Faculty Profile

Tim McNeil
Professor of Design


Tim McNeil is the Director of the UC Davis Design Museum, and a Professor of Design at the University of California Davis, where he is the primary instructor for courses on exhibition design and environmental graphic design.


His research and creative work defines exhibition design in relation to the curatorial process, and explores the exhibition medium as a
creative space for the effective communication of objects and narratives. Concurrent avenues of inquiry and practice: (1) the role design plays
in the communication of objects, ideas, and information in a museum or exhibition environment, (2) the strategies for audience engagement
with an emphasis on the interpretative exhibition experience, (3) the functionality and aesthetics of exhibition design and their impact on
environmental sustainability.

Publications and Work

McNeil is a principal with Muniz/McNeil, a multi-disciplinary design and research practice in Los Angeles. Recent projects include the exhibition “Home Lands: How Women Made the West” at the Autry National Center, and augmented learning environments for the Huntington Library and Gardens in Los Angeles. He has over 20 years of professional design experience and was previously a senior designer at the J. Paul Getty Museum developing over 70 exhibition, signage and interpretive environments. See Tim McNeil’s website for complete information about his current projects and his creative work.

Read the complete text of selected articles on the Publications page of Tim’s website.

Recent peer-reviewed journals, articles and reports:

2008 Greendesignwiki. UC Davis Design Museum.

2009 Green Museum Initiative. California Association of Museums. www.greenmuseums.info

2009 Green Museums Accord. California Association and American Alliance of Museums. www.calmuseums.info/gmi/Accord.html

2009 “Adaptation, Mitigation, Innovation: Greening the Exhibition Experience”. The Exhibitionist Journal, vol. 28, no. 1, pages 29–35. 
American Association of Museums, Spring 2009.

2010 PIC-Green Strategic Plan. American Alliance of Museums.

2010 “Due Diligence”. Society for Environmental Graphic Design Journal, no. 28, pages 68–71, Fall 2010.

2012 “IGNITE: Museums as Catalysts for Environmental Sustainability”. California Association of Museums white paper.

2012 “The Green Museums Accord”. Lord Cultural Resources, Cultural Capital, Spring 2012. 

2013 “The Sculpted City: In Praise of the Dimensional Map”. Environmental Graphics (eg) Journal, no. 6, pages 52–56, Spring 2013. 


Tim McNeil has been recognized for design excellence by the Society for Environmental Graphic Design, the University and College Designers Association, the American Alliance of Museums and the International Museum Design and Communication Association. 

An authority on environmental sustainability, McNeil chairs the California Association of Museums Green Museum Initiative, is a founder of the Green Museums Accord, and was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame for his design work on the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Santa Monica Environmental Action Center. In 2003, this project held the distinction as the first “green” exhibition and interpretive center in the nations “greenest” LEED platinum certified building.

His award-winning design research has been featured in multiple publications and he is a frequent speaker on museum and design issues.


Studio and lecture courses taught at UC Davis include:

DES185 Exhibition Design: cultural and commercial exhibition environments (10 week course)
DES186 Environmental Graphic Design: universal wayfinding and graphic navigational systems (10 week course)
DES187 Narrative Environments: storytelling and multi-sensory exhibition experiences (10 week course)
DES191 Museum Practicum: professional museum standards and exhibition design techniques (10 week internship)
DES SS187 Design in Britain: historical and contemporary survey of British design and multi-sensory environments (4 week full-time course)

(530) 752-2589
Room 129, Cruess Hall

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