Collections Care Assistant (San Francisco, CA, USA)



The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are seeking a Collections Care Assistant to perform skilled work related to the conservation of works of art spanning a wide range of materials and cultures. The primary responsibility of this full-time position is the preventive care of artworks in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco at both the deYoung Museum and the Legion of Honor. The Collections Care Assistant will also have duties related to temporary exhibitions and the lending of objects to other institutions.

Typical duties and responsibilities:

  1. Assists conservators with monitoring and maintaining art work being displayed in the galleries.
  2. Works with objects and textile conservators and technicians to prepare objects for storage, display, and travel. This may include assisting with written and photographic condition documentation.
  3. Assists objects conservators in the regular maintenance and cleaning of outdoor sculptures
  4. Performs pest control duties, including placement, documentation, and monitoring of traps, and preparing artworks for freezing and anoxic treatment.
  5. With direction from Conservators, collects and tracks information on environmental conditions throughout the museums. Maintains monitoring equipment and instructions for use.
  6. Works with conservators to calculate and provide conditioning materials for display cases.
  7. Carries out testing (Oddy Tests) for materials to be considered in display cases or in direct contact with artworks, and provides results and information to conservators for interpretation.

Minimum qualifications:

Education, Training and Experience

  • High School Diploma; Bachelor’s Degree preferred.
  • Minimum of 2 years of museum or related experience working with art objects; or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience

Knowledge, Abilities and Skills

  • Ability to handle valuable objects, delicate instruments and hazardous materials with extreme care.
  • Basic knowledge of the equipment, materials and techniques used in the conservation and mounting of textiles, costumes and three-dimensional artworks.
  • Familiarity with or ability to acquire the knowledge and techniques used in preventive conservation
  • Computer literate, with an aptitude for learning new software programs. Familiarity with Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop, Filemaker Pro, and collections management software preferred.
  • Ability to use hand tools and artist’s materials.
  • Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Willingness to work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment
  • Must be able to lift and/or move up to 50 lbs and to work comfortably and safely on ladders or lift equipment.

Step 1 of the pay range is $20.75 per hour.

This Union position is full-time, and has a full benefits package including medical, dental, vision and generous vacation, sick, and holiday policy.

Application Deadline: April 6, 2018


The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which comprises the de Young and Legion of Honor Museums, is experiencing an exciting renaissance with the arrival in 2016 of Director Max Hollein. As the largest public arts institution in San Francisco, the Museums welcome more than 1.5 million visitors annually, present an ambitious schedule of exhibitions and education programs throughout the year, house a world-class collection of 151,000 important artworks, and are supported by more than 100,000 members and donors. Under the leadership of Mr. Hollein, the staff is building on these successes to take the Museums to new heights with an exciting new array of innovative and groundbreaking projects.

COFAM is the Corporation of Fine Arts Museums and is the privately funded non-profit corporation which supports the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, a department of the City and County of San Francisco.

COFAM is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in all phases of employment in accordance with all federal, state, and local laws.

CCN Seeking New Social Media Chair – Applications Due February 15th!

CCN Seeking New Social Media Chair
Attention, Emerging Conservation Professionals! The Collections Care Network (CCN) is currently seeking a new Social Media Chair. This position would be an excellent opportunity for an ECP to put his or her social media skills to good use, become more involved within our organization, and take professional service to the next level!
The Social Media Chair is a new Officer position approved by the AIC Board this Fall. The applicant for this position should have extensive knowledge of the audience, purpose, and general outcomes for various social media platforms. Work would include developing content strategies and workflow for feeding content to CCN social media sites that adhere to AIC social media policy, contributing and manage contributions from others to CCN social media sites, and communicating social media outcomes to fellow CCN Officers that might lead to potential CCN projects.
The applicant should have a strong interest in furthering preventive conservation and collection care and excellent writing and organizational skills. The CCN Officers meet once a month via conference call, as well as at the Annual Meeting in May.
To apply, please send a letter of interest and C.V. to Becky Fifield at by February 15. For further information or to discuss the position, you may call Becky at (617) 212-1468. CCN is an AIC board-appointed network. Leadership in a network is by application and selection with final approval by the AIC board. Every effort is made to ensure that the officers represent CCN’s intended demographic, wide geographic representation, and balanced representation from conservators and allied professionals.

42nd Annual Meeting, General Session – Securing The Future of Collections in Zimbabwe’s National Museums through Preventive Conservation: The Case of Zimbabwe Military Museum

Case Studies in Sustainable Collection Care Session, Friday May 30th, 2:50pm
Securing The Future of Collections in Zimbabwe’s National Museums through Preventive Conservation: The Case of Zimbabwe Military Museum
Presenter: Davison Chiwara, assistant lecturer Midlands State University, Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies Department at in Gweru, Zimbabwe
This presentation reported on the analysis of collections care and sustainability at the Zimbabwe Military Museum, and presented recommendations to improve policies and practices. Mr. Chiwara’s presentation provided an important example of profound challenges to cultural heritage preservation faced by museums with restricted financial and organizational resources.
The Zimbabwe Military Museum was founded in 1974, at the end of the civil war in then Rhodesia, and five years prior to the official recognition of the nation of Zimbabwe in southern Africa. The museum is located in Gweru, Zimbabwe approximately 165 miles / 265 km southwest of the capital, Harare.
The analysis of storage conditions, environmental controls, and maintenance practices were evaluated using a survey document, interviews, and first hand observation. Mr. Chiwara’s investigation identified poor storage conditions and the lack of functional policies or guidelines for collections care.  The museum has no purpose-built storage structures, and the existing artifact storage areas lack humidity, temperature, UV light or pest controls.   Examples were presented of an accessioned structure that is currently being used for artifact storage, mold forming on artifacts, water damage, direct sunlight on artifacts, and inadequate housing for archaeological collections.
The museum does not have a collections management policy. A “draft paper” defining a collections policy has been drafted but not accepted by the governing organizing: National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, creating a situation in which the Military Museum does not have a functioning policy nor is it empowered to create its own.
In conclusion Mr. Chiwara stated that preventative conservation is required to preserve the collection, and posited that preventative conservation must include reducing both short and long-term costs. He argued that investment in collections care now is crucial to achieving both of these goals and he recommended establishing standards for collections care and guidelines for implementing preventative conservation practices.