Objects Conservator (Hartford, CT, USA)

By Paid Job Ads posted 03-04-2019 15:12



Dept: Curatorial/Conservation

Reports to:  Sr. Curator

Direct Reports:  TBD

Type:  Full-time

FLSA: Exempt

Date:  March 1, 2019

Rev. Date:


The Objects Conservator is responsible for the preservation, examination, documentation and treatment of the Museum’s vast and diverse objects-based collection in accordance with established professional conservation practices and ethical principles.  The collection includes sculpture, furniture, ceramics, glass, metal works, and 3-D modern and contemporary art.  S/he oversees all activities in the conservation lab relating to 3-dimensional works of art including examination and analyzing objects to determine if treatment is required, making treatment recommendations, and carrying out conservation treatments.  Participates in museum wide preservation activities including gallery monitoring and collection maintenance.  

Note: A senior-level title designation may be assigned based on experience along with departmental leadership responsibilities.  


  • Supervises and performs highly skilled conservation work, including examination, research, treatment, documentation, and preparation for exhibition of 3-D objects.
  • Examines and determines the condition and conservation needs of 3-D works of art; plans, directs, and implements research strategies to determine date, authenticity, and fabrication of art objects.
  • Devises restoration and preservation plans; consults with curators, and external conservators and scientists; and liaises with outside specialists; carries out research in support of treatments as needed.
  • Performs all work in accordance with AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice and museum standards.
  • Responsible for providing information on conservation, including public outreach, preventive conservation, and environmental monitoring.
  • Collaborates with the registrar on storage, pest management, safe display, and standards for traveling 3-D objects.
  • Prepares condition reports as needed.
  • Serves as the functional expert on conservation issues for 3-D objects.
  • Advises on proper display, storage, and treatment of objects. Recommends control of temperature and humidity levels to Curatorial and Facilities staff. 
  • Maintains appropriate documentation of work and reporting; shares findings and conservation process with curators, educators, docents, and the public as required.
  • Selects, monitors, and oversees the work of independent contractors and vendors.
  • Works closely and collaboratively with curatorial staff and other members of the conservation department, designers, collections care, and other staff.
  • Supervises assigned interns and volunteers


  • Directs and manages the staff and activities of the Conservation Department in line with the museum’s supervisory standards.
  • Motivates staff in order to establish and maintain cooperative and effective working relationships departmentally, museum-wide and externally.
  • Serves as the museum’s spokesperson on conservation issues for all museum collections. Provides sound advice and recommendations regarding the design of facilities to ensure proper display, storage, climate and treatment of artworks.  Advises on procedures for the safe exhibition and travel of artworks.
  • Manages all administrative duties and budget management related to the operations of the department.
  • Carries out all conservation duties in a manner that is compliant with all safety policies in the workplace, and with federal and state regulations.


Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in an arts related discipline plus completion of a graduate course of study in conservation or equivalent education and training.
  • At least ten years of post-graduate experience in objects curation.
  • Familiarity with the types and materials represented in the museum’s collection of 3-D works of art and strong record of achievement in the field.
  • 3+ years of supervisory experience is highly desirable.

Skills and Abilities

  • Demonstrated proficiency with the techniques, materials, and equipment used in the examination and conservation of 3-D objects.
  • Broad knowledge of museum practices and collections management.
  • Strong leadership, interpersonal, planning and organizational skills.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Effective presentation, negotiation, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills
  • Expert knowledge of the vocabulary of conservation and scientific methodology.
  • Expert understanding of the philosophical precepts expressed in the AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.
  • Aptitude in utilizing databases; proficient in the use of MS Office programs including Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel and other computing tools that staff is expected to use on regular basis.


Physical Demands

The physical requirements and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an objects conservator to successfully perform the essential functions of the job or may be encountered while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with a disability to perform the essential functions to the extent the museum may do so without undue hardship.  The term “qualified individual with a disability” means an individual who with or without reasonable accommodation can perform the essential functions of the position.  

This job operates in a laboratory/workshop, storage areas and museum gallery setting within a building(s) that have both modern and historic architectural elements.   This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets and fax machines.   While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to follow and give oral and written instructions; stand, walk, and/or sit for extended periods of time; use hands to finger, handle or feel, reach with hands and arm, and reach above shoulder height.  The employee is regularly required to climb or balance, squat, kneel, and crouch.  The employee is occasionally required to lift, drag and/or move up to 40 pounds unassisted. The employee is required to visually or otherwise identify, observe and assess.   Special vision abilities required by this job include close vision, color vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.  Employee is required to move about their work area, between buildings and the museum grounds, ascend and descend stairs. While performing the duties of this job the employee may be subject to outdoor weather conditions and temperatures.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate and general does not require the use of hearing protection equipment.    

The preceding job description indicates the general nature and essential duties and responsibilities of work performed by employees within this classification. It may not contain a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees to do this job.  Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time nor does it proscribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned.  This job description is subject to change at any time.

TO APPLY:  We are a progressive, equal opportunity employer and all candidates are encouraged to apply.   You can do so by sending a cover letter (noting the reason for your interest and your salary expectations for your next position) to:  staffing.curatorial@wadsworthatheneum.org.