Exhibit Designer

    • Baltimore, MD

National Aquarium seeks a talented exhibit designer to design, develop, engineer and manage the construction of new “world class” exhibits and guest experiences. We are looking for a champion of 3D design to join our exhibit development team and contribute during all stages of the design process: conceptual and schematic design, prototyping, design development, bidding, fabrication, and installation.

As a strong exhibit designer, you will promote attractive, innovative and functional displays which maintain and strengthen existing NAIB design vernacular and conservation messages. You will capitalize on opportunities to define aesthetics and ambiance with lighting, material, color, form, and other design elements and determining most effective methods of human interaction, accuracy in message portrayal, functionality regarding staff and guest needs, including ADA requirements. You will be familiar with and use variety of fabrication materials, interpretation methods, and processes to most effectively produce amazing exhibits.

Essential Functions:

  • Design, develop, engineer and manage the construction of new displays with a very diverse array of applications and objectives. Work with design director, exhibit developers, graphic designers, living exhibit fabricators, and leadership to:
    • Develop the experience and information flow of new exhibitions, campus wayfinding and unique environmental opportunities for impactful guest engagement.
    • As critical member of the exhibit team, exhibit designer develops exhibit designs in concert with content development and helps determine best methods of interpreting NAIB messages.
    • Create a deliberate look and feel with lighting, color, form, graphics, materials, and design elements that brings our voice to life in a manner that is captivating of large audiences large and small.
    • Brings energy for collaboration in creative brainstorming, specifically with regard to research and development phases of concepting, storytelling, moodboarding, and storyboarding.
    • Communicate design intent through written descriptions, models, thumbnail sketches, hand or computer renderings, design details, floor plans, elevations, and sections. Be comfortable and confident working in 2D and 3D design environments.
    • Develop concept drawings to illustrate exhibit ideas and highly detailed construction drawings needed for exhibit fabrication team and outside fabricators to create components for new exhibits.
    • Lead prototyping effort for exhibit components. Collaborate with in-house fabrication, AV, visual productions, and outside fabricators to craft prototypes that advance designs forward.
    • Apply creative problem solving to unique exhibit interactive and multimedia projects.
    • Ability to communicate creative concepts to stakeholders and executive leadership in an eloquent and professional manner, articulating creative rationale clearly and effectively.
    • Encourages exploration of ideas big and small, iteration of execution styles, and participation in creative brainstorms.
    • Commitment to continuous improvement initiatives and ability to solve problems creatively.
    • Open to rapid iteration and short-term problem solving as well as long-term vision development.
    • Passion for design all its forms – from the smallest product to the largest space.
    • Develop a practical and intuitive understanding of NAIB design “vocabulary” and brand with the goal on insuring that all visible new additions to the institution (whether on or off-site) uphold and strengthen a tasteful and functional interpretation of design standards.
    • Ensure that the underlying goal of new exhibit development is to create transforming experiences for NAIB guests.
  • Project Management: work within an interdisciplinary team environment to develop exhibits from conceptual stages through to construction documentation, and beyond.
    • Develop professional design bid packages with sufficient detail for cost estimating purposes.
    • Ensure efficient coordination, timely completion, and excellent quality of assigned projects.
    • Develop concise action plans, timelines, and project deadlines.
    • Manage budget requirements.
    • Supervise construction and installation.
    • Coordinate outside vendors for procurement, manufacturing, or installation of exhibit components; coordinate in-house fabrication with Aquarium staff and subcontractors to complete assigned projects.
    • Adjust routine schedule to accommodate occasional early a.m. or late p.m. projects when necessary.
  • Research best sources, quality, and prices for exhibit components and supplies.
    • Use Internet searches, catalogs and periodicals.
    • Attend trade shows or conferences, and deal directly with colleagues or product representatives.
    • Develop and maintain clear notes and vendor records.
    • Stay abreast of changing industry exhibit standards. Research or learn from colleagues. Pursue new technique development.
    • Develop functional background knowledge of relevant life support and husbandry issues as relevant to exhibit habitat design.

  • Knowledge of 3D design and demonstrable technical skills with design software such as Vectorworks, CAD, or SketchUp, and Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Proven knowledge of layout principles and aesthetic design concepts.
  • Working knowledge of fabrication/build and installation processes, including architecture, fixtures, and ADA requirements.
  • Deliberate, flexible, and dynamic in practice.
  • Strong written, oral, and presentation skills.

  • Bachelor’ Degree in Design
  • 5+ years of experience in exhibit design, design detailing, and/or environmental and graphic design.
  • Passion for nature and marine life preferred.

  • Include a cover letter to be considered for the position.
  • Portfolio required. Online preferred.

The National Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.


Recently named one of Baltimore’s Best Places to Work, the National Aquarium opened in 1981 as a nonprofit aquatic education and conservation organization, the jewel of the city’s Inner Harbor redevelopment. SmartCEO Magazine honored the National Aquarium with the Healthiest Workplace award and the Corporate Culture award in 2016. With a mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, the Aquarium is consistently ranked one of the nation’s two top aquariums and has hosted over 51 million guests since opening.

Today, the National Aquarium builds on a 38-year history of local, regional and global conservation initiatives that provide real solutions for protecting marine life, ecosystems and aquatic communities. Its Animal Rescue team has rescued, rehabilitated and released hundreds of marine mammals and endangered sea turtles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Its Animal Welfare and Science teams participate in important research efforts to confront pressing ocean conservation issues and advocate for smarter policies at local, state and federal levels. Through education, research, conservation action and advocacy, the National Aquarium is pursuing a vision to change the way humanity cares for our ocean planet.


Interested and engaged applicants should apply through our website http://aqua.org/jobs. Requests for reasonable accommodation can be made by e-mailing HR@aqua.org.

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