Exhibit Designer

Organization: John G. Shedd Aquarium (AZA Member)
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Shedd Aquarium is seeking a Exhibit Designer passionate about animals and committed to Shedd’s mission and culture! Are you creative, outgoing and organized? You could coordinate and integrate exhibits, animal habitats, graphics, media and other three dimensional concepts into mission-based, audience-centered experiences. We are all learners, teachers, and connections to our collections. Whatever the position, we do it with a sense of stewardship, quality, integrity and respect.

This position works closely with the Director of Exhibits to design, coordinate and integrate exhibits, animal habitats, graphics, media and other three dimensional concepts into mission-based, audience-centered experiences. Works on overall physical needs of a space from initial concept development to the final product and remediations. Provides vision and guidance to interdisciplinary teams, and maintains a consistent guest-centered, accessible approach. Projects can range from small, offsite installations to upgrades of existing exhibits to long-range planning and design for major capital projects to inspire guests of all ages and abilities.


• Demonstrate leadership in accordance with Shedd’s mission and values.

• Spearhead design development and research, including exhibit architecture, interactive experiences, 3-D exhibit elements and interiors from conceptual stage through final drawings.

• Work closely with the exhibit developer, graphic designer and exhibits team throughout the process, integrating diverse perspectives into effective design strategies

• Offer creative vision for projects, taking into account the various diverse needs of audiences and internal stakeholders.

• Prepare conceptual sketches, preliminary drawings, computer renderings, and design and construction drawings for various audiences. Ability to rapidly visualize team and own concepts preferred.

• Design infrastructures that support habitat life support systems for animals and plants, in close collaboration with Animal Care, Animal Health, Horticulture and Facilities departments.

• Review working drawings submitted for construction and fabrication.

• Supervise outside contractors, designers and horticulturist in the progress and implementation of specific projects, including oversight of quality and accuracy of work, and monitoring schedules.

• Manage own work schedule in coordination with multiple project schedules.

• For smaller projects, manage project schedule from conception through implementation, in coordination with Director.

• Train and supervise interns, other exhibit designers and volunteers involved in exhibit design projects.

• Inspect installed exhibit for conformance to specifications and satisfactory operation. Provide creative solutions for remediation when possible.

• Design other three dimensional projects, furniture and signs such as information booths, hardware for banners and interactives.

• Other duties as assigned, including participation on interdisciplinary teams and initiatives.


Minimum – B.S. or B.A. in exhibit design, architecture, industrial design, furniture design, set design, or

equivalent experience.


Three to five years experience minimum in design for exhibitions or similar environments; two years management experience preferred.

• Proven experience across all phases of the design process, including conceptualization, design development and CDs

• Strong knowledge of materials, fabrication techniques and construction processes, with attention to durability and functionality.

• Knowledge of graphic production

• Knowledge and understanding of principles of universal design, and experience designing with ADA minimums.

• Demonstrated ability to work in teams and provide leadership and design vision.

Additional Knowledge/Skills:

In-depth knowledge and proficiency in a design software package, such as:

• Auto CAD

• Vectorworks

• Adobe Creative suite, etc.

• Basic proficiency in Project and Excel preferred.

Please submit resume, cover letter and portfolio to: jobs@sheddaquarium.org