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, 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 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

Departmental Role
NYSCI’s Research, Exhibits, and Programs (REP) department includes almost 50 informal STEM educators, researchers, and exhibit, program and curriculum designers and developers. We embrace and benefit from the professional and personal diversity of our team’s expertise, perspectives, and experiences. The group works in a variety of configurations to develop and implement creative, participatory learning experiences that awaken the curiosity of children, families, and teachers. The REP department team aspires to be a learning community that values openness, curiosity, and an entrepreneurial spirit. We strive to create an informed environment through internal communications and participation in external networks of partners and collaborators.

We are seeking an exhibit designer to design human centered museum exhibitions that empower visitors of all ages to recognize and develop their agency in the world through STEM education. As a designer you will be part of a very collaborative team that is working to refresh and rebuild NYSCI exhibits over the next year while NYSCI remains closed to the public in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exhibit designer will join the creative exhibits team, and work closely with colleagues from other departments visitors and Explainers (floor staff) to redesign many of NYSCI’s exhibit offerings over the next year. The designer will participate in and contribute to an open and inclusive exhibition process that is both highly aspirational in its goals and committed to operational excellence.

Function
● Work with a creative team to design inclusive and inspiring STEM museum exhibits for visitors of all ages.
● Create visualizations of exhibit ideas (sketching, modeling (in 3D with cardboard) as well as in CAD)
● Work with cross-departmental teams to design exhibits that work for ALL stakeholders in the museum. (Visitor Services, Marketing + Comms, Research, Scientists, Maintenance, Education, Custodial, etc.)
● Work with visitors, community members, experts, advisors and Explainers (floor staff) to co-create exhibit experiences
● Work with the Exhibits Shop to help determine how to build exhibits.
● Work with the Exhibit Prototyper and the R&D Department to test and iterate exhibit ideas and learn from and with visitors.
● Use human centered design in all the design decisions in all design decisions to create an inclusive, welcoming learning environment in the museum.
● Work with the Exhibits team to redevelop much of the museum floor to help it meet NYSCI’s mission: to nurture generations of passionate learners, critical thinkers, and active citizens through an approach we call Design Make Play.
● Work with Marketing and Visitor Services to help craft exhibitions that will drive visitorship and support revenue generation along with meeting our mission.
● Explore new technology (digital and analog) to create interactive exhibit experiences.
● Work with the Pilot Tester to build pilots and prototypes of exhibit ideas to test with visitors.
● Help to make the process of creating exhibits accessible to the rest of the museum by using transparent processes and building productive cross-departmental collaborations.

Responsibilities:
Concept and Schematic Phases
● Sketch exhibit ideas.
● Collaboratively generate Exhibit ideas.
● Build cardboard pilot tests and other representations of ideas to test ideas without audiences.
● Help our co-creation partners learn about sharing ideas in a collaborative design process.
Design Development and Construction Documentation Phases
● Work with team to refine exhibit elements
● Create CAD Drawings of exhibit elements
● Create basic renderings of over-all exhibitions for proposals and grants.
● Work with Exhibit Prototyper and Exhibits Shop to develop and test prototype exhibits with audiences.
● Help our co-creation partners learn about steps and skills involved in the exhibit design process.
● Learn from and with our team, our colleagues and our visitors to craft an exhibit experience that works for our audiences.
● Work with the rest of Exhibits team to make the designs buildable within our means (value engineering, working with Exhibit Shop to refine processes and materials.)
Fabrication Phase
● Work with Exhibits Shop or external fabricators to answer fabrication questions and refine designs through process.

Qualifications:
4+ years of experience in exhibition design, exhibit shop work, product design. Work in informal learning research or facilitation in an informal setting is a plus. Ability to contribute to the fabrication of prototypes is required. Knowledge of coding, building, and electronics is desirable.

A BA in design (or equivalent experience) in engineering, art, craft/ manufacturing, sculpture, product design, industrial design, museum studies, or a related field is required.

Knowledge & Experience:
● Commitment to the philosophy and mission of the New York Hall of Science
● Familiarity with best practices in exhibition design and development for interactive science centers.
● Must have strong skills in CAD (we generally use SketchUp but are adaptable), Creative Suite.
● Hand sketching skills
● Experience working directly with museum visitors is a plus.
● Knowledge of fabrication techniques (wood, metal, some electronics) is a must, experience with fabrication is a plus.
● Familiarity with digital and traditional fabrication techniques, materials and adhesives is a plus.
● Knowledge and experience working on creative teams particularly on collaborative design teams is a plus.
● Strong communications skills with the ability to express ideas clearly both in written and oral communications.

Compensation:
Between $60,000 and $65,000 commensurate with experience, including an excellent NYSCI benefits package.

Time Commitment:
Full time. This is a one-year contract with opportunity for extension, pending funding.

Application deadline:
August 10, 2020.

Targeted start date: September 2020.

Email to: jobs@nysci.org. Please include the job title in the subject line.

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. If there are preparations we can make to help ensure you have a comfortable and positive interview experience, please let us know.