Staff Profile

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Matt Matcuk

Exhibitions Development Director


As Exhibitions Development Director I lead the development component of The Field Museum's exhibitions.  I oversee a staff of six Exhibitions Developers, one Exhibitions Evaluator, and several interns.  I came to the Museum in 1995, to work in the Institutional Advancement office, before joining the Exhibitions Department in 1998.  Over the last fifteen years I have served as Lead Developer on fourteen exhibitions, acted as co- or contributing Developer to several dozen more, and have overseen the development of all Field Museum temporary, traveling, and permanent exhibitions since assuming my current position in 2006.  All told, I've worked--in one capacity or another--on more than 100 exhibitions.

Additional Information


Ph.D. in English, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, May, 1995. Concentration:  Rhetoric and Composition

Dissertation title:  The Power of Babel:  Advertising Rhetoric and Public Discourse

M.A. in English, Loyola University Chicago, January, 1991

B.F.A. in Photographic Illustration, Rochester Institute of Technology, August, 1983

Grants & awards

2012 Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences for $125,814to develop and implement Straight From The Field, a series of small visitor-centered, science-focused exhibitions featuring current research by FM anthropologists, botanists, geologists, and zoologists.

2012 American Alliance of Museum's MUSE awards:

· Interactive Kiosks, Silver:   The Green Wall

· Multimedia Installations, Silver:   Rapid Inventory Theater

· Video, Film, & Computer Animation, Silver:   Chicago Community Series

June, 2011:  Gold Medal Award, American Association of Museums, National Association of Museum Exhibitors (NAME):  “Tusk Analysis,” a live action and animated video program for the exhibition Mammoths and Mastodons, Titans of the Ice Age.

April, 2006:  Honorable Mention, American Association of Museums, Media and Technology Committee (MUSE):  for co-writing and co-producing “Evolution Essentials,” a series of animated video programs for the Evolving Planet exhibition.



Conference presentations, publications, and consulting:

December, 2012:  advisory panelist to the Oriental Institute of Chicago in preparation for their exhibition "Between Heaven and Earth:  Birds of Ancient Egypt."

May, 2012:  advisor to Northwestern University's TIDAL (Tangible Interactive Design and Learning) Lab project:  Tree of Life

September, 2011:  online presenter at the American Association of Museums’ “Technology and Innovation in Education” conference, discussing creation and evaluation of “Tusk Analysis” video and “Cave Art” interactive immersive experience for Mammoths and Mastodons.

July, 2011:  co-presenter for a round table discussion at the Association of Midwest Museums, “Can an Exhibition Be Too Fun?  Entertainment and education.”

July, 2011:  instructor in the City of Chicago’s “After School Matters” project, seminar on exhibition development

December, 2010:  advisory panelist to the Oriental Institute of Chicago in preparation for their exhibition of pre-pharaonic Egypt, Before the Pyramids.

November, 2009 and October, 2010: advisor to Oakland Museum of California’s Hotspot Californiamuseum renovation project.

November, 2007:  invited lecturer at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art:  “Bringing Pompeii to Life—and Vesuvius to Chicago.”

June, 2007:  seminar presentation for graduate fellows:  “Exhibiting Science:  Writing on the Sciences for the General Public,” at The Land Institute, Salina Kansas.

April, 2006:  chaired panel presentation:  “Friends in High Places: Leveraging Contacts to make International Exhibitions Happen,” at the annual conference for the American Association of Museums, Boston.

November – December, 2005:  invited lecturer for speaking engagements in association with the exhibition Pompeii:  Stories of an Eruption, and featured speaker in The Field Museum lecture series presented in association with the exhibition.

November – December, 2004:  invited lecturer for speaking engagements in association with the exhibition Splendors of China’s Forbidden City:  the Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong,and featured speaker in The Field Museum lecture series presented in association with the exhibition.

October, 2003:  guest lecturer for a seminar session at Columbia College, Chicago, “Writing About Your Art.”

March, 2003:  invited speaker for a panel presentation at Antioch College, Ohio, on career opportunities for interns in the non-profit world.

February, 2002:  writer and editor, The Field Museum’s 2001 Annual report.

September, 1997:  writer and editor, CONNECTING:  the Campaign for The Field Museum, campaign fundraising publication.

April, 1995:  conference presentation “Advertising Discourse and Sophistic Rhetoric” at the Annual Conference on College Composition and Communication, Washington, D.C.

Work experience

Exhibition Development Director The Field Museum, April, 2006 – present.  Responsibilities include:

  • Establish creative direction and development philosophy for the Exhibition Development Division
  • Organize staff labor resources to enable completion of up to 12 new exhibitions per year
  • Hire contractors for exhibition development; visitor studies; image research; interactives and video production; and freelance writing, translation, editing, and proofreading
  • Co-Chair the Museum's Science/Public Education Committee (SPEC)
  • Develop an ongoing program of exhibition evaluation and visitor studies

Exhibition Development Manager The Field Museum, September, 2005 – March, 2006. 

Assistant Manager, Exhibition Development, The Field Museum, September, 2003 – August 2005.

Exhibition Developer/Writer, The Field Museum, April, 1998 – September, 2003. 

Served in the above positions on exhibitions such as

  • The Gidwitz Hall of Birds
  • The Abbott Hall of Conservation:  Restoring Earth
  • The Romance of Ants
  • Mammoths and Mastodons; Titans of the Ice Age
  • Grainger Gem Hall
  • The Aztec World
  • Evolving Planet
  • DNA Discovery Center
  • Crown Family PlayLab
  • Pompeii:  Stories of an Eruption
  • Splendors of China’s Forbidden City
  • The Regenstein Artifact Conservation Laboratory
  • From Prairie to Field:  Photographs by Terry Evans
  • Eternal Egypt:  Masterworks of Ancient Art
  • Kremlin Gold:  1,000 Years of Russian Gems and Jewels
  • SUE:  the Inside Story
  • With Patience and Goodwill:  the Art of the Arapaho


Officer of Corporate and Foundation Relations, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, October, 1997 – April, 1998.

Campaign Writer, The Field Museum, September, 1995 – October, 1997. 

Teaching Assistant, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, 1991 – 94; Loyola University Chicago, 1988 – 91. 

Editorial Consultant, Loyola University Center for Instructional Design, Loyola University Chicago, 1991-94.

Advertising Copywriter, Storey, Berman & Freer, Chicago, 1986.

Advertising Copywriter, Dawson, Johns & Black, Chicago, 1984 – 85.

Advertising Copywriter, Grey North, Chicago, 1984.

Freelance Photographic Assistant, New York City, 1983.