Museum conservator (St. Mary’s City, MD, USA)

Historic St. Mary’s City Commission
St. Mary’s City, MD USA

Historic St. Mary’s City is seeking a Conservator to care for its collection of approximately six million archaeological artifacts.  Applications are being accepted now.  Review of applications will begin August 15th. Salary range is US$55,000-$62,000.

Please send a cover letter and resume with the names and contact information for three professional references to: Porzia Purves: (240) 895-4960

Organization Description
Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) is a museum of living history and archaeology located on the site of Maryland’s first capital (1634-1695).  Decades of research are the foundation of outdoor exhibits constructed in a beautiful tidewater landscape.  Recreated structures in the historic town center, a Woodland Indian hamlet, a tall ship, and a tobacco plantation staffed by costumed or uniformed interpreters help visitors understand the stories of Maryland’s founding. Reconstruction of the Brick Chapel of 1667 stands a symbol of the religious freedom established by the Lords Baltimore in the seventeenth century.

HSMC is one of Southern Maryland’s leading tourism attractions and hosts an active school tour program.  The museum’s collections are a resource for professional archaeologists, scholars, and college students.  The HSMC colonial archaeology field school, the longest running field school in the nation, attracts students from all over the United States as well as from other countries. The museum is an independent agency of the State of Maryland, within the Office of the Governor.

Job Summary
Reporting to the Director of Research and Collections, the Conservator will undertake the direct treatment and preventive conservation care of objects in consultation with the Curator of Collections. This individual will work closely with other museum personnel to conserve the museum’s archaeological artifacts and archives to prepare them for exhibition and/or long-term storage.

Essential Functions:

The Conservator accomplishes examination, preventive maintenance, and treatment of the Museum collections

  • Conducts examination, documentation, analysis, and artifact treatment within the collection following established conservation procedures, methodologies, and professional ethics.
  • When necessary, based on the conservation needs of an artifact, develop new conservation techniques and procedures in consultation with the Curator of Collections and Director of Research and Collections.
  • Maintains detailed before, during, and after treatment records including both written and photographic documentation. All photography and imagery will be kept in digital format according to professional  procedures and standards.
  • Promotes the importance of conservation within the museum and in an outreach capacity whenever possible.
  • Responsible for completing associated documentation, analysis, and research as well as working with curatorial and collections staff on handling, storage, exhibition, and loan of the collections.
  • Contributes to outreach efforts and also mentors and supervises interns and volunteers.
  • Performs examination of non-archaeological museum objects as required and prepares documentation, including written and photographic reports.
  • Performs preventive conservation and maintenance in coordination with the Curator of Collections, including Integrated Pest Management, environmental monitoring, and emergency planning for collection galleries, exhibitions on the property of HSMC, and storage areas.
  • Performs technical study and analysis of materials and methods of manufacture, including imaging and analytical techniques related to research by the collections and archaeological staff.
  • Collaborates with Curator of Collections on organization and maintenance of storage and objects on display including routine cleaning procedures for objects out of display cases.
  • Plans exhibition mounting with Exhibition Design as needed.
  • Ensures maintenance of lab equipment and supplies.
  • Establishes lab procedures following professional standards
  • Conducts objects handling training with staff, students, volunteers, etc.
  • Pursues professional development and maintains participation in professional organizations.
  • Participates in relevant museum meetings.
  • Adheres to professional standards for ethical practice in accordance with the American Institute for Conservation.
  • Identifies and suggests methods to improve standards related to department or museum practices or procedures.
  • Performs related duties as required.

Desired knowledge, skills, and abilities:

The incumbent should possess

  • Working knowledge of acceptable practices for conservation and maintenance of objects.
  • Working knowledge of archaeological methods and practices.
  • Continuing professional development in the conservation field.
  • Working knowledge of analytical equipment and methods, including but not limited to FT-IR, SEM, XRF, digital radiography, optical microscopy, chloride analysis, metals sample preparation, and film/digital photography.
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.
  • Development of educational materials/activities for public outreach.
  • Familiarity with accepted practices for achieving and insuring safety in the laboratory.
  • Familiarity with a wide variety of materials including metals and organics as well as knowledge of archaeological conservation methods pertaining to excavated finds.
  • Ability to work productively with senior staff who have highly specialized knowledge of their areas of responsibility; a team builder.

Education and Professional Experience

  • A master’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited conservation training program in the United States or abroad. A Conservation degree with specialization in objects, particularly archaeological and ethnographic materials, or related field is preferable, and four years of experience beyond internship level.
  • The candidate must be a good standing member of the American Institute for Conservation, and be able to demonstrate the required professional experience required for this position. The candidate must be able to show that they are working toward or have gained their professional associate status with the AIC in the next few years.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of established and emerging methods for treatment, preventive care, and analysis of museum objects.

Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications, and competitive with comparable  positions at other regional non-profit organizations of comparable size.  The museum offers a generous benefits package as well the opportunity to inspire and enlighten visitors and staff.

Historic St. Mary’s City is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from all qualified candidates, including minority candidates.