Director of the Ford Conservation Center

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History Nebraska
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Sunday, 3 July, 2022 - 12:00

History Nebraska is seeking an innovative and creative leader to serve as the agency’s Director of the Ford Conservation Center. Funded by a mix of state funds, endowments, and earned income, the Ford Center undertakes object, paper, and paintings conservation for both History Nebraska and private clients. More information about the Ford Center can be found at:

This position is accountable for supervising a team of conservators and conservation technicians and is responsible for managing, hiring, performance management, staff development and support. The role sets and manages the budget and is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the laboratories and related equipment. A successful candidate will savor the challenge of soliciting projects and potential clients. This leadership position is committed to advancing the organization’s mission and is actively engaged in fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment.

Salary range is $83,000 - $101,000/year, commensurate with education and experience.

History Nebraska is a statewide educational institution that connects people to the past through our library and research center, conservation facility, interpretive sites, and the state archeology and historic preservation offices. History Nebraska preserves and interprets our state’s past, contributes to the education of its citizens, and uses the tools of history to shape a better future for all Nebraskans. History Nebraska’s goal is to be the most engaging and relevant state historical society in the nation.

Our four core values are:
• We Do It Better Every Time. We are always looking to improve. When we fail, we know why and learn from it.
• We Have Each Other’s Back. We work in groups. We candidly support one another for the betterment of the organization.
• We Own It. If we say we are going to do something, we do our best to get it done.
• We Are Curious. We never stop learning and we encourage curiosity in others.

Examples of Work
• Administer the daily operations of the Ford Center, which functions as both the conservation division of History Nebraska and as a regional conservation facility serving institutions and individuals in the Midwest region.

• Provide supervision for Ford Center staff. Plan, assign, direct, and evaluate the work of professional conservators, conservation technicians, students, and interns in the Objects, Paintings, and Paper Conservation Laboratories.

• Work with both History Nebraska and Regional Center clients to develop and execute conservation assessment, survey, and treatment projects; provide guidance to conservators and technicians on conservation projects; review and approve proposals, estimates, and reports; ensure provision of conservation services that follow the AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.

• Solicit projects and clients through outreach, marketing, and potentially seeking funding through grants and other private funding for long-term support.

• Prepare and administer the Ford Center budget. Assess and plan for both short and long-range supply, equipment, and building needs; hire and manage contracted staff for building maintenance and repair projects.

• Advocate for the conservation and preservation of art, historic, and cultural artifacts. Provide guidance, recommendations, presentations, and publications on current best practice in preventive care subjects including environmental conditions, storage, housing, artifact handling, exhibits, integrated pest management, and emergency preparedness/response to agency management, staff, other state agencies, community organizations, and the general public.

• Develop and implement long-range conservation and preservation priorities for the artifact collections held in trust by History Nebraska.

• Maintain current knowledge of best practices within the field of conservation and cultural heritage preservation; represent the Ford Center at professional conferences, events, and meetings; support the continuing education and professional development of Ford Center staff.

• Support History Nebraska 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.

Qualifications / Requirements
REQUIREMENTS: Master of Arts or Science degree in art conservation; or Master of Arts or Science degree in library science, art, or art history plus a certificate of advanced study in conservation; or equivalent combination of education and training. At least five years of experience working in the field of conservation in museum and/or regional conservation center settings. Five or more years of supervisory management experience. Demonstrated ability to build cross-departmental relationships and communicate effectively. Fellow or Professional Associate member of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC).

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
• Strong organizational abilities, expertise in budget preparation and management, analysis, decision-making, and reporting, and experience with a fee-for-service business model.

• Ability to effectively supervise, direct, evaluate, and mentor departmental staff, students, interns, and volunteers.

• Ability to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with History Nebraska staff, individual and institutional clients, professional colleagues, and community members.

• Advanced knowledge and experience with complex conservation treatment of three-dimensional objects, paintings, and paper artifacts; ability to carry out technical analysis of objects using a range of tools and techniques.

• Knowledge of chemical and physical properties of art, historical, and cultural artifact materials, their deterioration processes, and the materials used for conservation in a manner that meets current best practice standards.

• Excellent written and oral communication skills; effective presentation, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills.

• Flexibility, creativity, strong problem-solving skills, and the ability to meet multiple competing priorities in a collaborative work environment.

• Experience with the use of software for administration, project management, database management, image processing, and condition reporting.

History Nebraska collects, preserves, and opens to all, the histories we share. We believe a diverse and inclusive workforce is an essential element in making Nebraska’s rich history available to everyone. History Nebraska is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We strongly encourage and welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds. Our work is meaningful and challenging, and we believe diverse perspectives will make it better.