to make The Henry Ford’s campus a more engaging and accessible space.
  • Contributes to the effective team management of all problems, issues, and opportunities, including leading and participation in meetings and planning sessions.
  • Responsible for creative work which includes, but is not limited to, publications in any medium, experience and exhibition development and design, and all related collateral materials.

The Experience Design Team works part time in person on The Henry Ford campus and part time remotely. Availability for meetings, in person or virtual, is required during normal business hours, Monday—Friday, 8am-5pm. There is also the potential of occasional travel for project work or training.


Your Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree in a spatial based design related field, certificate, or equivalent work experience is required.
  • Seven or more years of demonstrated success in creating physical/environmental spaces that are built upon storytelling and engagement of users.
  • Familiarity with the concerns, challenges, and evolving industry of museums and similar organizations.
  • Experience successfully discussing, presenting, and creating documents to express the work you’re doing and its results.
  • An understanding of fabrication techniques related to artifact conservation, interactives, object mounting, graphics, and exhibit components.
  • Proficiency in CAD applications such as Vectorworks (preferred) or AutoCAD, SketchUp, and 3D rendering software leveraging a variety of techniques for designing user experiences within physical spaces.
  • General familiarity in Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office.
  • Knowledge of current exhibit fabrication practices, products, and industry standards, with a familiarity of green building materials and the life-cycle costs of exhibits.

Special Skills

  • Able to communicate clearly and effectively in a variety of ways (in person, via phone, email, chat, Zoom or Microsoft Teams, etc.)
  • Able to track multiple projects, meet deadlines, and anticipate future issues of concern.
  • Act proactively, independently, and collaboratively in a team with members who have diverse job responsibilities and backgrounds.
  • A passion for understanding how people interact with the world with a level of empathy and attention to detail.
  • Ability to focus on project details and keep bigger-picture project goals in mind.
  • Enthusiasm for learning new skills, training, and trying new processes to accomplish your work.
  • Experience interacting with others with a high-level of customer service.
  • Must be a critical thinker and quick problem solver.

Compensation range $68,000 – $75,000

PORTFOLIO REQUIRED As part of the application, a portfolio of 5-10 projects is required for consideration. Include projects that demonstrate your most innovative, exciting, and engaging experiences. Projects should highlight your ability to work at different stages of the exhibition design process and include built projects when possible.


It is the policy of The Henry Ford to prohibit discrimination in any employment, donor or volunteering opportunity (including but not limited to recruitment, hire, employment, program participation, promotion, salary, benefits, termination and all other terms and conditions of employment or service as a volunteer) based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, genetic information, pregnancy, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, age, physical/mental disability. Marital/domestic partner status, military and veteran status, height, weight or any other such characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. This Policy applies to all of our employees, donors and volunteers to ensure that they are treated without discrimination.

To apply for this job email your details to jessicaf@thehenryford.org