Open Date: February 21, 2024
Closing Date: March 20, 024
Position Type: Trust Fund
Appointment Type: Temporary Not to Exceed One (1) Year
Schedule: Full Time
Duty Location: New York, NY
Workplace Type: Hybrid
Compensation: $70,448 – $91,581 / year
Reporting To: Head of Exhibitions
Position sensitivity and risk: Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Open to all qualified applicants

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What are Trust Fund Positions?
Trust Fund positions are unique to the Smithsonian. They are paid for from a variety of sources, including the Smithsonian endowment, revenue from our business activities, donations, grants and contracts. Trust employees are not part of the civil service, nor does trust fund employment lead to Federal status. The salary ranges for trust positions are generally the same as for federal positions and in many cases trust and federal employees work side by side. Trust employees have their own benefit program and may include Health, Dental & Vision Insurance, Life Insurance, Transit/Commuter Benefits, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance, Annual and Sick Leave, Family Friendly Leave, 403b Retirement Plan, Discounts for Smithsonian Memberships, Museum Stores and Restaurants, Credit Union, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (Child Care), Flexible Spending Account (Health & Dependent Care).

Conditions of Employment

  • Pass Pre-employment Background Check and Subsequent Background Investigation for position designated as low risk.
  • Complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer.
  • The position is open to all candidates eligible to work in the United States. Proof of eligibility to work in U.S. is not required to apply.


The Exhibition Department organizes, leads, and coordinates exhibit projects ranging in size and complexity from a single case, mount, graphic, or display to multi-million-dollar installations encompassing thousands of square feet of exhibit space. Each project is comprised of a multidisciplinary team. Team members can be internal or external to Cooper Hewitt. Stakeholders often have varying areas of expertise, perspectives, concerns, and interests. The purpose of the position is responsible for ensuring that assigned projects are completed to the necessary standards, on time, within budget, and within resource constraints. The Exhibitions Project Manager reports directly to the Head of Exhibitions.

Duties and Responsibilities

Exhibition Projects
Responsible for the coordinating and facilitation of project teams and supporting Cooper Hewitt departments through a number of stages: planning, programming, and budget development; exhibition schedules and cost estimates; assembling Cooper Hewitt exhibition teams; procurement of a wide variety of services, supplies, materials, and intellectual property (potentially including design and construction contracts); contracting outside vendors for AV systems design and multimedia production and installation; exhibit lighting design, installation, and final focus; final digital artwork; and installation support.

Serves as the point of contact for internal staff and exhibition design teams. Acts as the main keeper of project information and ensures that all stakeholders are informed about all relevant information. Works with various departments (Registrar, Conservation, Curatorial, Operations, etc.), and other internal or external stakeholders to negotiate and establish scope, schedules, and budgets. Defines and outlines the scope of work, including a schedule of milestones and deliverables, assumptions, and exclusions. Develops project costs and milestones in conjunction with Head of Exhibitions.

Works with Head of Exhibitions to ensure that projects are on time, within budget, and completed to the stated project goals. Schedules and conducts meetings, such as milestone and progress meetings, in order to communicate project issues, monitor work, and shepherd progress. Ensures that team members are aware of the project schedule and works with supervisors to ensure that all team members are held accountable for their respective tasks.

Facilitates the identification and resolution of project-related issues – both among staff and contractors – using diplomacy, tact, and professionalism. Schedules, facilitates, and documents project debriefings as necessary. Ensures that key project files are archived according to established protocols. Participates and often leads weekly projects meeting. Suggests approaches to projects and solutions to potential problems.

Monitors and tracks expenditures; issues change orders as appropriate and adjusts the project schedule and budget as necessary. Negotiates, awards, and monitors contracts. Writes Requests for Quotes (RFQs) and Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in collaboration with stakeholders.

Qualification Requirements

  • Knowledge of and skill in project planning (i.e. functions, concepts, tools, etc.) and program management sufficient to sustain execution and management of a diverse range of program and project objectives.
  • Knowledge and skill to select and apply systems to analyze risk, monitor progress, troubleshoot problems, and craft solutions to keep the project on time, within scope, and quality of the exhibition and other digital assets over a multi-year timeframe.
  • Knowledge and skill in applying policies and procedures of the functional and administrative areas such as contracting and/or procurement, budget, information management, etc. in order to coordinate and resolve questions/problems.
  • Knowledge and skill to analyze facts, identify problems, report findings, make conclusions, and recommend corrective or other appropriate action.
  • Skill to develop and maintain effective working relationships sufficient to manage various teams members through the process, negotiate administrative support, report on status, and negotiate resources.
  • Skill in oral communication to make effective oral presentations.
  • Skill in written communication sufficient to prepare effective written presentations, reports, analysis papers, and communication materials.
  • Knowledge of and skill in construction, design drawings, and space preparation including emerging green initiatives from concept through installation, maintenance, and/or takedown.

Applicants, who wish to qualify based on education completed outside the United States, must be deemed equivalent to higher education programs of U.S. Institutions by an organization that specializes in the interpretation of foreign educational credentials. This documentation is the responsibility of the applicant and should be included as part of your application package.

Any false statement in your application may result in your application being rejected and may also result in termination after employment begins.

The Smithsonian Institution values and seeks a diverse workforce. Join us in “Inspiring Generations through Knowledge and Discovery.”

Resumes should include a description of your paid and non-paid work experience that is related to this job; starting and ending dates of job (month and year); and average number of hours worked per week.

What To Expect Next: Once the vacancy announcement closes, a review of your resume will be compared against the qualification and experience requirements related to this job. After review of applicant resumes is complete, qualified candidates will be referred to the hiring manager.

Relocation expenses are not paid.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Smithsonian Institution provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation should contact Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. To learn more, please review the Smithsonian’s Accommodation Procedures.

The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We believe that a workforce comprising a variety of educational, cultural, and experiential backgrounds support and enhance our daily work life and contribute to the richness of our exhibitions and programs. See Smithsonian EEO program information:

About Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historical and contemporary design and is the steward of one of the most diverse and comprehensive design collections in existence – more than 215,000 design objects spanning 30 centuries. From ancient textiles and works on paper to icons of modern design and cutting-edge technologies, Cooper Hewitt’s collection serves as inspiration for creative work of all kinds and tells the story of design’s paramount importance in improving our world. Cooper Hewitt’s mission is to educate, inspire, and empower people through design.

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