The Future of In-House Design in an Outsourcing World


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Presentation for 2013 AAM session "The Future if In-House Design in an Outsourcing World"

American Alliance of Museums
Sunday May 19, 2013, 2:00-3:15
"The Future of In-House Design in an Outsourcing World"
Education and Interpretation
Come hear five perspectives on the future for in-house design—from people who have built large, award-winning exhibit departments to consultants who have built teams of consultants and in-house staff and helped museums deal with dysfunctional in-house exhibit departments.

Final Program, Page 52 Description,

Jenny-Sayre Ramberg, Director of Planning and Design, Exhibits and Design, National Aquarium in Baltimore
Mark Walhimer, Museum Planner, Museum Planning, LLC
Donald hughes, Vice President of Exhibitions, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Paul Martin, Vice President, Science Learning, Science Museum of Minnesota
David Harvey, Senior Vice President for Exhibitions, American Museum of Natural History
Kathy McLean, Former Director of Operations, Please Touch Museum

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The Future of In-House Design in an Outsourcing World

  1. 1. “The Future of In-House Design in anOutsourcing World”AAM - 2013Mark WalhimerMuseum Planning,
  2. 2. “Nobody goes into museum workto get rich”(…and if they do they don’t lastlong)
  3. 3. A highly unscientific survey:- How many people work at a museum as staff ?- How many of your museums have a fabricationshop?- How many have in-house exhibition design?- How many used to have a fabrication shop?- How many outsource most of your exhibitiondesign and fabrication?
  4. 4. Blog Post: “The Future of Museum Exhibition Design, PartI”- Virtual Studio, mix of projects and locations- Film Studio Model, Assembling project teams- Globalization, USA provider to the rest of the world- Technology, Finding consultants, as specialists
  5. 5. Outsourcing, includes:- Exhibition Development- Curation- Registration- Exhibition Design- Graphic Design- Artifact Mount Making- Exhibit Casework- Graphic Production- Lighting Design- Vitrine Fabrication- Metalwork, welding, machining- Audio / Visual
  6. 6. Spectrum of Outsourcing100% In-House 0% In-HouseTechnology
  7. 7. Spectrum of Outsourcing100% In-House 0% In-HouseFinding the spot on the axis whereexhibitions communicate mission,brand and voice at the lowest cost withThe greatest institutional benefit$500 per sq. ft.$0 per sq. ft.
  8. 8. Exhibition Fabrication Models:1. 100% In-House, Design and Fabrication2. “Design with Hybrid“- Designed In-house, % FabricatedIn-House, % Outsourced3. “Hybrid“- Outsourced Design, % Fabricated In-House,% Outsourced4. Outsourced Design, Outsourced FabricatedCollaboration with Museum5. “Design Build - Turn Key”
  9. 9. 1. 100% In-House, Design and FabricationChildren’s Museum of Manhattan19973,500 sq. ft.$65,000 Total Budget, $18 per sq. ft. not including in house staff timeDesigned and fabricated in house
  10. 10. 2. “Design with Hybrid“- Designed In-house, % Fabricated In-House, % OutsourcedFabricationChildrens Museum of Indianapolis200910,000 sq. ft.$4.3 Million Total Budget, $430 per sq. ft. including endowment for exhibit maintenanceDesigned and fabricated in house expect for casework, some interactives, and graphicproduction
  11. 11. 3. HybridDiscovery Science Center199825,000 sq. ft.$2.5 Million Total Budget, $100 per sq. ft. including staff time and operational costs1/3 Designed and Built in House, 1/3 Bought off the shelf, 1/3 Modified Exhibit Components
  12. 12. 4. Outsourced Design, Outsourced Fabricated Collaboration with MuseumMIDE200715,000 sq. ft. of exhibits$2.5 Million Budget, $166 per sq. ft.Designed and fabricated in exhibits, created templates for graphics for the museum, layout ofspace that museum fabricated locally.
  13. 13. 5. “Design Build - Turn Key”International Wetlands Project2005Hong Kong$2.5M, $350 per sq. ft. (approximate) including design, installation and graphicsMet Studios, Beck Interiors, Academy StudiosEntire project outsourced
  14. 14. Outsourcing MatrixModel Per sq. ft.1. 100% In-House, Design and Fabrication $18 per sq. ft.2. “Design with Hybrid“- Designed In-house, $430 per sq. ft.3. Hybrid $100 per sq. ft.4. Outsourced Design, OutsourcedFabricated Collaboration with Museum$166 per sq. ft.5. “Design Build - Turn Key” $350 per sq. ft.*2. Includes Endowment for Exhibition Maintenance
  15. 15. Capital Costs:- Driving many of the decisions- Difficult to hire staff as part of project costs
  16. 16. Challenges of Exhibition Design & Fabrication In-House:- Can be insular- Can be very expensive- Difficult to schedule staff and funding- Multiple priorities- Matching skills to projects
  17. 17. Challenges of Outsourcing:- Communication of Institutional Culture- Loss of in-house talent- Loss of intellectual capital at end of project
  18. 18. Museum Voice:- “How” you communicate Mission- Communication of Institutional Culture- Communication of “Brand”
  19. 19. Recommendations:- "Hybrid" Childrens Museum of Manhattan - Smaller projects designed and built in house,larger projects outsourced, good model- "Staff General Contractor" - Overall vision from museum staff, with a Director of Exhibitsmanaging a mix a in house and outsourced, Arizona Science Center- "Freelance Director of Exhibits" - Museum Planning - Freelance Director of Exhibits, "GeneralContractor Model", Discovery Science Center Phase II, matrix of resources, Film ProductionModel, staff up, project based- "Non-Profit / For Profit Model", COSI did not work well, but the model can work, Hands-OnFL- "Shared Staff" - NPS Model, Yuma Model, sharing staff amongst several organizationsThere needs to be a keeper of the “voice”, either as astaff person or as a contractor