She / Her
Full or Part-time
United States of America
Years in the field:
20 – 25 Years
Areas of Expertise
Curatorial/Collections, Exhibits development, Project Management
A born storyteller, Judy Vannais is a highly motivated, deadline-driven, multi-faceted, creative professional offering 25+ years of experience in all facets of interpretive planning; content research; content, media and visitor experience development; and copywriting and editing, and managing from Concept to Installation. Demonstrated expertise in working collaboratively and effectively with museum clients, design teams and key stakeholders to develop innovative content and visitor experiences across a variety of competencies for cultural institutions, museums and corporate clients nationwide and around the world. Fresh thinking, disciplined scholarship, creative energy, and versatile writing skills fuel her mission to create engaging experiences for all types of visitors in any setting that meaningfully connect them to content and community.
Highly adept at mastering any topic quickly and comprehensively, Judy has created interpretive content on a broad range of subjects: history (African American, cultural, maritime, military, natural, political, social), art, economics, industry, science, sports, technology, and transportation. The common denominator in this wide range of subject matter is human connection – how all of these themes and stories reflect and affect human society.
She has developed award-winning exhibit and media experiences of the highest caliber in collaboration with 2D and 3D designers and media and digital developers for prestigious institutions nationwide, including the National Trust, the National Park Service, the National Archives and many prominent national, state and local museums as well as for corporations. These projects include The American Museum of Natural History; The New-York Historical Society; The Federal Reserve Banks; The National World War 1 Museum; The USS Monitor Center at The Mariners' Museum; The Harry S Truman Library & Museum; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; 9/11 Tribute Center & Museum; Nauticus; Newseum; The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor; President Lincoln’s Cottage; Augusta National Golf Club; JetBlue; Qualcomm; and The McIlhenny Company (makers of Tabasco Sauce). International projects include Muzeiko: America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum; Explorium Children’s Science Museum (Turkey); Qualcomm Wireless Innovation Museum (China); Petrosains Discovery Centre (Malaysia); and The Maritime Experiential Museum and Aquarium (Singapore).
Her exceptional interpretive skills have roots in ten years of designing museum exhibits. This background informs her awareness of the ways in which visitors move through and use the physical spaces of exhibits. Her intellectual approach to exhibit development is visitor-experience centered, story-driven, and scholarly-based. Her rigorous content development process involves close and continuing consultation with curators, academics, educators, and evaluators to produce memorable experiences that engage minds and touch emotions.
Judy began her career as a staff designer at the exhibit design firm Vincent Ciulla Design and then at Chermayeff & Geismar. Acknowledging a passion for exhibit content, she then began consulting as a content developer to exhibit designers Albert Woods and DMCDdesign. After earning an M.A. in Irish Studies, she founded Judy Vannais Consulting, an interpretive planning/content development consultancy that realized dozens of projects over 18 years. She has recently been an Interpretive Services Manager at Skolnick Architecture & Design Partnership and Senior Content Developer & Manager at Ralph Appelbaum Associates.
She has authored a number of blog posts about exhibitions as well as articles on Irish cultural identity, public art, the fine arts, and politics for Irish Political Studies and Fortnight.
Judy holds an M.A. (with Distinction) in Irish Studies from The Queen’s University of Belfast and a B.F.A. in Interior Design from Syracuse University.