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Exhibits Fabricator

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Department Role

The Fabricator works with the exhibits team and outside consultants to plan and execute the fabrication of both new exhibits and fixes and improvements to exhibiting NYSCI exhibits. This fabricator focuses primarily, but not exclusively, on carpentry, physical and mechanical fabrication, sharing specialized knowledge of materials and design options that will contribute to creative, innovative, and durable solutions to exhibit design challenges. The fabricator 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 support the ongoing development and maintenance of the exhibit floor. This position reports to the Director of Fabrication and is part of a ten-person Exhibits team within the larger Research, Exhibits and Programs department of NYSCI.

The fabricator will also be an active participant in 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 this role are fabrication of exhibit components, maintenance and iteration of existing exhibits and contributing to pilot testing and prototyping of new exhibits. Each of these is expanded on, below.

Exhibit Fabrication:

Most exhibit fabrication will be done in-house or in collaboration with outside consultants and vendors who provide specialized skill sets or materials. Fabricators contribute to the design and specification of exhibit elements as well as executing all stages of fabrication and documentation.

  • Provide design feedback in conjunction with the Director of Fabrication for in house and out of house exhibit projects
  • Fabricate exhibit components as assigned using carpentry and digital fabrication; especially the projects based on wood, plastic and mechanical fabrication. In-house fabrication in addition to coordination with outside vendors.
  • Identify materials and techniques for exhibit fabrication in consultation with the Director of Fabrication and the rest of the exhibits team, especially those focused on building with wood and plastics.
  • Finish and paint exhibit components.
  • Fabricate exhibit prototypes and proof-of-concepts to test materials, fabrication techniques, UX and visitor understanding and use of exhibit pieces.
  • Create documentation for how exhibits are fabricated, their components and how they are to be maintained and repaired for exhibit recordkeeping.
  • Participate in all team meetings to establish fabrication constraints and techniques for given projects. Provide feedback that influences design from a fabrication perspective.
  • Create shop drawings for built items. This is done in conversation and collaboration with the Director of Fabrication and Exhibit Designers.
  • Create documentation for how exhibits are fabricated, their components and how they are to be maintained and repaired for exhibit recordkeeping.
  • Assist in estimating materials needed for projects. Produce budget estimates in collaboration with the Director of Fabrication.

Exhibit Maintenance and Iteration:

Exhibit Maintenance and iteration is an ongoing process that involves input from all members of the exhibits team. Solutions are collectively and iteratively designed by team members representing Exhibit Design Development, Fabrication, and Ops and Programs. Fixes for chronic issues will typically be fabricated by members of the Exhibit Fabrication team.

  • Observe exhibit maintenance issues in situ to help inform experience-focused solutions to such issues.
  • Participate in identifying, scoping, researching and designing solutions to chronic exhibit maintenance problems.
  • Fabricate solutions to chronic exhibit maintenance problems. .
  • Work with the Exhibit Operations team and Shop Director to help see where improvements to chronic issues can be identified.
  • Help maintain tools and shop equipment. Help to regularly clean shop and service tools.
  • Follow and help establish safety procedures and training guidelines.
  • Offer regular training sessions for staff of other departments who need to work in the exhibit shop.

Exhibit Pilot Testing and Prototyping:

The NYSCI Exhibits process uses pilot testing and prototyping to identify exhibit concepts that visitors find interesting and that spark conversation and interaction that helps learners discover what they are on the verge of understanding.

  • Collaborate with Exhibit Experience Design Development team to identify exhibit values and concepts we want to test with visitors
  • Build pilot tests out of "quick and dirty" materials (cardboard, wood, plastics, hacked off-the-shelf components) to test exhibits with visitors
  • Observe visitors and offer feedback and iteration ideas based on observations in collaboration with the Exhibit Experience Design Development team.
  • Build prototype exhibits (with wood, metal, plastics, electronics, software as needed) to identify materials and fabrication processes to improve durability and interface of exhibits.
  • Iterate pilot tests and prototypes as needed
  • Sketch and document design of pilots and prototypes as needed, particularly in focus on building techniques, UX and how exhibit components work and wear.
Principal Responsibilities

Materials/ Tools/Techniques:

  • Skills fabricating with wood, metal and plastics, electronics, electro-mechanical repair.
  • Skills with medium-grade finish carpentry, laminates and materials finishing.
  • Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture of exhibits– and when to use them.
  • Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of exhibits, buildings, or other structures.
  • Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Knowledge and experience producing materials and budget estimates.

Design thinking, Communicating and Collaborating:

  • Bringing a design-thinking perspective to fabrication, pilot testing and prototyping.
  • Commitment to creating engaging, accessible, inclusive hands-on exhibit experiences.
  • Understanding NYSCI’s mission, to nurture passionate learners, critical thinkers, and active citizens through an approach called Design, Make, Play, and participating in the process of translating that mission into the design of NYSCI's exhibits. Design, Make, Play in exhibits translates to free-choice, user focused, user-driven, inclusive and accessible play environments that foster collaboration, creative risk taking, wonder, curiosity, delight and visitor agency.
  • Drawing on an existing passion and knowledge about the use of exhibits to support creative, engaged learning to identify potential solutions to exhibit design challenges.
  • Drawing on past experience developing innovative and novel content for informal learning settings to inform potential solutions to exhibit design challenges.
  • Drawing on strong communications skills to express ideas clearly in written, oral and visual communications.
  • Listening actively to what others are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate.
  • Experience developing or supporting innovative and novel content for informal learning settings is a plus.
  • Experience considering the needs and interests of diverse audiences of children is a plus.
Supervisory Responsibilities

None at this time. This position could potentially include supervision of interns or Explainers (part-time, high school and college-aged NYSCI employees) as we develop an Explainer-based shop-skills fellowship.


This position requires expertise with exhibit fabrication, experience with exhibit design and carpentry, 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 or fabrication, trade school degree, apprenticeship or relevant experience.

Preferred Qualification(s):
A science center, natural history museum, or children’s museum background is preferred but not required.

Relevant Experience and Skills

A minimum of three to five years’ experience contributing to the design, fabrication or maintenance of physical, interactive experiences. Other relevant knowledge and skills include the following:

  • Commitment to creating engaging, accessible, inclusive hands-on exhibit experiences.
  • Commitment to the philosophy and mission of the New York Hall of Science.
  • Experience as a collaborator in the design and the fabrication of interactive science exhibits.
  • Demonstrated commitment to taking a visitor-centered approach to exhibit development and design.
  • Demonstrable experience working with teams of museum designers, educators, researchers and fabricators with the ability to contribute to 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.

Customer Service

  • 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.

Commensurate with education, skills and experience; includes an excellent NYSCI benefits package.

Anticipated salary range: $60,000 to $68,000

Organizational Background

Since its founding at the 1964 – 65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people — children, teachers and families — by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development programs, and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs and products,
all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design, Make, Play. The defining characteristics of Design, Make, Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 80 full time and over 60 part time staff.

How to Apply

Please send cover letter and resume to 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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