Design Museum of Chicago

Exhibit Design Director of an upstart museum


The Design Museum of Chicago came to my design studio, Nelson Cash, to be their premier sponsor for their first exhibit. I happily obliged. After I left that studio, I spent time as a volunteer and board member with them.

Once again, I found myself in a role that required scrappiness, creative problem solving and the ability to shift on the fly. I thrive in these scenarios.


Work At Play

This was my first exhibit working with the museum as a volunteer. I joined a small team of 4 to determine layout, build walls, paint, run electric, hang lights and finally the artwork. Through late nights, some blood, lots of sweat and pizza, we got pulled this show together in 3 weeks.

Role: Volunteer / Construction / Paint / Lighting

Exhibit excerpt

For many, the compulsion to create is constant. It’s unstoppable. Beyond the hours at the office, we create, we make—we play. In an attempt to find our own voice, we may stumble upon a visual language that can speak for and, perhaps, inspire others. This exhibition celebrates the blurred line between work and play. Exhibitors included Marian BantjesJohn MasseyMichael C. Place and Wolfgang Weingart.



Based on my work during the Work at Play build out, I was asked to join the museum’s board and become the Exhibit Design Director. I happily accepted.

With the success of the previous exhibit, the museum took up permanent residence in downtown Chicago’s famed Block 37. The space was incredibly raw and I was tasked with finding creative, cost-effective means of displaying the work, as well as the basics operational tasks like, running electric, painting and lighting the new space. The majority of the artifacts were physical, and so I built 8 display tables of wood and glass. They turned out beautiful and the museum still uses them to this day. I also built a giant cube, hanging walls, benches, stools and floating shelves to complete the exhibit.

Role: Exhibit Design Director / Vitrine Design & Build / Art Handling / Electrical & Lighting / Construction / Permitting / Paint / Volunteer Management / Project Management

Exhibit Excerpt

Inspired by the past century of design achievement and looking toward the future with insight and creativity, Starts/Speculations represents an anthology of work from Chicago’s graphic design legacy and a glimpse into how the tools we use to design and communicate could evolve and influence our interactions in the future.

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Deborah Sussman Loves LA

This exhibit was a traveling show curated by an outside curator and originally showed in LA. So while it had some light fabrication: triangle walls, coffee tables, cube stools and hanging projector boxes, the bulk of this show was about project management, shipping logistics and volunteer management.

And, as you can see, lots and lots of bright colored paint.

Role: Exhibit Design Director / Electrical & Lighting / Construction / Permitting / Paint / Volunteer Management / Project Management

Exhibit Excerpt

This exhibition recognizes an iconic designer who has helped shape the visual landscape of Los Angeles and define the field of environmental graphic design. It focuses on the early career of Deborah Sussman (1931-2014), highlighting projects that illuminate formative years in her professional development and in the growth of Los Angeles as a cultural center and a global city.


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