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Assistant Conservator (Temporary/Full-Time)
Assistant Conservator (Temporary/Full-Time)
Portland Art Museum
Post Date: 06 Oct 2022


Job Description

The Portland Art Museum (referred to as Museum) invites applications for the position of Assistant Conservator. The Assistant Conservator will coordinate and execute preventive and conservation activities  while working collaboratively with many departments. This position will concentrate primarily on preventive conservation activities with the potential to carry out treatment of individual artworks based on specialization.  This role will report directly to the Conservator and work closely with other Collections staff members.

The position offers potential for professional growth through varied and challenging activities.  Any material specialty may apply for this position.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Coordinate housekeeping for all collection storage areas and galleries in line with best practices for Collections Care
  • Advise and collaborate with collections care staff to fabricate storage systems, exhibition supports, and pack/move objects 
  • Carry out collections care and preventive conservation projects, meeting deadlines and quality standards
  • Provide technical expertise and work collaboratively to maintain a collections-sensitive, museum-wide integrated pest management plan
  • Provide support for exhibition installations, including maintenance of buffered microclimates
  • Conduct preservation needs and risk assessments with written reports
  • Provide support for an upcoming construction project, as needed, such as dust monitoring and vibration monitoring
  • Develop museum-wide guidelines for materials used in exhibition and storage areas, based on international conservation community best practices
  • Test materials, as needed, for possible adverse interaction with museum objects via established testing methods, including but not limited to accelerated corrosion (Oddy) tests, A-D test strips and iodide-iodate tests for the presence of volatile acids
  • Participate in all operations and responsibilities associated with an active museum conservation program under the supervision of the Conservator including examination, technical analysis, materials research, documentation, preparation for exhibition, and treatment of works of art in the permanent collection and on loan or pre-accession to the museum, as needed 
  • Advise Museum staff regarding standards for environmental conditions for the storage and display of works of art

Secondary or Additional Responsibilities

  • Participate in condition reporting of traveling exhibitions, as needed
  • Advise staff on techniques of handling, installation and packing, as needed
  • Collaborates with staff, volunteers, and docents to spread knowledge of collections care and conservation practices
  • Participate in workspace maintenance, including cleaning and organization of studio space, maintaining material inventories and tools, obtaining supplies, and cleaning labware
  • Improve information and resources to provide to the general public about collections care
  • Participate in emergency response and disaster preparedness activities and contribute to training documents, emergency supplies, and response team guidelines
  • Performs other related duties as assigned

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • No supervisory responsibility

Institutional Responsibilities

  • Support the Museum’s mission, vision and core values of creativity, connection, equity, learning, accessibility and accountability 
  • Contribute to and support the PAM strategic plan, annual priorities, and institutional initiatives such as diversity, equity, inclusion and access
  • Contribute to a positive organizational culture based on mutual respect, a spirit of collegiality, cooperation, and openness to many perspectives
  • Participate in a culture of ongoing learning, collaboration, innovation, creativity, and community engagement
  • Promote equity and inclusion goals and have a “people first” mindset

Required Knowledge & Skills 

If you have any questions along the way including wanting to talk about a non traditional career background, please reach out to HR.

  • Broad general knowledge of conservation techniques with specialization in one area
  • Thorough understanding and working knowledge of preventive conservation principles including:  integrated pest management (IPM), environmental monitoring, maintenance of storage areas, art handling, and display needs of museum collections
  • Experience with emergency preparedness
  • Demonstrated conservation treatment documentation, treatment, and rationale
  • Experience with planning, organizing, and tracking projects
  • Experience with organizing records and prioritizing tasks
  • Apply professional knowledge in a practical manner
  • Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Skill in working independently, in a team, and coordinating with the public

Education, Formal & Informal Experience, Training Required, Certification, Etc.

  • Undergraduate or postgraduate degree in conservation from a recognized conservation training program, or equivalent (Please note any material specialty may apply for this position)
  • Minimum of 1-2 years hands-on experience with the handling and assessment of a wide range of collection items
  • Proven related work experience in a Museum or similar institution
  • Experience in exhibition methods and practices
  • Training in and a thorough understanding of preservation principles, practice and issues
  • Sensitivity to and knowledge of artist’s materials, installations, and materials
  • Understanding of environmental monitoring techniques

Job Conditions

  • Non-Exempt
  • Schedule/Hours: Monday through Friday, 35 hours per week (This is a temporary, 12 month funded role)
  • Onsite/Not Remote 
  • May work in areas with exposure to dust, paint, chemicals, and other toxins
  • Shared lab space with other team members

Physical Activities

  • Close visual acuity to perform activities within the essential functions
  • Frequently operates a computer, technology and other office equipment
  • Frequently communicates with museum colleagues and the public
  • Remaining upright on the feet, particularly for sustained periods of time
  • Moving about on foot to accomplish tasks particularly moving from one work site location to another
  • Frequently moves objects that weigh 11-20 pounds
  • Ascend or descend ladders, stairs, scaffolding, etc. to care for works of art
  • Work may involve moderate exposure to unusual elements, such as extreme temperatures, dirt, dust, fumes, smoke, unpleasant odors, and/or loud noises
  • This is not a complete representation of all physical requirements


  • This role is non-exempt/hourly and temporary. The position is a 12 month funded role
  • Budgeted compensation is within pay grade J ($30.92 min – $37.10 mid – $43.29 max), depending on experience. 
  • Shift differentials, for hourly/non-exempt staff, for hours worked onsite within:
    • Evening hours (6:00pm-12:00am) will be paid an additional $1.00 per hour
    • Night hours (12:01am-6:00am) will be paid an additional $2.00 per hour
  • Healthcare package: medical, dental, vision, disability, life insurance, 401K match, and flexible spending accounts
  • Paid time off: 6 paid holidays, 2 floating holidays, vacation, sick, and bereavement leave
  • Transportation benefits: TriMet / C-Tran / parking pass discount or bike to work enrollment
  • Museum admission & lectures, programs, and gift shop discounts
  • R.E.A.P (Reciprocal Employee Attraction Pass), providing free general admission to local destinations

Application Process for Assistant Conservator

Apply online at: www.portlandartmuseum.org/careers, to create a profile.

In order to be considered eligible, submissions require a resume, cover letter, four references, and all application questions answered. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by October 30, 2022. Applications may still be continued to be accepted after the full consideration date until a sufficient applicant pool has been achieved or the position is filled. The closing date is subject to change without notice to applicants.


Portland, USA

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