Generally a museum/gallery exhibitions officer is responsible for planning, developing, organising, marketing, administering, producing, buying and maintaining individual permanent or travelling exhibitions.
This project management role is also assumed temporarily based on the circumstances.
The actual work is influenced by the setting/environment. In larger museums and galleries, exhibitions officers may be specialists working alongside a team of curatorial, educational and marketing professionals. In smaller galleries and museums, the role may include direct involvement in a wide variety of activities, including fulfilling a curatorial role.
Specific tasks for an exhibition officer may include:
- event organisation and operations;
- public relations (PR) and marketing;
- production of publications.
Depending on the setting, typical work activities may include:
- planning programmes of special and permanent exhibitions, according to visitor needs, alongside the curator;
- sourcing exhibits;
- writing draft proposals;
- researching artists and selecting work;
- securing loans for exhibitions from chosen artists;
- working with curators to plan a long-term strategy for exhibitions;
- fundraising for projects;
- coordinating liaisons between subject specialists and designers;
- creating and monitoring production and installation schedules for exhibitions;
- ensuring installation deadlines are met;
- drawing up and managing exhibition budgets;
- negotiating and agreeing conditions of loans with lenders;
- arranging transport, insurance and security;
- assisting with installation, including the packing, loading, hanging and framing of exhibits;
- working with other staff on the promotion and interpretation of exhibitions;
- writing or commenting on story boards and labels;
- contributing to programmes of events which aim to encourage broader audiences, including educational events;
- involvement in media work such as talking to art critics;
- assisting with the production and launch of publicity material and displays;
- creating web-based information and resources;
- coordinating the production of exhibition catalogues and related publications;
- contributing to museum/gallery development, especially in the area of visitor services.
Exhibition officers mostly liaison with both internal and external staff and departments, including: technical staff; artists; curators; contractors; conservators; departments such as education, finance, marketing and PR; and the museum shop.
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