Job posting: Chief Conservator – The Field Museum (Chicago, IL, USA)

The Chief Conservator will undertake conservation planning, programming, and implementation. The individual in this position will also be responsible for the management of conservation programs, facilities, and staff, as well as the examination, documentation, and treatment of objects and specimens in the Museum collections. The Chief Conservator will report to and strongly collaborate with the Head of Anthropology Collections and will consult with the appropriate Collections Administrative Teams. The Chief Conservator will initiate and support awareness and fundraising efforts for collection preservation and the Museum mission.
Duties and Responsibilities

  • Spearheads production and implementation of long range collection conservation planning. Develops and implements collections policies and procedures in collaboration with curators, collection managers, and registrars.
  • Surveys collections in collaboration with curators and collection managers to assess the condition of objects and specimens and determine preservation and treatment needs
  • Documents, examines, and performs conservation treatments and procedures on objects and specimens in the collections.
  • Provides conservation guidance to Collections, Exhibits, and other Museum staff to establish, monitor, and maintain proper environmental conditions in storerooms, exhibits, and work areas as well as to prescribe, review, and upgrade methods and materials used for the storage and packing of objects and specimens
  • Coordinates exhibition conservation program. May perform conservation work for incoming, outgoing, and in-house exhibits including conditioning and overseeing installation
  • Assesses, recommends, and provides treatment of objects and specimens for outgoing loans to borrowing institutions for exhibitions and research. Provides guidance on exhibition mounts. May travel as courier to borrowing institutions to condition report and oversee installations and de-installations
  • Prepares conservation funding proposals
  • Performs research leading to improved methods, materials, and procedures for conservation, storage, and exhibit of specimens; disseminates results in publications and oral presentations
  • Participates in professional meetings, workshops, and other activities to keep current in the field of conservation and enhance professional knowledge and skills
  • Conducts tours and public presentations when needed
  • Supervises and manages all conservation staff as well as volunteers, interns, and visitors as required
  • Responsible for managing the daily operation of the conservation laboratories including the organization, maintenance and ordering of equipment and supplies
  • Performs other conservation and collections-related activities as assigned


  • Degree in conservation from a recognized training program with a specialization in objects and ethnographic conservation
  • Demonstrated extensive conservation experience with management and supervisory responsibilities
  • Demonstrated working knowledge and practice of conservation ethics, theory, method, and literature
  • Working knowledge of lab equipment and chemicals
  • Strong manual skills and attention to detail
  • Demonstrated superb organizational skills
  • Proven verbal and written communication skills
  • Conservation grant writing experience
  • Leadership and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as a member of a team, to enlist the cooperation and involvement of others
  • Demonstrated experience in mentoring conservators, students, and volunteers
  • Demonstrated experience in collection care policy, planning, and implementation
  • Demonstrated experience in resource and project management
  • Skilled in negotiation and resolution of non-routine problems
  • Proven experience with standard digital conservation photography as well as computer proficiency with museum collections databases, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel. Working knowledge of KE EMu highly desirable
  • Experience with natural history collections conservation desirable

Candidates without the requisite experience for Chief Conservator may be considered for a conservation position focusing on ethnographic objects.
To apply to this job online and for more information, visit:
Although applying via our online application system is preferred, you may also mail your resume and cover letter to:
The Field Museum
Attn: Human Resources
1400 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
If you are a qualified individual with a disability or a disabled veteran, you have the right to request reasonable accommodation. Please email us at if you are unable or limited in your ability to use or access our online application as a result of your disability.
The Field Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer.