Research Scientist, Mellon Foundation MFAH

Title: Mellon Foundation Research Scientist
Reports To:  Director of Conservation
Date Needed:  August 2014
Pay Type: Full-Time, Regular, Exempt, 35 hours/week
Salary:    Stipend
Benefits:   Group Medical and Dental Insurance, Life and Long Term
Disability Insurance, Pension Plan, Credit Union, Flexible
Compensation Plan, Paid Time Off, Reserved Time Off, and Holiday Pay
Work Schedule: Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm
Work Location  Rosine Building, a non-smoking facility
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), through the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is offering a five-year appointment for a Research Scientist. The appointment is shared with the Menil Collection, Houston and it is intended that the Scientist will lead research programs that illuminate the wide-ranging, world-class collections of both institutions. He/she will report to the Director of Conservation for the MFAH and will be based at the MFAH, with additional access to the facilities and staff of the participating institutions.
The MFAH is in the process of designing and building a new Center for Conservation on the museum campus, which will open during the term of this appointment. The Scientist will play a central role in planning state-of-the-art scientific and analytical resources in the new building and, as a result, will help to shape the whole future of conservation science in Houston.
The basic duties of the job are to provide analytical support to conservation and curatorial staff of the MFAH and The Menil Collection: but, in consultation with senior colleagues at both institutions, the Scientist will also be able establish new research priorities in both the investigation of traditional and new conservation materials and processes, and in the ever-expanding field of technical art history. The collections in Houston provide outstanding opportunities for new avenues of technical research. It is expected that the Scientist will publish results in appropriate journals, will speak at national and international conferences, and will play a leading role in disseminating information to the Houston community through lectures, publications and museum websites.
The Scientist will serve as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Rice University and will have access to analytical equipment at Rice as required until the MFAH Center for Conservation is fully equipped. The Scientist will also co-teach courses in the Chemistry and Art History departments at Rice.
Skills, Knowledge and Abilities:
The scientist will have up-to-date knowledge of the structure, properties, and behavior of the materials used in the creation and conservation of works of art. He/she will have
experience with various methods used in their analysis and identification, including, but not limited to: FTIR, GC-MS, RP-HPLC, XRD, XRF, and SEM w/EDS.
Excellent communication, interpersonal, organizational and research skills will be required and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team. An interest in and a demonstrable knowledge of the range of the collections in Houston would be an advantage.
Education and Experience:
The Scientist will have a Ph.D. in a physical science, and experience and ability in research and teaching at the graduate level, including a substantial record of publication. He/she will have experience in studying art and artifacts of an encyclopedic museum collection, and in analyzing their constituent materials. The Scientist will have worked alongside practicing conservators in a museum or university department, understand the range of conservation materials and techniques currently in use, and contribute to technical advances in the field.
How to Apply:
Send cv and letter of interest to Human Resources, Job 14-112CON, P.O. Box 6826, Houston TX 77265-6826; Fax 713-639-7508 or email:
Please Note: Deadline for accepting application is June 21, 2014