Postdoctoral / Postgraduate Position Combining Interdisciplinary Research and Museum Program Development on Assyrian Stone Reliefs

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Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage
Job location: 
West Haven
Salary Start: 
Salary End: 
Contract type: 
Application deadline: 
Friday, 24 March, 2023 - 23:45

The Technical Studies Laboratory of the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) is seeking applicants for a one-year position at the postdoctoral or the postgraduate associate level, supported by a grant from the Avangrid Foundation.

The appointee will carry out a project with two overlapping objectives: research on the polychrome color schema of Assyrian stone reliefs and developing educational materials about polychromy and pigment analysis for use by the Yale Peabody Museum in gallery interpretation and programming.

The Yale Peabody Museum is currently undergoing a transformative renovation, which includes the creation of new spaces dedicated to ancient Mesopotamia. The gallery will feature two relief fragments from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II. Long deprived of their original painted surfaces, the reliefs will have that history of color restored through dynamic light projection to simulate how the reliefs would have appeared in situ. To anchor the light projection design in the materiality of the stone reliefs as much as possible, the appointee will work with IPCH scientists to locate and characterize any remaining microscopic paint residues using a combination of scientific imaging and micro-analysis techniques. They will also collaborate with colleagues at the Yale Babylonian Collection at the Yale Peabody Museum to contextualize the scientific findings with respect to similar research available in other collections and historic sources. The outcome of the project will include light projection color schema in addition to other visual and textual elements for use in gallery and digital platforms. A key aspect of the project involves working with the Peabody Museum’s EVOLUTIONS program (Evoking Learning and Understanding through Investigations of the Natural Sciences, or EVO for short), which is a free youth program for New Haven and West Haven high school students.

The appointee will receive training in the use of analytical instruments and data interpretation in relation to the analysis of Assyrian stone reliefs and other collection materials by scientists at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH). Mentoring will be provided by colleagues at the Yale Babylonian Collection to support the appointee in identifying literature sources and extant research about the colored wall reliefs of late Assyrian palaces. Yale Peabody Museum staff and IPCH staff will jointly mentor the appointee in their work with the Peabody's EVOLUTIONS program serving New Haven high school students. The appointee will be encouraged to take advantage of courses and workshops offered by the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning to further support their professional development in relation to teaching and outreach.

Position and application information:
The postdoctoral/postgraduate associate position is a full-time, 12-month position. A starting date between May 1 and June 30, 2023 is desired. Salary will be based on Yale’s guidelines for postdoctoral positions, which establish a minimum of $56,448 for 1st year postdocs ( At the postgraduate level, salary will be commensurate with skills and experience, in the range of $45,000-$55,000. Allowable relocation costs up to $4000 will be reimbursed. For a description of benefits, including health insurance, please visit Support for travel associated with projects is provided. This position is based primarily on Yale’s West Campus on the border of West Haven and Orange CT, and requires visits to collection spaces on Central Campus in New Haven. There is a free shuttle service between Yale's campuses, parking at West Campus is free of charge.

Application process:
● The closing date for applications is March 24, 2023; review will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
● Send an email or document describing your interest in the position, your CV, and the names of and contact information for two references to Marcie Wiggins ( at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage.
● At IPCH and the Yale Peabody Museum we are working on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion institutional priorities so that we can learn to better serve our communities, amplify marginalized voices and perspectives, and create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. The ideal candidate will be ready to share their experience with and interest in contributing to this work. Please address in your cover letter how Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion relate to your professional experience and goals.
● We welcome and encourage applications from individuals of all backgrounds, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups in the museum field.

Required qualifications:
● Recent completion of a graduate degree at the doctoral or masters level in fields including archaeology/anthropology, cultural heritage science (conservation science), physical sciences (chemistry, materials science and engineering), Near Eastern or Classical studies, technical art history, or related fields.

Desired Skills & Related Activities
● Experience with imaging and instrumental analysis techniques used to identify pigments and colorants. Ability to collect and analyze data using methods including in-situ x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy as well as sample-based techniques (FTIR, SEM-EDS, etc.).
● Ability to engage with scholarship on the cultural history of Assyrian art (applicants do not need to be experts in Assyrian history) and current research into ancient polychromy. Connect with curators, conservators, and scientists at other institutions to learn about and incorporate their findings into this study.
● Ability to work collaboratively within a multidisciplinary and cross-institutional setting involving scientists, cultural historians, museum programming and outreach specialists, as well as a wide range of supporting departments.
● Demonstrated robust verbal and written communication skills. The selected candidate will communicate scientific findings to audiences ranging from specialists to the public. Modalities may include written analytical reports; gallery content in the form of graphic representations of polychromy and written description of analysis processes for museum audiences; in-person engagement with high-school student participants in the Yale Peabody Museum’s EVO program; written and visual website and social media content.
● Organizational skills needed for project management.

About the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage
The Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) is the collaborative and programmatic nexus of preservation and conservation expertise across Yale’s libraries, museums, and special collections. Established in 2011, IPCH enacts its mission to advance the preservation and interpretation of the world’s cultural heritage through collaborative research, practice, training, and outreach. Located on the Yale West Campus, IPCH engages with scholars and students and with its world-class collections, including those of the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Yale University Library. The Technical Studies Lab at IPCH decodes art and artifacts, enabling scholars across disciplines to incisively interpret origins and histories. Fundamental to this work is understanding and managing change, especially deterioration and its detection, monitoring, and treatment. We also develop tools and methodologies that enable new modes of studying art and artifacts. Facilities include a variety of XRF instruments, optical microscopes, FTIR microscope, Raman microscope, SEM/EDS, GC/MS, UV/visible spectroscopy, and an array of accelerated aging and mechanical testing equipment.

Yale University considers applicants for employment without regard to and does not discriminate on the basis of an individual’s sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, status as a veteran, or national or ethnic origin; nor does Yale discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.