Full-time with Benefits
The Biggs Museum of American Art is seeking a full-time Registrar/Preparator to advance our collections management, lending, and cataloguing practices, as well as lead exhibition installation activities. Recently accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the museum is expanding exhibitions programming and updating its collection management practices. Responsibilities include supervising storage, executing loans and insurance, maintaining the collections database, digital images, and all collection records, and assisting with the planning, production, and installation of exhibitions.
Accessioning/Deaccessioning: Process object(s) as they are acquired for the museum collection, including: generating the deed of gift or other transfer of title and relevant tax paperwork for donations; documenting purchases; logging, assigning, and applying accession numbers; entering accession and basic object information into the collections management database; and recording and maintaining credit line information. Coordinating deaccessioning and disposal processes, including updating records.
Moves: Coordinate logistics planning of object movement. Generate move reports or tracking lists, and assist with physical object moves. Update object locations in database. Train and oversee other staff authorized to handle and move objects. Assist with installation of objects in the permanent collection and for temporary exhibitions. Coordinate object moves for photography and conservation. Occasional travel may be required to act as a courier for objects, oversee installation of loaned objects, or complete condition reports for objects loaned to other institutions.
Collection Storage & Care: Monitor and maintain secure and environmentally appropriate conditions in both galleries and storage areas. Maintain accurate inventories and coordinate preventative conservation and organization of storage areas in collaboration with curator and director. Document reported damage or changes in condition and generate report to appropriate staff.
Loans In/Out: Coordinate short-term loans, long-term loans, and loans to other museums/institutions, including: preparing loan agreements and receipt forms; determining if objects can travel with input from curator and director; reviewing status and values with curator; completing photography and condition reports; coordinating treatment with conservators; corresponding with lenders; and arranging for insurance, packing, shipping, customs, couriers, and security.
Exhibitions: Contribute to exhibition contracts and budgets. Coordinate all aspects of installation and de-installation, including generating relevant reports/checklists, planning installation schedules, and arranging for object moves, shipping, insurance, and security. Consult with curator on exhibition design and production, and coordinate contractors as needed to paint or otherwise prepare exhibition space. Assist with installation of casework, platforms, pedestals, mounts, lighting, graphics, and labels. Assist with coordinating and processing competition entries and applications for juried exhibitions.
Art Handling: Assist with art handling for permanent collection and loaned objects within the museum. Train and monitor staff authorized to handle and move objects, and schedule contract preparators as needed.
Database Management: Manage the collections database (currently PastPerfect) functionality and access with support from IT department, including: coordinating upgrades, improving data quality, and troubleshooting problems. Over the next 24-36 months, transition the museum to a new online database.
Other: Maintain all collection records, including paper files and digital images. Review and administer disaster plan and collections management policy. Oversee risk management and loss prevention and fine arts insurance management. Monitor institutional environmental conditions and security systems functionality. Serve as first responder to museum emergency and building system failure situations. Manage purchasing for supplies needed for collection care, installation, and exhibitions. Assist researchers accessing collection records. Hire, schedule, and supervise preparatory assistants.
Training, Skills, and Experience Required
- Undergraduate degree in collections management, art, art history, American studies, archival sciences, conservation, or related field, MA or MFA preferred.
- Familiarity with all collections management forms, ethics, and best practices.
- Familiarity with image rights and reproductions policies.
- Familiarity with emergency preparedness for cultural institutions.
- Consistently applies the highest professional working standards for the handling of fragile and rare artworks in all media.
- Able to predict the step-by-step requirements of a particular artwork movement and then to work within a team approach to successfully and carefully make the move.
- Must be able to consistently measure and install the appropriate hardware for hanging artwork made of all media. Demonstrably good math skills required. Good knowledge of and experience with a broad range of small hand tools used for this work.
- An introductory level understanding of and experience with professional museum lighting standards and applications for museum lighting. This includes keeping current with the lighting fixtures/hardware, lamping options, filtering options and light level measuring devices.
- Able to work with and help to train preparators, interns, and volunteers in registration and art handling practices.
- Detail-oriented with strong organization skills and able to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
- Works well with collectors, collecting institutions, and artists.
- Proficiency with all technology platforms: Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and Outlook, as well as collection management databases.
- Valid U.S. driver’s license with ability to qualify for insurance coverage under the museum’s liability insurance policies. Courier/transport experience desired.
Work Schedule and Location
The nature of this role requires a flexible work schedule with the ability to adjust on short notice. While 35 hours per week is the norm, additional work hours may be necessary to meet the requirements of this job position, which could encompass evening hours and weekend work. The responsibilities and required interactions of this position are not conducive to virtual work arrangements. Must reside in close proximity to the Museum.
The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those a Registrar/Preparator encounters while performing the essential functions of the role:
Climate controlled art museum with display galleries, standard offices, museum shop, and other nonpublic spaces. Work is performed primarily indoors and occasionally outdoors at the museum, however there will be occasions where work is performed outside the museum in public spaces such as restaurants and event venues plus private homes, offices and meeting rooms. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to receive oral and written instructions in English and to clearly communicate in English in person, over the telephone, through email and through other electronic means. The employee is required to move about their work area, between galleries and storage areas, ascend and descend stairs and ladders and stand and/or sit for extended periods of time. The employee is occasionally required to lift, drag and/or move up to 40 pounds unassisted. Occasional bending and stooping, squatting, reaching above and at shoulder height, kneeling, balancing above ground, pushing/pulling, twisting at waist; manual dexterity to operate computer keyboard, grasp writing materials; strength to grasp hand and power tools. Good balance is required.
Vision: See in the normal visual range with or without correction; vision sufficient to read computer screens and printed documents. Assess situations visually.
Hearing: Hear in the normal audio range with or without correction.
Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with a disability to perform the essential functions to the extent the Biggs 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.
The preceding job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and essential
functions and responsibilities of work performed by the employee in this job position. It may not contain a comprehensive list of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required for this role. Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time.
The annual salary range for this position is $42,000 – $48,000 commensurate with experience.
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 requirements) plus your resume to Natalie Osorio (email@example.com), the Assistant to the Director.
Please note “Registrar/Preparator” in the subject line.