Willman Spawn Conservation Internship

The Library of the American Philosophical Society (APS) is seeking applicants with significant previous paper and/or book conservation experience for this year’s Willman Spawn Conservation Internship. The successful candidate will report to the APS Conservation Department and will gain practical experience in a professional conservation laboratory through conservation treatment of manuscripts, books, documents, and other graphic materials on paper, as well as environmental monitoring and rehousing of materials. The intern’s special interests and specific goals will be considered as part of the internship. The intern will also be expected to write a blog post about the internship and to give an informal talk to library staff.

Founded in 1743, the Library of the American Philosophical Society, located near Independence Hall in Philadelphia, is a leading international center for research in the history of American and European science and technology, early American history and culture, and Native American languages and cultures. The Library houses over 13 million manuscript leaves, 275,000 volumes and bound periodicals, thousands of prints and maps, and large audio, video, and digital holdings. Outstanding historical collections and subject areas include the papers of Benjamin Franklin (14,000 letters and documents); Jefferson’s holograph of the Declaration of Independence; western scientific expeditions and travel, including the original journals of Lewis and Clark; polar exploration; history of physics and 20th-century medical research.

The APS Conservation Department currently has a staff of two conservators: Head of Conservation Anne Downey, a paper conservator, and Assistant Conservator Renée Wolcott, a book conservator. An Assistant Paper Conservator will be joining the department in October. Together the conservation staff is responsible for item-level conservation of library materials, surveying the collections for conservation and preservation needs, monitoring the library environment, and preparing library materials for loan and exhibition.

This year’s internship is designed for college graduates who are now in the process of applying to graduate programs in art conservation, graduate students who are currently pursuing studies in an accredited master’s program in art conservation, and conservators who have graduated from such a program within the last 12 months. The internship may be full time or part time, and the length and start date of the internship are negotiable. The internship is temporary and will pay $16–$20 per hour based on the intern’s previous conservation experience. Pay is capped at a total of $8,786 for the internship period, and no benefits are offered with this position. Preference will be given to applicants who have previous library conservation treatment experience and can work independently with little supervision.

Applications will be accepted through August 24, 2018.

The American Philosophical Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Successful applicants will be asked to show proof that they legally can work in the United States.

To apply, upload CV or résumé, a cover letter explaining qualifications for and interest in the position and three references (not letters of reference, please) to http://apply.interfolio.com/52258.

Please direct any questions to Renée Wolcott, Assistant Conservator, at rwolcott@amphilsoc.org

Internship in Paper Conservation (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum of the Netherlands. The collection contains 1.1 million (art) objects from and relating to the Netherlands from the Middle Ages until the 20th century. The museum receives over two million visitors a year with a stunning building, surprising decor, beautiful exhibitions, lively events and many pleasant facilities for young and old.

The Rijksmuseum’s dynamic and diverse Conservation Department is housed in the Ateliergebouw, or Studio Building, across the street from the main museum. In addition to the six conservation studios and laboratories of the Rijksmuseum, the building hosts the conservation training program of the University of Amsterdam, the Scientific Department of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) and the newly formed Netherlands Institute of Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS). The strong collaboration between conservators, scientific researchers and art historians in the three institutes makes for an interdisciplinary and inspiring environment.

The department of Paper Conservation consists of a core team of three paper conservators, two photographic materials conservators and three conservation technicians and is supplemented by many other conservators working on different projects, as well as researchers and scientists. Together they are responsible for the conservation of the collection of the Rijksprentenkabinet: the largest museum collection of prints, drawings and photographs of the Netherlands.

The Rijksmuseum is inviting applications for: Internship in Paper Conservation.

The position is full-time (36 hours per week) for the duration of 3 to 6 months, to be scheduled in 2019, in accordance with the interns training program and the department schedule.

The intern will be given the opportunity to carry out conservation treatments on works of art on paper and conduct research on their materials, techniques and condition. The intern will also assist the paper conservators with monitoring the condition and maintenance of the collection, preparing prints and drawings for loans, writing condition reports, (de-) installing exhibitions, and assisting with on-going research projects. The Paper Conservation department works closely with the Curatorial Department, and the intern will be expected to participate in discussions about on-going treatments and research projects. Interns will also have the opportunity to attend regular talks organized by the three institutions mentioned above.

Requirements: For the duration of the entire internship applicants must be students enrolled in an MA-level conservation training program with a specialization in paper conservation. Applicants should possess:

*   Sufficient knowledge and skills to carry out practical conservation treatments
*   Interest in integrating scientific research into conservation practice
*   Basic knowledge of analytical methods useful for research
*   Fluency in Dutch or English, spoken and written
*   The ability to work in a team

Terms: The internship is unpaid. A modest monthly stipend of 250 euros a month based on a 36-hours working week is offered. Special requirements are in place for students coming from outside the European Union.

Information: The application requires a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae and two letters of recommendation, by sending to vacatures@rijksmuseum.nl. For further information, please contact Idelette van Leeuwen, Head of Paper Conservation, tel: +31(0)20-67474113. For questions regarding the application procedure, please contact Lieke Boers, Personnel Officer, tel. +31(0)20-6747304.

The closing date for all applications is August 7, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. (Amsterdam time/CET). No applications will be accepted after the deadline. All applications must be submitted in Dutch or in English by email: vacatures@rijksmuseum.nl. Applications or related materials in any other form will not be accepted. Applicants will be notified by September 1, 2018.

Supervisory Librarian (Head, Paper Conservation Section) (Washington DC, USA) – now closed

The Library of Congress seeks a Supervisory Conservator (Librarian job series) to head the Paper Conservation Section in the Conservation Division. The Conservation Division is responsible for all work related to the assessment, stabilization, and conservation treatment of artifacts on paper and other substrates in the Library’s special collections and works closely with all custodial divisional representatives to develop, establish, coordinate and carry out a comprehensive, Library-wide conservation treatment program appropriate to the collections’ needs. The incumbent serves as Section Head and is responsible for work conducted in this section, which includes assessments, surveys, evaluations, treatments, documentation, and housing of paper format collections and paper artifacts; preparation work for exhibitions; research into optimizing paper conservation treatment methods and protocols; participation in the division’s intern program and other teaching and training programs; and creation of publications, reports, and guidelines.

  • Open & closing dates: 2018-05-14 to 2018-06-15
  • Pay scale & grade: GS 13
  • Salary: $96,970 to $126,062 / Per Year (Reflects the locality pay adjustments for the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area)
  • Appointment type: Permanent. This is a supervisory, non-bargaining unit position

Anyone may apply – By law, employment at most U.S. Government agencies, including the Library of Congress, is limited to U.S. citizens. However, non-citizens may be hired, provided that other legal requirements are met and the Library determines there are no qualified U.S. citizens available for the position.

You can find the posting and start the application process at: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/499463500

As Section Head, manages and supervises staff at grade levels GS-05 through GS-12. Provides administrative and technical supervision needed for accomplishing the section’s work. Performs administrative and human resources management tasks related to the staff supervised. Establishes guidelines and performance expectations for staff, which are clearly communicated through the formal employee performance management system and ongoing informal discussions throughout the year. Develops work improvement plans to improve productivity and/or the quality of conservation services. Ensures subordinates receive training to successfully perform and fully comply with Library of Congress regulations. Ensures personnel management in the organizational entity under supervision is accomplished without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin.

Plans, distributes, and reviews conservation activities undertaken by Paper Conservation Section staff. Oversees all section activities performed by staff and contractors, including conducting condition surveys of internal collections and individual items, technical analyses, developing treatment plans and selecting or designing and creating appropriate housings, conducting conservation treatment, documenting item condition and treatment, and preparing collections items for digitalization, loan, move, exhibition, and other usage preparations for such paper-based items as broadsides, charts, drawings, graphic prints, manuscripts, maps, posters and sketches.

Upon request by the Chief of the Conservation Division, designs centralized and mission-specific projects using established and/or proposed program objectives. Manages divisional programs and projects with a focused, mission-specific scope. Identifies and implements needed actions concerning development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of preservation programs and projects. Submits program goals and reports annual results to the Division Chief.

Develops, establishes, and maintains professional relationships with librarians, curators, facilities staff, Capitol Police, and other specialists to share resources and information to coordinate workflow, project planning and policy development in the Library. As a consultant, provides technical recommendations on the conservation and/or preservation of Library materials.

Conditions of Employment
The Supervisor leads his/her staff toward meeting the Library’s vision, mission, and goals by acting decisively, leveraging diversity and inclusiveness, demonstrating flexibility and resilience, fostering continuous improvement and innovation, and fostering integrity and honesty. To view the Library’s Supervisory Core Competencies click the following link: http://www.loc.gov/hr/employment/uploads/loc_supervisor_core_competencies.pdf

Applicants must have had progressively responsible experience and training sufficient in scope and quality to furnish them with an acceptable level of the following knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties of the position without more than normal supervision.

  • Ability to supervise and lead a diverse specialized and technical staff **
  • Knowledge and application of the principles, concepts, and techniques of preservation and conservation **
  • Ability to analyze, organize, plan, and execute preservation and conservation programs and projects
  • Ability to provide consultation or liaison duties
  • Ability to build and maintain professional relationships
  • Ability to communicate in writing
  • Ability to communicate effectively other than in writing

How You Will Be Evaluated
The Library of Congress evaluates applicants through an applicant questionnaire and a structured interview. Applicants may also be screened for some jobs through licensing, certification, and/or education requirements, a narrative/application review, and/or a preliminary telephone interview. The knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that are marked with a double asterisk (**) in the vacancy announcement and the applicant questionnaire are considered the most critical for a position. To be considered for final selection, applicants must demonstrate fully acceptable experience in these designated KSAs in the narrative/application review, preliminary telephone and/or full structured interview. The various assessment tools listed above are designed to verify or explore applicants’ experience, knowledge, and training directly related to the job in order to identify the best qualified applicants for selection.

If you have questions about this posting, position requirements, or job responsibilities, please contact me at eeus@loc.gov or (202) 707-5838.

Conservator of Paper (Atlanta, GA, USA)


The Atlanta Art Conservation Center is seeking a full-time, paper conservator to manage and run the paper conservation division within the regional conservation facility in Atlanta. The conservator will work alongside two paintings conservators and an object conservator. The paper conservator will manage all activities including documentation, analysis and treatment for the paper based fine art collections of the AACC’s member institutions, will supervise interns and will assist with team projects within in the conservation center as work load and deadlines fluctuate.

The candidate should have a degree in graduate-level studies with a specialization in paper materials and a minimum of five years of  post-graduate experience or equivalent education and work/life experience demonstrating expertise in the analysis, documentation, conservation treatment and preventive care for all types of paper based art and historic artifacts. The conservator should demonstrate knowledge of art history, art fabrication and conservation practices for fine and contemporary art as well as the use of non-destructive analytical examination techniques.

Excellent oral, written and interpersonal communication skills, computer proficiency and strong organizational abilities will be required. The candidate should be willing to travel periodically to carry out site work for member institutions.

The AACC offers a full benefits package including an annual research stipend. Title and salary will be commensurate with the successful applicant’s qualifications and experience.

For further information contact: Leslie Paisley, Paper Conservator/Department Head at lpaisley@williamstownart.org.

To apply, please submit a cover letter and contact information for three references to Thomas Branchick, tbranchick@williamstownart.org Director, Williamstown Art Conservation Center, 227 South Street, Williamstown, Ma. 01267.  Tel: 413-458-5741.

Fellowship in Paper Conservation (Philadelphia, PA, USA)

The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, the non-profit paper conservation laboratory located in Philadelphia, PA, is pleased to offer a twelve-month fellowship in the conservation of works on paper beginning September 4, 2018. The candidate will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of paper-based materials, including works of art on paper, maps, archival materials, and parchment documents in a modern, well-equipped conservation laboratory. The candidate may also have the opportunity to participate in on-site collection surveys, treatment projects, and educational programs.

The applicant should have a M.A. degree from a recognized conservation training program or have equivalent experience from a formal apprenticeship. In addition to a stipend, comprehensive health insurance, two weeks’ vacation, two weeks research/professional development leave, and a $2,000 travel allowance are provided. Interested applicants should send a resume, three letters of professional reference, and three sample treatment reports to Mary Schobert, Director of Conservation, CCAHA, 264 South 23rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 or mschobert@ccaha.orgDeadline for applications is March 26, 2018.

Fellowship: Mellon Fellowship in Paper Conservation – Museo de Arte de Ponce (Ponce, PR, USA)

Fellowship Summary
Under general supervision by Paper Conservator, the Fellow Conservator will assist all duties related to the performance of preventive conservation treatments, the item-by-item condition reports and the substitution of storage conservation materials of the permanent paper collection. The successful candidate will also assist with the day-to-day conservation tasks, preservation education and exhibition-related projects.
Duration of Fellowship
The Museo de Arte de Ponce offers a two and a half year fellowship, from the 17th of January 2017 to the 14th of June 2019.
Stipend and Allowance
The Fellow will receive a stipend of $32,000 a year (plus Health Care, Social Security and 15-day vacation), with an additional $2,000 allowance for travel.
– Bachelor Degree in science or arts;
– Master’s Degree in Art Conservation, specialized in Paper Conservation from a recognized institution;
– Intern experience in paper conservation in museum environment;
– Good communication skills and willing to work enthusiastically with colleagues;
– Ability to work in a wide range of conservation activities; and
– Flexibility to adjust to unplanned changes.
Application Process
Applicants must submit a cover letter summarizing their interest, a resume and the three (3) references to: Mariela Vera, Human Resources and Volunteer Coordinator, by sending an e-mail to mvera@museoarteponce.org. Please combine the cover letter, resume and references into a one document.
Deadline to apply is October 24, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST.
Museum Background
Founded in 1959, the Museo de Arte de Ponce holds one of the most important collections of European art in the Caribbean and Latin America. The museum is devoted to exhibiting, studying, and conserving visual art of the Western tradition from the fourteenth century to the present. There are around 4,500 objects in the collection, of which the strongest areas are Italian paintings from 1600-1750, French and Spanish painting and sculpture from 1600-1900, and British painting from 1800-1900. Visitors will also find works by Caribbean artists (and some Latin American) from the eighteenth century to the present.

44th Annual Meeting – Book and Paper, May 16: “Watercolor Pencils: Composition and Conservation Concerns,” presented by Lauren Buttle and Natasa Krsmanovic

It always amazes me how much we have still to learn about various types of media. The presentation by Lauren Buttle and Natasa Krsmanovic underscored how little we still know about watercolor pencils (also known as aquarelle or water soluble pencils).

Lauren Buttle and Natasa Krsmanovic
Lauren Buttle and Natasa Krsmanovic present their research on watercolor pencils

Water color pencils first appeared during the 1920s, with Staedtler being the first to mention them in 1928. They are related to copy pencils, which contain a water soluble dye and were introduced in the late nineteenth century.
In their study, Lauren and Natasa and their coauthors, Laura Hashimoto, Michael Doutre, Kaslyne O’Connor and Rosaleen Hill, examined four products: Reeves watercolor pencils, Staedtler karat aquarelle 125, Staedtler ergosoft aquarelle, and Derwent watercolor pencils. These were first analyzed using mid-IR spectroscopy, which revealed that each of the products had the same general composition. All contained clay, water-soluble wax, a polysaccharide binder, and colorants. The wax was further revealed to be a modified polyethylene glycol, or mPEG.
The second phase of the project involved testing samples to determine the impact of conservation treatments and solvents. The researchers drew lines with watercolor pencils onto Windsor & Newton watercolor pen and ink paper that was subsequently cut into 14 sets of inch-long strips. They tested four colors – red, blue, grey, and black – for each product. Of 14 watercolor pencil test strips, seven were stored in the dark (that is, they were not aged), while seven were artificially aged at 95°C and 50% RH for 96 hours. They were then tested for reactivity with water, ethanol, acetone, and toluene immersion for 5 minutes each, non-contact exposure to 100% RH for an hour, and smudging with a smudge stick, with additional samples retained as controls. Color change was measured with a Minolta chromometer, with readings taken thrice for each testing area.
Red watercolor pencil was most sensitive to immersion
Red watercolor pencil was most sensitive to immersion

Their results showed that exposing watercolor pencils to wet treatments is exactly as problematic as one might assume. Aged and unaged samples both experienced significant bleeding when immersed, particularly undergoing aqueous immersion. Of all colors, red had the most dramatic response to immersion. Immersion treatments also resulted in color shifts, with polar solvents causing greater shifts in color than non-polar solvents. However, some of the color change was due to change in the color of the paper.
Humidification appeared to have no effect; however, the researchers did not dry the paper under pressure, and it is possible that there may have been some off-set of color if they had done so. All media was affected by mechanical smudging, although aged media was affected to a smaller degree.
This talk raised a lot of interesting questions, and the discussion following the presentation suggested avenues for further research. One attendee asked when mPEG was introduced, raising the idea that the composition of these pencils has likely changed over time, while others suggested testing the solubility of colors in xylene, or testing the pencil lead directly. This research will be continuing at Queens University, and I am excited to see where it will lead.
Author’s Note: The original version of this blogpost omitted the names of Michael Doutre and Kaslyne O’Connor. The author apologizes for the omission.