Conservator – Art (Washington, DC, USA)

By Paid Job Ads posted 08-03-2018 14:54

  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution
  • GS- 11-12
  • Position closes August 15, 2018

This position is located in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG), Smithsonian Institution.  The employee is responsible for the paintings in the permanent collection monitoring the condition of the works of art; creating and maintaining documentation relating to their condition, installation, and display; and carrying out conservation treatments.

  • Performs technical examinations of works of art to determine their condition, including the kind and extent of deterioration and treatment needed if any.
  • Examines works considered for purchase and/or loan to determine state of preservation and treatment that would be required to make the artwork exhibitable.
  • Works with living artists, artists’ studios, galleries, and/or artists’ estates to document fabrication methods and materials and to explore the long-term preservation considerations of the individual artworks.
  • Reports on variations in temperature and humidity that could detrimental to works of art in the building, and follows through to ensure appropriate corrective actions are taken.  Monitors potential hazards in museum spaces resulting from unfavorable environmental conditions, human neglect, or carelessness.

Evaluation of candidates based on, among other criteria in official job posting:
  • Knowledge of conservation methods and techniques in order to implement procedures for the conservation and preservation of works of arts.
  • Knowledge of treatments on contemporary paintings and familiarity with treating modern paints and a wide range of art making materials from the late 20th and early 21st century.
  • Skill in working with living artists in relation to the preservation of their artwork.
  • Ability to communicate orally to consult and advise on conservation issues, give lab tours, carry out artist interviews, and develop and present educational materials.
  • Ability to communicate in writing in order to prepare written reports treatment proposals, policies and guidelines relates to handling art collection.
  • Knowledge of environmental risk and other phenomena contributing to or causing deterioration of objects in order to prevent damage and select appropriate treatments.

The conservation department, including the new paintings conservator, will be moving into a brand new, state of the art multi-disciplinary lab space within the museum at the beginning of 2019.
Please see full posting and application instructions at

Please also note that this position has a promotion potential to a GS-12.