Job Listing: Preventive Conservation Manager

Job Postings,

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation – Williamsburg, VA

Closes – Open until filled

Position Title – Preventive Conservation Manager

Salary - $47,000-50,000 annual salary

Job Type – Full time

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Summary - The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the largest living history museum in the US and includes a newly expanded museum. Our collections include decorative arts, American folk art, archaeological media, architectural sites and fragments, rare books, and archives. The Preventive Conservation team works in multiple settings, including historic and reconstructed buildings, the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, our nine well-equipped conservation laboratories, and extensive storage spaces.

The Preventive Conservation Manager oversees day-to-day efforts to ensure the protection and preservation of Colonial Williamsburg’s cultural assets including maintenance of spaces in which collections are exhibited. Primary functions include general management, scheduling, evaluation, and career development of the preventive conservation team. The Manager consults regularly with the Conservator of Preventive Conservation to establish priorities and evaluate procedures and results.

Job Responsibilities –

  • Manage, on a day-to-day basis, a team of technicians and aides who maintain and preserve collections and exhibition buildings, 18th c. structures, and collection buildings.
  • Design preventive conservation plans and draft policies and procedures to protect cultural property. Develop protocols for implementation of preventive conservation practices in compliance with the Code of Ethics of the American Institute for Conservation.
  • Ensure the work environment is safe, secure, and healthy. Specific responsibilities include: training, observing and inspecting work, offering feedback and conducting performance appraisals.
  • Collaborate with conservation staff to plan, prepare, schedule and present regular collections care, maintenance and handling training sessions for technicians and aides. Work closely with Foundation colleagues to ensure that the highest standards of collections and building care are maintained.
  • Work with the Conservator, Preventive Conservation develop and implement environmental, including light and pest monitoring, plans. Monitor object and environmental conditions. Prepare reports and assist with remedial actions as needed.
  • Collaborate with the Preventive Conservation Manager peer (one is focused on HA, one on Museums) to review the schedule, the museum and historic area calendars, and information from other departments to facilitate staffing plans. Ensure that Preventive Conservation staff is allocated to perform priority tasks in all areas of responsibility, that all work is performed to the highest standards, and meets deadlines.
  • Ensures adherence to the Foundation’s approved Preventive conservation practices, methods, materials, and procedures.
  • Review and update emergency preparedness and response plans. Ensure access, provision, and maintenance of emergency supply depots and equipment.
  • Assist conservators and registrars in conducting detailed surveys, inventories, and inspections.
  • Work with technicians and aides to train site staff and monitor special programs, receptions, filming, and other activities that may affect collections. Actively participate in preventive maintenance closings, exhibition installation, collection moves, and seasonal changes.
  • Maintains awareness of state-of-the-art techniques in the conservation field and carries out research and related projects to test new materials, equipment, applications or methodologies as other responsibilities allow.
  • Provides information to and responds to inquiries from the public, Foundation staff and staff of other institutions.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Two years of experience in a supervisory position


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Two years of experience in a supervisory position
  • Experience cleaning and caring for special collections or sites


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Undergraduate degree in collections care, museum studies or a related subject.
  • Three or more years of experience handling, cleaning and/or caring for museum collections.
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to supervise and train staff and work effectively with wide range of people from multiple departments.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the fundamental concepts and practices of preventive conservation and collections handling. Understanding of the fundamentals of conservation ethics, examination, documentation and preventive care.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead staff and organize projects.
  • Knowledge of occupational hazards and safety precautions associated with site and collections care activities.
  • Understanding of functional requirements of collections buildings.
  • Ability to use environmental monitoring instruments and software. Basic knowledge of HVAC system functions.
  • Ability to make best use of time and resources, including facilities, materials, and equipment.
  • Demonstrated manual dexterity and ability to use hand and power tools.
  • Proficiency in the use of a computer for research, writing, organization, and data management