Assistant Conservator, Objects

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Art Institute of Chicago
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Saturday, 10 April, 2021 - 00:00

The Art Institute of Chicago shares its singular collections with our city and the world. We collect, care for, and interpret works of art across time, cultures, geographies, and identities, centering the vision of artists and makers. We recognize that all art is made in a particular context, demanding continual, dynamic reconsideration in the present. We are a place of gathering; we foster the exchange of ideas and inspire an expansive, inclusive understanding of human creativity.

Position Summary

With varying degrees of supervision, the Assistant Conservator carries out examination, research and treatment of objects in the permanent collection, providing ongoing care to three dimensional works of art of all provenance and times. Conducts in-depth studies and publishes on artists’ technique and on methods and materials used in the making of works of art. Assists with preparation, installation, and documentation of exhibitions and loans, and serves as a courier with artwork as needed. Assists with monitoring temperature, relative humidity and air quality in the galleries, exhibitions, the laboratory, and storage. Is committed to and actively engaged in fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment.


1. With mentorship from the Director of Objects and Textiles Conservation designs and carries out ongoing care and specific treatment strategies for collections and loan works to keep pace with a very active exhibition, acquisition and publication program. Initiates and develops new solutions to standard condition problems, often resulting in marked aesthetic enhancement of works in the collection. Provides condition reports and, with supervision, initiates treatment proposals for works in the collection, in collaboration with Curators.

2. Examines objects for the purposes of research and for the assessment of condition. Conducts investigations with microscopic examination, pigment sampling, ultraviolet and infra-red examination, high-energy x-radiography, and sampling for elemental analysis and thermoluminescence testing; working with scientists to address questions about materials, processes, authenticity and alteration.

3. Responsible for detailed record keeping of all treatments and examinations performed on works of art, including the taking of digital photographs, detailed photomicrographs using the stereo microscope and the use of relevant image processing software.

4. With appropriate mentorship, performs evaluation and preparation of objects for simple cases of loans to other institutions. Examines, writes condition reports and recommends environmental standards for objects in the permanent collection as they enter and leave the museum.

5. With mentorship from the Director of Objects and Textiles Conservation examines and writes in-depth reports and makes recommendations on objects being considered for purchase by the curatorial departments.

6. Manages the conservation requirements for exhibitions, including condition reporting and minor treatment, and ensuring that environmental requirements of lenders are met.

7. When appropriate, advises museum curators, technicians, art installers, and packers in the handling, exhibition, installation, and packing of works of art.

8. Supports the museum in its commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution; treats colleagues and visitors fairly and respectfully, recognizing the value that diverse backgrounds and perspectives bring to our organization.


Masters degree from a recognized conservation training program with a minimum of two years of post-graduate experience, or equivalent training and experience. Proven expertise in the treatment of a wide range of inorganic and organic materials, including but not limited to, stone, metal, ceramic, glass, wood, plastic, ivory, painted surfaces and composite materials. Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

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The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace.