Harn Museum of Art Preparator and Installation Coordinator

Classification Title:

Harn Museum Preparator II

Job Description:


  • Reporting to the Senior Registrar, works with Registrar of Exhibitions and Loans and other preparation staff to plan for and implement exhibition change-outs. Also assists with care and maintenance of permanent collection as required.
  • Serves as Lead Preparator on assigned projects, which includes collaboration with the curatorial and registration team in the planning, preparation, design, installation and de-installation of museum exhibitions using a high level of organization, communication and time management skills to ensure that all AAM, AAMD and museum industry and preventative conservation standards are met.
  • In collaboration with curatorial and registration staff, manages assigned exhibition production, supervising installation/de-installation staff on assigned exhibitions to ensure timeliness, safety and budget compliance.
  • Prepares galleries for installations, including wall and floor preparation, moving walls, lighting design and implementation, fabricating and installing exhibition components (cases, mounts, etc.), matting and framing of artwork, and production and installation of exhibition labels and graphics. 
  • In collaboration with the curators, registrars, director of IT and the facility coordinator, provides instruction and assists in the installation and de-installation of all artwork, including but not limited to, 2-D, sculpture, digital media, multimedia and electronics (film, computer, audio video, etc.). Participates in and coordinates activities involved with installing, de-installing, lighting and maintaining outdoor sculpture as assigned.
  • Purchases, designs and/or fabricates display materials, such as, but not limited to, pedestals, plinths, temporary walls, mounts, crates, etc., as required and in keeping with museum standard best practices and contractual requirements. Oversees movement and placement of pedestals, plexiglass vitrines and other exhibition furniture used in installations.
  • Participates in and supervises the matting and framing of artwork.
  • Provides direct oversight for the movement of artwork, including receiving, packing/unpacking, shipping, storage, and occasionally transporting artwork. In conjunction with the registrars, researches and implements storage and movement methods within the building, to and from the museum and between offsite locations in keeping with best practices and industry standards.

Venue Maintenance/Administration

  • Coordinates venue maintenance as relates to the artwork, including cleaning of gallery displays and equipment, daily inspections and reporting/follow-up on maintenance needs, and monitoring of environmental or related conditions as required.
  • Maintains appropriate collection, crate and pedestal documentation, both digital and manual.
  • Maintains and ensures digital media/video equipment is operational and on/off in museum exhibitions as appropriate.
  • Maintains an up-to-date inventory of tools and supplies integral to installation/de-installation and related activities, ordering supplies as required.
  • Maintains and ensures the cleanliness of the storage areas, work areas, hallways, etc., implementing best practices in storing tools, packing/shipping materials, exhibition furniture and all other supplies.
  • Operates various equipment, including but not limited to drivable scissor lifts, forklifts, basic woodshop tools and equipment, etc., used in the normal course of business to install and de-install objects of various shapes and sizes, prepare objects for transport and/or storage, maintain gallery lighting, and fabricate crates, mounts and pedestals, etc.
  • Participates in budget preparation and oversight. Solicits quotes, reviews estimates and assists with the selection of vendors. Assists with needs assessment as it relates to supplies, labor and equipment to support the efficient operation of the museum. Orders supplies as needed for exhibition installations and collection-related projects.
  • Under the direction of the Registrar, trains staff in art handling, installation skills, proper tool usage, policies, procedures and best practices.

Other Characteristics of the Position

  • Supervises interns and volunteers.
  • A special characteristic of the position is the ability to long-range plan and move multiple exhibitions along through various stages of installation, de-installation, and preparation simultaneously. The employee should expect to travel on a periodic basis to serve as courier, assist with traveling exhibitions’ installations and de-installations, and attend conferences.
  • Performs such other duties as assigned by the Registrar that may arise in the course of the museum’s development and needs.
  • While performing the duties of this class, the employee is regularly required to use written and oral communication skills; read and interpret complex data, information and documents; analyze and solve problems; observe and interpret people and situations; use math and mathematical reasoning; learn and apply new information or skills; perform highly detailed work on multiple, concurrent tasks with constant interruptions; work under intensive and constantly changing deadlines; and interact with those encountered in the course of work, some of whom may be demanding, dissatisfied or upset.

  • While performing the duties of this class, the employee is regularly required to sit, stand, and walk; talk or hear, in person and by telephone; use hands repetitively to manipulate, handle, feel or operate computers and other standard office, wood shop equipment, and diverse and delicate artwork; reach with hands and arms; bend, kneel and crouch. Must be able to lift heavy objects, climb ladders, and operate hand and power tools safely.

Advertised Salary:

$32,000 - $37,500 annually, commensurate with qualifications and experience

Minimum Requirements:

High school diploma or equivalent and five years of experience, preferably in museum exhibits; and two years in a supervisory capacity.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Previous experience working in a museum or art gallery
  • Knowledge of the principles, techniques, and equipment used in designing, fabricating, and installing museum-quality exhibitions, including working within a limited budget
  • Knowledge of museum-approved materials (acid-free, non-off gassing, archival, etc.)
  • Ability to communicate effectively, and establish and maintain effective working relationships with others
  • Skill in using a variety of hand and power tools
  • Ability to follow design instructions, specifications, and blueprints
  • Ability to design and construct shipping crates and perform intermediate-level carpentry tasks
  • Ability to maneuver heavy objects
  • Skill in handling trucks, forklifts, lifts and other forms of moving equipment
  • Knowledge of archival matting and framing techniques and materials
  • Ability to design and create decorative and interpretive elements in exhibits, such as mounts and other display furniture
  • Driving skill because of the necessity to travel out of town, including overnight trips
  • Familiarity with safe working practices, such as OSHA regulations
  • Familiarity with Product Safety Sheets
  • Familiarity with ADA regulations
Special Instructions to Applicants:

In order to be considered, you must upload your cover letter and resume.

Application must be submitted by 11:55 p.m. (EDT) of the posting end date.

Health Assessment Required: Yes