The MFA in Design prepares students with an emphasis in Exhibition Design for research, teaching and professional leadership opportunities in a highly interdisciplinary field that shapes museum, theme park, tradeshow, exposition, retail, public and civic spaces. An expanding global economy demands a need for exhibition design research that explores innovative approaches to artifact display, interpretive and narrative environments, signage and wayfinding, and engaging experiences for a broad range of audiences that are fully immersive, interactive and participatory. Visit Storied Spaces for more information about the exhibition design concentration in the UC Davis Department of Design.
Exhibition Design is focused on the communication of objects, information and ideas in the built environment and their impact on community interaction and audience engagement. Students studying in this area add much needed critical research to the field, and are provided the tools, resources and action steps for academic and professional advancement in the exhibition design industry.
Graduate students learn new skills in developing meaningful content, curatorship, architectural planning and staging, furniture, lighting, visual communication design, sensory and new media technologies. Their independent research studies may be augmented by electives in these areas, and collaborations with entities and other departments on and off campus including the UC Davis Design Museum.
Past graduate thesis projects have been:
Pop-up exhibits as a means for reaching diverse audiences
Challenging traditional natural outdoor history exhibits for the National Park Service
Using augmented reality in the commercial exhibition environment.
DRA 124A, Principles of Theatrical Design – Scenery
The Department of Design includes a comprehensive series of labs, full-scale mock-up facilities, and advanced prototyping capabilities to assist and support graduate research and design studies. Additionally, the UC Davis Design Museum is available between exhibitions for prototyping. Students are encouraged to get involved with the museum and assist in the design and build-out of the rotating schedule of exhibitions.
The JoAnn C. Stabb Design Collection is associated with the museum and contains over 5,000 design related objects, mostly ethnographic textiles and fashion. Specialized tools, vinyl cutting and large format inkjet printing equipment are housed in the museum office. See MFA handbook for a list of additional maker spaces on the UC Davis campus belonging to other departments.