Paper Conservator (Newport News, VA, USA)

The Mariners’ Museum is looking for a conservator who will undertake the direct treatment and preventive conservation care of works on paper within the collection of The Mariners’ Museum and Park with a primary focus on prints, drawings, watercolors, and documents. This individual will work closely with conservation staff and other museum personnel to conserve these objects and prepare them for exhibition, long-term storage, loan, and photography, etc.

  • Job tracking ID: 512466-600087
  • Job level: Mid-career (2+ years)
  • Level of education: Master’s Degree
  • Job type: Full-time/regular
  • Date updated: December 15, 2017
  • Years of experience: 5 – 7 Years
  • Starting date: March 1, 2018


  • Conduct examination, documentation, and treatment of paper-based objects within The Mariners’ Museum and Park’s collection following established conservation procedures, methodologies, and ethics set out by The American Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works.
  • Maintain detailed before-, during-, and after-treatment records including both written and photographic documentation.
  • When necessary, based on the conservation needs of an object, develop new conservation techniques and procedures in consultation with the Director of Conservation and other conservation personnel.
  • Assess the condition of new acquisitions and prepare written condition reports, including photographic documentation. If necessary, conduct basic cleaning and stabilization of new acquisitions and prepare the associated treatment records.
  • Construct storage support systems for objects with special needs directly; otherwise provide training and support to collection care personnel based on current storage techniques and methods.
  • Consult/work directly with the Director of Conservation, Exhibit Design, Collections management and Curatorial, and Library and Archives personnel in the preparation of mounts, frames, and the installation of works on paper within the museum’s galleries; this includes providing the requirements for lighting and environmental conditions.
  • Support/facilitate preventative conservation methodology, initiate requests, implement solutions under established conservation guidelines, and make recommendations for resolving difficult or unusual problems.
  • Conduct conservation assessment and treatment of objects loaned to the Museum when required and when authorized by the owner and produce the associated written and photographic documentation.
  • Conduct conservation assessments and prepare cost estimates for the treatment of potential outgoing loans
  • Provide recommendations in consultation with the Director of Conservation on the ability for objects to travel outside the museum based on their condition; including outlining the requirements for lighting and environmental conditions.
  • Assist in review of loan requests and make recommendations toward approval or decline of loans when needed.
  • Construct packing mounts and systems for fragile/special needs objects directly; otherwise provide recommendations/support to collection care personnel.
  • Assist in the maintenance/operation of laboratory equipment and facility, and participate in the ordering of supplies and additional equipment as required.
  • Participate in professional organizations, workshops, conferences, online courses and other activities in order to enhance personal knowledge and expertise and stay up-to-date with current practices and advances in technology and methodology.
  • Promote the importance of conservation within the museum and in an outreach capacity whenever possible.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


 Knowledge, skills, abilities:

  • Working knowledge of acceptable practices for conservation and maintenance for works on paper with previous experience treating prints, drawings, watercolors, and documents required.
  • Working knowledge and experience in current conservation matting and framing techniques for most types of paper artifacts.
  • Working knowledge of digital photography.
  • Familiarity with analytical equipment and methods
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.
  • Organizational skills necessary for planning/organizing of professional seminars, lectures, workshops, and publications.
  • Development of educational materials/activities for public outreach.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Familiarity with accepted practices for achieving and insuring safety in the laboratory.
  • Consistent capacity for respectful and professional interpersonal relations.

Education, licensure, certifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree with a major in an art, history, or a science-related field of study.
  • A Master’s degree (or equivalent) in paper conservation from a recognized training program.
  • Professional Associate member status of The American Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works preferred.

Conditions of Employment: A minimum of four years of post-graduate conservation experience is required.

The Mariners’ Museum offers a comprehensive benefits package for regular full-time staff, and their eligible dependents which includes medical and dental insurance (cost-sharing involved) as well as term life insurance, long-term disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, and a 403(b) pension plan. In addition, paid vacation, sick leave, and holiday pay is provided to all regular full-time staff.

To apply, visit: