Conservator - Costume Institute

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Job location: 
New York
Salary Start: 
Salary End: 
Contract type: 
Application deadline: 
Wednesday, 1 March, 2023 - 00:00

About the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in two iconic sites in New York City—The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online.

Since its founding in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. We are committed to fostering a collaborative and respectful work environment with a staff as diverse as the audiences we engage. Our staff members are art lovers who are passionate about working toward a common goal: creating the most dynamic and inspiring art museum in the world.

At The Met, every staff member – from security officers to researchers to scientists and beyond – lives by our core values of respect, inclusivity, collaboration, excellence, and integrity.

Respect: Engage one another with collegiality, empathy, and kindness, always.

Inclusivity: Ensure that all are and feel welcome and valued.

Collaboration: Reach across boundaries to exchange ideas and work together toward our shared mission.

Excellence: Lead the cultural world in quality and expertise—and inspire curiosity and creativity.

Integrity: Hold ourselves to the highest moral standards, admit when we fall short, and then evolve.


The Conservator has the overall responsibility to ensure the proper care, preservation, and treatment of The Costume Institute’s encyclopedic collection and coordinate flexible conservation support to the department’s ongoing commitments (exhibitions and installations, loans and acquisitions, assessments) and special projects. Conservator is relied upon to establish and recommend conservation guidelines, oversee condition reports, packing and storage, object treatments, and provide project management of departmental conservation and installation activities, while collaborating closely with the curatorial and collections management staff and other institutions in a fast-paced environment. Conservator supervises The CI Conservation Lab and staff.


Coordinate and establish conservation initiatives, maintenance, and treatments related to The Costume Institute Collection in consultation with departmental curators.

Oversee and coordinate all object installations and de-installations, both loans and in-house exhibitions, oversee and participate in exhibition maintenance.

Manage conservation treatment and condition reports for all objects, incoming/outgoing loans, and acquisitions.

Survey collections and evaluate environmental conditions to provide recommendations for proper and safe storage and exhibition.

Supervise Conservation staff (Conservator, Associate Conservator, and Assistant Conservators), contract conservators, and interns to ensure the highest quality work is performed in a timely and efficient manner.

Assist Collections Manager with conservation planning, and advise on storage and object issues.

Oversee CI Conservation Laboratory activities, upkeep, and maintenance.

Other duties as assigned


Experience and Skills:

Demonstrated experience and advanced knowledge in the treatment and preservation of historic costumes, textiles, and accessories, and established textile conservation procedures and protocols

Knowledge of sewing techniques and garment construction; sewing, object dressing, and hand skills

Knowledge of dyes, microscopy, instrumental and other analytical tools for the investigation of objects

Excellent prioritization, planning, and organizational skills, and project management experience; attention to detail with dedicated follow-up

Ability to work and manage the team in an efficient manner in order to fulfill a heavy exhibition, loan, and acquisitions schedule along with permanent collection needs

Experience and commitment to working in a collaborative environment

Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills

Comfort with public speaking

Knowledge and Education:

Required, minimum of ten years as a practicing conservator; museum experience preferred

Required, minimum of five years conservation laboratory management and administrative experience

Required, advanced degree in Textile Conservation

Preferred, graduate level degree in Costume Studies

Knowledge of fashion history

Compensation Range:

Pay Range: $95,000 - $110,000

The advertised pay scale reflects the good faith minimum and maximum salary range for this role. The advertised pay scale is not a promise of a particular wage for any specific employee. The specific compensation offered to a candidate may be dependent on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the candidate’s experience, education, special licensing or qualifications, and other factors.

Benefits Offerings

The Museum provides competitive compensation, and generous benefits and perks for all eligible employees. Note: Benefits Offering may differ based on Employee Status.

Medical, dental, vision and life insurance
403(b) basic retirement plan and optional matching retirement plan with an outstanding employer match
Considerable paid time off, including annual leave, sick leave, and 13 Museum holidays
Long-term disability coverage
Flexible Spending Accounts & Health Savings Account (pre-tax income for eligible health care expenses)
Commuter benefits (pre-tax income for parking or mass transit expenses)
Free financial-planning services
Financial assistance for relevant coursework, seminars, and training programs
25% discount for staff in Museum shops
A subsidized staff cafeteria
Access to the Museums Council pass, which grants free admission to various museums and cultural institutions
Research shows that women and people from underrepresented groups often apply to jobs only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. We recognize that it is highly unlikely that someone meets 100% of the qualifications for a role. If much of this job description describes you, then please apply for this role.

The Met is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. As part of this commitment, The Met will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If reasonable accommodation is needed in this process, please contact

The Metropolitan Museum of Art provides equal opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, alienage or citizenship status, marital status or domestic partner status, genetic information, genetic predisposition or carrier status, gender identity, HIV status, military status and any other category protected by law in all employment decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, training and apprenticeship, promotion, upgrading, demotion, downgrading, transfer, lay-off and termination, and all other terms and conditions of employment.

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