"The post will see McGuirk shape the museum's creative content across every department as a member of its exhibitions team," said a statement from the Design Museum.
"He will play a significant role in the yet to be announced opening programme for the Design Museum's new home in Kensington, due to open in late 2016."
The museum has also appointed Tom Wilson as head of collection and research, who will start in September to lead the development and implementation of the collection, library and archive for the new museum.
Based in London, McGuirk is former editor of Icon magazine and director of Strelka Press. In 2012 he was part of the team that won the Golden Lion for the best project at the Venice Architecture Biennale.
Earlier this year, he spoke out about the need for a new generation of critics and curators when he was named head of the writing and curating programme at Design Academy Eindhoven.
Currently based on Shad Thames, the Design Museum is set to move into its new location in the former Commonwealth Institute building next year.
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The refurbishment by John Pawson includes galleries for permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, an auditorium and a library beneath the hyperbolic paraboloid roof structure of the 1960s building.
Its current Thames-side home, which is now hosting this year's Designs of the Year exhibition, has been bought by Zaha Hadid Architects to house architecture shows and the London studio's collection of models.