Associate Director, Exhibit Content Development

San Francisco, CA
Full Time
Senior Manager/Supervisor

Come join a team dedicated to the Academy’s mission, vision and values! Currently, the Academy has a new strategic plan including three initiatives – Hope for Reefs, Thriving California, and Islands 2030 – that leverage biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement to regenerate fragile ecosystems around the world. Learn more at

We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and we know they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every ­one of the qualifications for the position.

The position is a hybrid of on-site/work from home in California and this arrangement can change as business needs warrant. Employees and jobs who meet the eligibility requirements for work from home may do so as long as they work out of their home in California and can easily come onsite in San Francisco.  The Academy is located in Golden Gate Park. Candidates are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination, including receiving a booster shot, as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Individuals receiving a conditional offer of employment from the California Academy of Sciences will be provided the full text of the vaccination policy.


The California Academy of Sciences seeks an Associate Director of Exhibit Content Development providing leadership and creative vision throughout the development and interpretation of Academy exhibitions. Reporting to the Senior Director of Exhibits, the Associate Director is responsible for overseeing all aspects of content development for a range of projects, and this position supervises a team of exhibit content developers and contractors, and collaborates with other exhibit team members and stakeholders, including scientists, educators, artists, technologists, and other internal and external partners. You will work collaboratively to define exhibit and visitor experience goals and concepts, create accessible and memorable content for Academy exhibitions, and produce engaging interactives and media.

We are committed to ensuring diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion are intrinsic to Academy culture and operations, from recruitment and retention to science and advocacy. Explore Our Commitment to Racial Equity to learn about our intentional engagement of traditionally excluded groups in an effort to spark interest in or foster pathways to scientific careers.


Managerial responsibilities

  • Lead team of content developers in the creation of new exhibitions and the improvement of existing content within the museum. 
  • Supervise staff exhibit content developers, including part-time and on-call positions.
  • Establish performance goals, provide regular feedback and coaching on project deliverables and overall performance.
  • Manage content development and translation workflows for various projects. Provide editorial direction; guide the object, specimen, and visual asset selection process; advance the Academy's audience engagement; and direct exhibit evaluation work.
  • Identify needs and manage external/freelance exhibit content development resources: develop scopes of work, request and review proposals, and provide regular feedback and guidance on deliverables and overall performance.
  • Ensure that all Academy exhibits advance the Academy's mission and strategic priorities through engaging, innovative, relevant, and scientifically accurate visitor experiences.
  • Contribute to strategic planning and process improvements for future exhibits and related initiatives.

Content development responsibilities

  • Lead exhibit content development on assigned exhibit projects, and establish goals and key messages.
  • Develop compelling interpretive strategies for new exhibits that advance the Academy mission and strategic priorities through audience-centered experiences. Ability to develop highly interactive exhibits.
  • Complete topic, theme, and narrative development informed by literature reviews and visitor research.
  • Research and interpret scientific information, images, objects, and technologies. Develop concepts and content for delivery through text, visual media, interactives, and audio. Help select and secure specimens, objects, and media assets.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams of project managers, designers and developers, subject matter experts, collections staff, Academy scientists, educators, and others.
  • Design and conduct evaluations at specified points in the exhibit development process to ensure that projects achieve goals and objectives.
  • Develop prototypes, test with audiences, and summarize findings and recommendations. Manage and/or conduct visitor evaluation.
  • Demonstrated experience in science writing for diverse public audiences. Ability to read and interpret scientific literature, and understand design drawings.
  • Represent the Academy to professional and public audiences; cultivate and leverage professional networks; stay informed of trends in the museum field.
  • Follow Academy safety regulations.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • 8+ years of progressive experience in exhibit development for informal science or similar setting, with 3+ years in team management.
  • Bachelor’s degree in life sciences, environmental studies, museum studies, or related field.
  • Experience leading teams through the exhibit development process to create engaging and accessible interpretive content, innovative use of natural history collections, and interactive exhibit experiences for diverse audiences.


  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Gifted storyteller and science communicator who writes clearly, concisely, and imaginatively.
  • Ability to develop thematic structure for exhibits and use a variety of techniques to communicate concepts to general audience(s).
  • Ability to work successfully in a team environment as well as independently. Ability to speak effectively before groups or individuals.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment, balance multiple projects, and meet deadlines.
  • Skilled in using Microsoft Office and Google Apps; fluency in a range of computer software and collaboration tools such as Asana, Slack, Box, and others to create, manipulate and share documents, spreadsheets, images, and other digital assets. Familiarity with Adobe Creative Suite is a plus.
  • Passion for the Academy’s mission to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration.
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion.


Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to meet the job’s essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, use a computer, and communicate on the phone, in person, and online meetings/calls. Must be able to perform repetitive motions 75% of the time. Must be able to transport 30 lbs.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please upload a resume and complete the brief online application.

The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, place of birth, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, height or weight, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.


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