Vice President of Exhibitions

Job Type

Full Time




886 Cannery Row
United States


Job summary

The Vice President of Exhibitions provides leadership and creative vision in the development of Aquarium exhibitions and other experiences, collaborates on construction projects, and works closely with the Vice President of Guest Experience to ensure guest programs and visitor needs are coordinated into a seamless experience. The goal is to provide superlative on-site visitor experiences that create powerful emotional connections and inspire and support visitors taking action on behalf of ocean conservation. This position is responsible for the overall look and feel of the physical space in the Aquarium to ensure it is on brand.


Core Responsibilities

1) Strategy and Vision

  • Continuously improve exhibitions to provide visitors compelling, interesting and inspiring connections with live animals
  • With other key staff, establish a multi-year Visitor Experience Plan that balances the timing of new, refreshed and remodeled exhibitions to maintain an extraordinary visitor experience
  • Maintain appropriate annual investment in living exhibit investigations, continually refreshing strategy to maximize innovation, align with best exhibit ideas and help tell important ecosystem and conservation stories
  • Stay current on developments and innovations in the exhibit design field and at colleague institutions to ensure MBA exhibitions reflect current best practices and relevant trends


2) Exhibition Management

  • Provide overall direction for exhibit development and design functions, including editorial, digital production and evaluation of interpretive exhibits
  • Continue Monterey Bay Aquarium’s proven approach of upgrading or repairing permanent exhibits and developing special exhibitions; provide and work with colleagues to market at least one new or refreshed major experience every few years


3) Planning and Financial Accountabilities

  • Set and administer annual objectives to advance the MBA’s strategic goals
  • Develop and manage departmental and project budgets
  • Propose budgets that are sufficient to maintain existing Aquarium facility and exhibits infrastructure
  • Annually assess future needs for infrastructure spending using a ten-year planning horizon


4) Staff Management

  • Provide effective leadership of the Exhibition team, maintaining a work environment that fosters creativity, mutual respect and promotes high performing teamwork
  • Facilitate effective cross-department teams and maintain effective relationships with key collaborators, especially staff from the Planning and Construction Department and Guest Experience and Husbandry Divisions.
  • Attract and retain a staff and volunteer workforce that reflect MBA’s institutional commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity
  • Provide learning and enrichment opportunities to build staff competency 


Absolutely Required Skills / Knowledge / Ability / Experience or Education

  • Degree (or equivalent experience) in museum studies, design, interpretation or a related field
  • Proven expertise in exhibition best practices and strategies; advanced knowledge of exhibition design and development processes and audience evaluation
  • Ten or more years of experience leading the creation of large-scale exhibitions
  • Knowledge of exhibition construction and fabrication practices
  • Proven ability to lead, manage and motivate a large, creative staff with diverse responsibilities under constant deadline pressures
  • Demonstrated planning and organizational skills to effectively deal with multiple projects, quality control and shifting priorities
  • Excellent communication and team-building skills
  • Working knowledge of basic office computer software and project management software
  • Ability to present ideas to a variety of internal and public audiences
  • Ability to work within, and maintain MBA’s Core Values
  • Demonstrated commitment to MBA’s Leadership Competencies


Desired Skills / Knowledge / Ability / Experience or Education

  • Innovative, forward thinking and willing to experiment
  • Experience working on exhibitions that include live animals
  • Self-motivated, and values individuals who look within themselves for their motivation and standards of excellence
  • Entrepreneurial with an ability to work independently and achieve results
  • Decisive leader with the ability to maneuver from big picture, strategic thinking to the tactical delivery of program initiatives

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement