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Job Listing: Assistant Conservator (Archaeology)

Job Postings ,

Colonial Williamsburg - Williamsburg, VA

Closes -  Open until filled

Position Title Assistant Conservator of Archaeological Materials

Job Type - Full-Time

For more info and to apply, CLICK HERE.


The Assistant Conservator of Archaeological Materials is responsible for enhancing the protection and preservation of Colonial Williamsburg’s cultural assets by, in consultation with the specialist curator and Associate Conservator of Archaeological Materials, examining excavated material from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, designing and proposing treatment protocols, and carrying out conservation treatments. The Assistant Conservator carries out condition assessments and treatments in accordance with research and exhibition objectives.



  1. Performs treatments on the Foundation’s collection using recognized conservation techniques in compliance with the Code of Ethics of the American Institute for Conservation and in consultation with curatorial staff. Examines archaeological materials, prepares written treatment proposals, performs treatments, and prepares treatment reports complete with photo-documentation. Confers with supervisor, conservation staff, and curators on complex projects. Collaborates with other conservators to treat or advise on care of objects as needed.
  2. Conducts conservation assessments of the Foundation’s archaeological materials collection.
  3. Establishes and documents preservation state and condition of archaeological artifacts as requested; including those being considered for exhibition and loan.
  4. Assists in management of day-to-day operation of archaeological materials conservation lab including ordering supplies and materials, handling paperwork, inputting treatment information in the collections database, and maintaining lab space and equipment.
  5. Assists in the supervision and training of technicians, interns, and volunteers in the archaeological materials lab.
  6. Maintains awareness of state-of-the-art techniques in the conservation field.
  7. Carries out research and related analysis to support treatment projects, test new materials, applications, or methodologies as other responsibilities allow.
  8. Fabricates object housing, exhibition supports as needed, and packs/moves artifacts as needed.
  9. Prepares and delivers public and professional lectures and demonstrations on conservation theory and techniques. Publishes new research in book or article form as other responsibilities allow. Contributes to and/or leads public tours. Contributes to social media efforts.
  10. Performs other related duties as required.


 Direct: Supervision of conservation technicians, interns, or volunteers; supervised project management- leadership as assigned.



General supervision from the Associate Conservator of Archaeological Materials.



  1. Detailed knowledge of a variety of artifact materials with a particular focus on metal artifacts.
  2. Highly developed hand skills.
  3. Detailed knowledge of conservation materials and experience in applying state-of-the-art conservation methodologies.
  4. Knowledge of the environment and environmental/materials interactions.
  5. Scientific knowledge sufficient for undertaking in-depth examination and analysis of objects, performing treatments and following necessary literature and reports.
  6. Demonstrable history of proposed, completed, and documented treatments.
  7. Excellent communication skills, both oral and written. Ability to follow instructions orally and in writing.
  8. Shares workspace respectfully with others, can work independently and with a team. Able to plan and schedule time.
  9. Must be medically and physically capable of wearing a respirator equipped with particulate cartridges in order to carry out job responsibilities.


The above generally gained through graduate level study in conservation plus two years conservation experience in recognized institutions — or the equivalent technical education and experience.

Preferred Qualifications:

  1. Supervisory and administrative experience.
  2. Familiarity with workplace safety practices.
  3. Experience with x-radiography and air abrasion.
  4. Experience treating recently excavated archaeological materials.
  5. Membership in a professional conservation organization.