Exhibitions Project Manager » Design Museum, London

The museum is seeking two Exhibition Project Managers to manage the delivery of our influential and engaging programme of high profile exhibitions. This is an exciting time to join the exhibitions team in our spectacular new home in Kensington.

In November 2016, the Design Museum opened the doors to our spectacular new home in Kensington. The new museum opening has been an outstanding success. By the end of the third week, the museum and its exhibitions attracted more than 86,000 visitors. An opportunity to join the exhibitions team has opened up at this exciting time in the museum’s history, to project manage the delivery of high profile exhibitions.

The Exhibitions Project Manager works alongside the curatorial and design teams ensuring the production and installation of every element of the exhibition is successfully delivered, to museum standards, audience access, on time and to budget. They are responsible for monitoring exhibition budgets, line managing the Exhibitions Coordinator and relevant Volunteers and providing support to the Exhibitions Team as and when required. 

This role will suit an individual with previous project management experience in coordinating and delivering museum exhibitions, including proven track record of working with design teams and contractors bringing a display to life. The role will require an individual with a great sense of independence, yet being able to lead a wide range of stakeholders through the project. 

The museum is recruiting two Exhibitions Project Managers. 

Job description

Production & administration

  • In collaboration with Curators, internal and external partners, coordinate the smooth delivery of exhibitions ensuring that clear schedules are disseminated and adhered to by all parties. 
  • Chair internal Project Team Meetings and ensure that exhibitions develop according to the exhibitions timeline and budget. 
  • Provide timely and efficient coordination between the Exhibitions Department and the wider museum, ensuring that exhibition information is clearly communicated. 
  • Work closely with the Learning Department and Curators, making sure that the Interpretation Plan for each exhibition is carefully followed. 
  • Oversee the development of 2D and 3D elements of exhibitions, making sure that Health and Safety and access requirements are met. 
  • Manage tendering processes and, with the support of the Senior Project Manager, deliver contractual agreements between the Design Museum and service providers, including guest curators, designers and build contractors. 
  • Oversee the coordination of loan agreements, object transport and insurance arrangements. 
  • Manage the selection of contractors for exhibitions, factoring in suitability and cost efficiency for the project. Encourage sustainability wherever possible, recycling materials and re-using DM kit where appropriate. 
  • Line manage the Exhibitions team members including Coordinators and Gallery Technicians as directed, offering support and guidance, carrying out annual performance reviews.

Installation & de-rig

  • Plan and manage installation and de-rig periods, leading the Technical Team and overseeing all activities on site, including condition reporting. 
  • Circulate detailed planning schedules for installations and de-rig to relevant parties, including curators and external contractors, ensuring that DM staff are informed of plans well ahead of time. 
  • Complete risk assessments and ensure that all manual handling and COSHH assessments are completed and disseminated and that PPE is issued and worn by the technical team. 
  • Work alongside Senior Gallery Technician to ensure on-site teams are thoroughly briefed each day with regards tasks and exhibition activity. 
  • Oversee the relationship with on-site contractors, facilitating communication with the Senior Gallery Technician. 
  • Work alongside the Exhibitions Coordinator and Senior Gallery Technician to ensure museum kit and storage spaces are well maintained.


  • Maintain meticulous budget records and work with the Finance Department as required to ensure budget administration is carefully managed. 
  • Report budget activity to the Senior Project Manager and Head of Exhibitions. 
  • Demonstrate financial awareness and strive to make the museum a financial success making savings where possible and for exhibitions to be delivered on budget. 


  • Throughout the development of all exhibitions, be mindful of their touring potential, advising on how they could be made suitable for touring during design development. 
  • Work closely with the Touring team to ensure that documentation related to touring such as loans, design drawings and object lists are meticulously prepared for touring purposes. Wherever appropriate, incorporate touring exhibition requirements in to all contracts. 
  • As required, assist with the project management of touring exhibitions.

Knowledge and experience

The successful candidate will be an expert communicator with solid experience of delivering museum exhibitions on time and within budget. They will have a collaborative working style and should be able to develop excellent working relationships with colleagues across the museum as well as key external contacts. They must be able to demonstrate the following skills and qualities: 

  • Previous experience in the gallery and museums sector, managing complex exhibition projects from concept to completion. 
  • Demonstrable project management skills with the ability to manage several projects concurrently, maintaining a flexible approach when working under pressure. 
  • Excellent knowledge of museum practice related to the management of objects, loans and transport arrangements. Experience of tendering processes and ability to negotiate contracts with external contractors and service providers. 
  • A practical approach to exhibition delivery with the ability to communicate with build contractors, AV and lighting technicians with a good understanding of digital media available in exhibition displays. 
  • Good leadership and people management skills; able to lead and motivate teams during exhibition installation and de-rig. 
  • Numerate and literate together with excellent organisational and time management abilities. Confident when prioritising workloads and focusing when presented with conflicting tasks. 
  • Experience of how to tour exhibitions nationally and internationally with an understanding of why touring exhibitions is valuable for the museum. 
  • An understanding of interpretational tools in museums with a commitment to delivering exhibitions that is accessible to diverse audiences. 
  • Previous experience of line-managing staff. 
  • A degree in History of Art and Design or in Museum Studies is desirable.

About the Design Museum

The Design Museum is building the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary design in every form from furniture to graphics, and architecture to industrial design. For the Design Museum, design is a continually evolving subject which it explores through its exhibitions programme, permanent collection, learning and research activities. It is a way to understand the world and how you can change it. The museum’s mission is to create the most engaging, exciting and inspiring design museum in the world. 

Thirty-five years ago, Terence Conran established the forerunner of the Design Museum, the Boilerhouse, in the basement of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. As planned, the Boilerhouse quickly outgrew the V&A and in 1989 it moved on to become the Design Museum, in an architecturally striking transformation of a Thameside warehouse near Tower Bridge. Since then it has emerged as an institution with international status and significance, playing an important role in putting design and architecture on the cultural agenda. 

The museum recently relocated from its home in Shad Thames to the landmark 1960s building in Kensington, West London. Leading designer John Pawson has converted the interior of the building creating the museum’s new home, giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions, showcase its world class collection and extend its learning programmes. 

Our mission, vision and values

Our vision
We want everyone to understand the value of design 

Our mission
To create the most inspiring, exciting and engaging Design Museum in the world 

Our values

  • Welcoming everyone to the museum and making them feel it’s a place for them
  • Collaborative engaging with many partners to bring our vision to life
  • Enterprising working hard to make the museum a financial success and build a strong commercial reputation
  • Provocative challenging people to look and think afresh about design 


The museum offers many benefits including access to a defined contribution pension scheme, season ticket loan, childcare voucher scheme, cycle to work scheme, free entry for friends and family to the museum, a variety of staff discounts including the museum shop and restaurant and free entry to a wide number of galleries and museums in London. 

Design Museum

United Kingdom

Job Type:
40 hours per week

Up to £30,000 per annum, dependent on experience

25 days per annum, plus 8 days bank holiday

23 Jan 2017, 9.00am

Resume, cover letter, Applicant Information Form.

Due to the high volume of applications the museum receives we are unable to provide a response to applications on an individual basis. If you do not receive a response from us within two weeks of the closing date then you can assume that you have not been successful on this occasion. 

The Design Museum is an equal opportunities employer and positively encourages applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity.