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David Dunnett Cunningham held the position of Projects Manager -Design, Exhibitions, and Facility Planning at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology (MOA) since 1988. In 2006 he was made Renewal Building Lead. In 2009 he was designated Manager, Design/Production/Renewal Building Lead. In 2010, Cunningham returned to his design role. His education includes undergraduate studies in Engineering and Geography, and graduate studies in Industrial Design at the University of Calgary, as well as technical training in cabinet making and photography.
Cunningham was responsible for managing all aspects of exhibition production at the Museum of Anthropology. This included the conceptualization and implementation of two and three-dimensional exhibits, long-term collection installations, signage, and other visual presentations. He directed and guided the design, production and installation of exhibits; provided cost estimates and production budgets; and prepared drawings, specifications and tender documents for exhibit installations, furniture, and modifications. Cunningham’s responsibilities also included the overall management of the museum as a member of the Executive Ways and Means Committee, Teaching and Curriculum Committee, Renewal Team, Building Team, and Research Centre Working Group; and facility-planning management, through liaison with the architect and the university for gallery and building renovation, and expansion plans. In this latter capacity, he was involved with renovations and modifications to Galleries 5 and 10, the Theatre, the Ethnology Lab, and the MOA renewal project.
He also taught exhibit design and museum architecture to undergraduate and graduate students in UBC’s Department of Anthropology. Course instruction included Anthropology 431 and 432. Working with the Museum’s collections and existing exhibits, course assignments included design and installation of small displays in node and other cases in Museum’s galleries.
Cunningham has been involved with the production of many exhibits, including A Rare Flower: A Century of Cantonese Opera in Canada (1993-95), which also travelled to Victoria, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Manitoba, and Montreal, The Abstract Edge: Recent Works by Robert Davidson (2004-2005), and Mehodihi: Well-Known Traditions of Tahltan People (2003-2005), among others. He has received awards from the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) relating to his work at the Museum, for Facility and Exhibition Design (1999), and for Outstanding Achievement in the Museum Management Category (1997). He has also published articles relating to his work.
Cunningham retired form the museum in 2015.