Director Exhibit Fabrication
NYSCI is New York City's science center, a place where everyone is invited to explore how STEM shapes our world, and how we can use scientific tools and ideas to answer questions and solve problems. Visitors pose questions, design solutions, explore phenomena, and work together to make amazing things happen.
Located in Queens, one of the most diverse counties in the U.S., NYSCI welcomes 400,000 visitors annually – families, students on field trips, and camp and after school groups. NYSCI also works with thousands of teachers each year to make classroom science more relevant, exciting and meaningful to students, and we conduct innovative research about how science learning happens through everyday experiences.
Our exhibitions, programs and products are informed by a strategy of engagement we call Design, Make, Play. Its defining characteristics — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement and, importantly, delight —inspire passionate STEM learners.
The Director manages both internal and external fabrication of new exhibits and the maintenance of existing exhibits. The Director also works with peers and colleagues across the exhibits team to align design goals and fabrication requirements, to consider visitor priorities and needs, and to set direction for the ongoing development and maintenance of the exhibit floor. The Director supervises several members of the exhibits staff who have a range of technical and creative responsibilities. This position is one of two Director-level positions within the Exhibits team. The Director will work closely with the Director of Exhibit Development and the head of the Exhibits team.
The Director will also work with colleagues from other departments to design and fabricate exhibits and interactives for short-term or small-scale events and interventions on the museum floor. This will require knowledge of design processes and an ability to collaborate with non-expert peers to define and scope small-scale design and fabrication jobs.
The Director will also prioritize and contribute to the Exhibits team's ongoing investigation of visitor needs, interest and behavior. NYSCI is fundamentally an institution that supports learning, and all of our work is a sustained investigation of how best to support our highly diverse audience as they explore science and engineering concepts and practices. Observing, talking with, and learning from visitors is a core professional practice for this position.
The primary functions for the Director of Exhibits Fabrication are project management, leading exhibit fabrication, contributing to exhibit design, and learning from visitors. Each of these is expanded on below.
The Director will also be a strong leader, manager, and collaborator who is able to:
- Take NYSCI's mission into consideration in all aspects of their work, seeking to support visitors as active learners.
- Address issues of diversity, equity, access and inclusion internally by cultivating and advancing the skills and experiences of supervisees, prioritizing the creation of a diverse team that is confident sharing different perspectives, areas of expertise and professional experience.
- Address issues of diversity, equity, access and inclusion externally by advocating for exhibit accessibility and maintaining an open and curious stance about the experiences and needs of all learners and museum visitors.
- Advocate for operational management of NYSCI's physical plant that is visitor-centered and aligned with the values and priorities of the exhibits team.
- Manage timelines and budgets for fabrication projects.
- Coordinate work among shop staff, project managers and head of the exhibits team to create, maintain and communicate fabrication schedules.
- Coordinate installations with Facilities team.
- Maintain positive relationships with cross-departmental teams.
- Coordinate fabrication with external vendors as needed.
- Work with the head of the Exhibits team to set and maintain production standards for safety and accessibility.
- Oversee physical maintenance and inventory of the exhibits shop.
- Oversee team’s participation in maintenance of NYSCI’s exhibit offerings
- Set and monitor safety, scheduling and maintenance standards to ensure a safe, open and collaborative environment for all relevant staff.
- Understand and be able to supervise building with metal, wood, plastics, AV, and electronics.
- Assign fabrication tasks to staff and monitor quality and timeliness of execution.
- Ensure building techniques used are appropriate for high touch, family audiences.
- Estimate, communicate and manage to timelines for fabrication, fixes, and routine maintenance.
- Coordinate communication among shop staff and designers to determine fabrication techniques.
- Support maintenance of existing exhibitions through design and fabrication of solutions for chronic maintenance issues.
- Work with experience designers and developers to ensure that designs are buildable, dependable, and maintainable.
- Manage execution of exhibit fabrication.
- Give design input and manage prototyping during exhibit design phases
- Lead design for small or pop-up projects like events, exhibit iteration, and artist installations.
- Design and implement long-term improvements to resolve chronic exhibit repair issues and improve overall maintenance routines.
- In collaboration with the head of the Exhibits team, use observations and prototype testing to inform exhibit design and fabrication decisions.
- Establish and maintain routines for gathering input from colleagues about exhibits that need to be iterated, fixed or maintained.
The director will supervise 2-4 staff members, providing structure for ongoing work processes, providing regular performance feedback, and conducting annual performance reviews.
This position requires operational expertise, experience with exhibit design and fabrication, a willingness to collaborate with team members and other departments, and the ability to engage with and contribute to a vision of educational and creative excellence for NYSCI’s exhibition spaces.
Education: A BA or BS in a field relevant to design and fabrication or museum studies is desirable but not required.
Relevant Experience and Skills
A minimum of six to eight years’ experience contributing to the design, fabrication and maintenance of museum exhibits. Some supervisory and budget management experience. Other relevant knowledge and skills include the following:
- Commitment to the philosophy and mission of the New York Hall of Science.
- Experience as a collaborator or lead in the design and the fabrication of interactive science exhibits.
- Demonstrated commitment to taking a visitor-centered approach to exhibit development and design.
- Ability to plan and organize the activities of others.
- Ability to get ideas accepted and to guide a group or individual to accomplish complex, multistage tasks.
- Demonstrable experience working with teams of museum designers, educators, researchers and fabricators with the ability to harness team creativity.
- Strong communications skills with the ability to express ideas.
- Knowledge of and interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
- Experience serving diverse audiences.
- Evenings/Weekends: Ability and willingness to participate in events outside the workday schedule, including evenings and weekends.
- Ability to communicate effectively with persons outside the organization, represent the organization to customers, the public and other external audiences, through writing, telephone or in-person.
- Ability to actively listen to what others are saying, take time to understand points being made, ask questions as appropriate and be a responsive, reflective participant in complex discussions.
- Ability to provide up to date information to supervisors, co-workers, and other internal personnel.
A science center, natural history museum, or children’s museum background is preferred but not required.
Commensurate with education, skills and experience; includes an excellent NYSCI benefits package.
Anticipated salary range: $75,000 to $80,000.
NYSCI strives to be an inclusive and equitable place to work. We work to foster diverse voices and perspectives, empower staff as problem solvers, and support professional growth for all.
The New York Hall of Science also offers generous benefits and perks for all regular full-time employees. These currently include:
- Health, dental and vision insurance options
- Flexible spending accounts for healthcare, dependent care and commuter benefits
- Pension plan and 401k plan
- Free life insurance coverage
- Paid vacation and sick leave
- 13 paid holidays off
- Flexible work schedules
- Employee Assistance Program
- Free onsite parking
How To Apply
Please send cover letter, and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include job title in subject line. No phone calls.
The New York Hall of Science is an equal opportunity employer committed to fostering an inclusive and innovative environment with the best employees. We provide employment opportunities without regard to age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, military service, marital status or any other protected status in accordance with applicable law. We support a drug-free workplace.
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