Detroit Zoological Society
  • Education
  • Royal Oak, MI, USA
  • Salary
  • Full-time

Full medical, dental, vision benefits, 401k match, generous PTO policy

The Exhibit Design Manager, under general supervision, advances the Detroit Zoological Society's mission and vision by creating experiential environments for public audiences. He/She will collaborate with cross-departmental and external teams to develop concepts and frameworks for exhibits, educational displays, graphics, signs and related projects. The Manager will plan and oversee new exhibit projects, develop and manage a budget, and coordinate with education and other staff on maintaining existing exhibits, graphics and signs throughout the Zoo. He/She will work closely with the Evaluation Specialist to conduct formative, summative and impact evaluation and audience perception on current and new exhibits, graphics and signs.

The Exhibit Design Specialist will support, both publicly and privately, the principles of the Detroit Zoological Society. He/She will support and enhance a clean, safe, enjoyable, and educational experience at the Detroit Zoological facilities by actively engaging in the enforcement of Customer Service Standards, and specifically by knowing and understanding the Detroit Zoological Society's "SCOPE" of service, animal care, community relations and park appearance guidelines; by enforcing safety and security policies, and following all other policies set by the organization. The Exhibit Design Specialist will maintain a professional manner when dealing with all constituencies and always preserve a high level of integrity, professionalism and confidentiality.

This job description is by no means all-inclusive and may be subject to change during a performance period due to the needs of the Detroit Zoological Society and its leadership. This document will be reviewed on a continual basis and will be modified as needed.

Authority and Accountability

The Exhibit Design Manager has the authority to carry out the job requirements and responsibilities and is accountable to the Chief Program Officer.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop a vision for exhibit design, signage and graphic projects that align with the Zoo's mission and core values.
  • Develop a style guide that establish the foundation for decisions that lead to effective messaging and design choices and reflect Zoo's mission
  • Develop an operating plan, budget, revenue and expenditures for exhibit design projects, generate specifications, and cost estimates for design elements.
  • Identify, hire and manage contract employees to support and supplement skills sets not on Zoo staff.
  • Provide leadership and professional development opportunities to staff.
  • Recruit, train and supervise volunteer staff that support the exhibit design process.
  • Participate in interpretive exhibit planning meetings.
  • Motivates, teaches, encourages and creates a collaborative and creative learning environment.
  • Shares research and findings through Zoo internal communication, reports to funders, journal articles and presentations at regional and national meetings and conferences.
  • Remains current with trends and best practices of engaging audiences through exhibits in formal and informal learning environments through conferences, literature, professional development and networking with other professionals.
  • Effective at engaging with diverse stakeholders.
  • Works proactively to problem-solve with Zoo staff, committees and volunteers through emails, meetings and phone; creates and shares reports; acts as a liaison among staff, volunteers and professional colleagues in the informal education community.
  • Other specific duties and responsibilities may be assigned based upon departmental needs.

Working Conditions

 Work is performed indoors in a typical office environment and frequently outdoors, with exposure to all seasonal weather conditions. Frequent exposure to the public by guiding and speaking to small and large groups.

Physical Requirements

Able to perform essential functions which typically involve seeing well enough to read standard text, often on video display monitors; speaking, lecturing and giving clear instructions; standing or walking to guide small and large groups. Must be able to lift and carry up to 20 pounds. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities


  • Passion for advancing the Detroit Zoological Society's mission.
  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited university in exhibit, architectural, industrial design, museum studies, drafting, spatial design, graphic design or other related field.
  • Proven ability in designing effective interactive exhibit spaces for visitors/guests.
  • Provide all Detroit Zoo staff with knowledge and skills to understand exhibit design processes and importance through inclusive project strategies, technical assistance, reporting strategies and direct trainings.
  • Produces renderings and other materials for use in project visualizations and presentations. Prototypes interpretive elements and signage with guests, collecting data to guide revisions.
  • At least two years of professional experience in non-formal/formal environmental or science education in a zoo/museum/related setting.
  • Experience leading and coordinating team projects.
  • Portfolio of past and current projects directly related to interpretive exhibits, signage and or related content.
  • Knowledgeable of relevant accessible design standards.
  • Exceptional communication, interpersonal and team facilitation skills.
  • Ability to function and provide leadership in a multi-task environment, both independently and in a team.
  • Proficient use of computer software for word processing, information searching and retrieval, data analysis and communication.
  • Demonstrated leadership involvement in industry organizations preferred (e.g. Association of Zoos and Aquariums, American Alliance of Museums, Visitor Studies Association, National Association of Interpretation, Association of Science and Technology Centers).


  • Knowledge of Michigan's Core Curriculum and the Grade Level Content Expectations a plus.
Detroit Zoological Society
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