Fellowship in Objects Conservation at National Park Service - Harpers Ferry Center

By Theresa Voellinger posted 02-27-2023 15:05


Conservation Post-Graduate Fellowship in Objects Conservation
National Park Service Harpers Ferry Center – Willow Springs Facility


Great Basin Institute, founded at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1998, is a mission-driven non-profit organization headquartered in the eastern foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. GBI has been a leader in the conservation stewardship field for over two decades, supporting thousands of individuals pursuing a career in public land management or advancing their academic standing. In partnership with the NPS’ Museum Conservation Labs at the Harpers Ferry Center (HFC), GBI seeks to hire one art conservation post-graduate fellow for a 12-month placement working in objects conservation beginning in the fall of 2023.

The NPS is responsible for protecting and managing over 420 individual “units”, including 63 National Parks, 74 National Historic Sites, and other designated areas such as battlefields, monuments, nature preserves, and more. The Museum Conservation Labs at HFC support all park sites that maintain museum collections through preventive care, preservation planning, and by performing conservation treatment on artifacts on loan on to our facility. The fellow will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of materials from different types of collections. There are three objects labs at HFC – wooden artifacts (such as furniture), inorganic objects (such as mechanical objects, metals, and ceramics), and organic objects (such as natural history specimens and social history collections) – and fellowship projects will pull from any (or all) of these depending on the planned work for the fiscal year. Potential projects could include analyzing, cleaning, and coating historic silver and silver-plated objects from Eisenhower National Historic Site; consulting, cleaning, and repairing a Native birch bark canoe from Isle Royale National Park; examining, stabilizing, and restoring furniture from Yellowstone National Park.

Essential Duties

The fellow will work and communicate with HFC objects conservators and complete object examination, digital imaging, research, and treatment. The labs are outfitted with XRF, FTIR, microscopy, microchemical testing, and Oddy testing stations. Additional duties include preventive conservation (IPM and housekeeping), and participation in scheduled conference calls, webinars, and facility tours conducted throughout their term. Fellows will capture images and/or videos for reporting purposes and submit Instagram posts highlighting their experience on the HFC Conservation Instagram account.

If all parties are amenable, there may be opportunities to travel with staff conservators for onsite park projects (as applicable and available), such as conducting a collection condition survey or treating objects which cannot be easily shipped to HFC. These trips will be fully reimbursed with standard government per diem while onsite.


Although the conservation labs are a part of the NPS Harpers Ferry Center they are located 6 miles from Harpers Ferry, WV in Charles Town, WV. Although only 70 miles from Washington, D.C., the area is a grouping of small communities with plenty of historic and outdoor attractions, but meager public transportation – your own transportation is required.

Compensation & Benefits

• Wage: $20.00 hourly
• Paid personal leave, sick leave, and federal holidays
• Fully paid medical insurance premiums (health, dental, vision, prescription)
• Enrollment in a 401K retirement plan that is fully vested on day 1 and offers up to a 4% employer matching contribution


• Annual (52-week) appointment beginning in Fall 2023, or upon availability and successful completion of a Department of Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI)
• Full-time (40 hours per week)


A qualified applicant must have a graduate degree from a recognized program in art conservation with a specialization in objects conservation. International candidates will not be considered unless they currently possess a visa to work in the United States. Applicants up to three years out of their program will be considered.
This position is designed to be benchwork treatment-focused and as such, most work will be done in the labs or at park sites with minimal telework days.
Further qualifications include:
• Outstanding handskills and meticulous attention to detail
• Familiarity with current conservation materials, methods, and ethics (AIC membership is a plus)
• Proficiency with digital imaging
• Excellent communication and writing skills
• Proven time management and teamwork skills
• Must be well-organized and open to a work environment which requires flexibility

Successful applicant(s) must complete a Department of Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI) or submit paperwork to NPS human resources indicating an active and fully adjudicated BI has already been completed prior to beginning position. If you already have a fully adjudicated BI, please let us know in your application.

How to Apply

Please follow the link below to apply directly through our online employment portal:

We conform to all the laws, statutes, and regulations concerning equal employment opportunities and affirmative action. We strongly encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply to all of our job openings. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, age, disability status, Genetic Information & Testing, Family & Medical Leave, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We prohibit Retaliation against individuals who bring forth any complaint, orally or in writing, to the employer or the government, or against any individuals who assist or participate in the investigation of any complaint or otherwise oppose discrimination.