Senior Paper Conservator

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Harry Ransom Center
Job location: 
Salary Start: 
US Dollars
Contract type: 
Application deadline: 
Wednesday, 26 January, 2022 - 00:00

Reports to: Associate Director for Preservation and Conservation

Salary: $69,000 full-time plus health and retirement benefits.

To develop and manage programs and staffing for the preservation and conservation of all works on paper at the Ransom Center for storage, loan, exhibition, and handling in the Center's Reading and Viewing Room. To provide treatments of all levels of complexity for the Center's collections of works on paper, from early and modern manuscripts to contemporary works of art on paper. To plan and coordinate paper conservation projects for the Campus Conservation Initiative, which serves collection conservation needs in three campus partner institutions.

General Notes:
The Harry Ransom Center seeks a talented, dynamic, team-oriented leader to head the Center's Paper Lab. The person in this position will assume leadership roles in two exciting initiatives: 1) A two-year project to house fragile and under-housed collection materials in preparation for their move offsite during the renovation of collection-holding spaces (3 floors); and 2) a campus-wide project led by the Ransom Center and supported by the Office of the Provost to provide conservation treatment for collections held in key cultural collections on the The University of Texas at Austin campus (Blanton Museum of Art, UT Libraries special collections, Briscoe Center for American History). The person in this position has the opportunity to hire an assistant paper conservator.

The Ransom Center is an internationally renowned humanities research library and museum at UT Austin. Its extensive collections provide unique insight into the creative process of writers and artists, deepening our understanding and appreciation of literature, photography, film, art, and the performing arts. Visitors engage with the Center's collections through research and study, exhibitions, publications, and a rich variety of program offerings including readings, talks, symposia, and film screenings.

The Ransom Center encourages discovery, inspires creativity, and advances understanding of the humanities for a broad and diverse audience through the preservation and sharing of its extraordinary collections.

The Ransom Center welcomes and respects all individuals and communities by valuing and maintaining awareness of diverse perspectives and experiences. We believe inclusivity is critical to fostering excellence in all of our endeavors, and we strive to promote diversity in our collections and services. We welcome applicants from under-represented groups and those who demonstrate a commitment to inclusion. To learn more about our institutional mission and values, visit:

Essential Functions:
Manage and supervise the division's Paper Conservation Lab. Perform minor to major conservation treatments on a wide range of works on paper, providing full written and photographic documentation. Apply appropriate research techniques, including use of instrumental methods, in the examination and analysis of collection materials. (35%)

Supervise, train, and manage Paper Conservation Lab staff (2 FTE), interns, and fellows in appropriate treatment, housing, and exhibition techniques. Assign collection items for treatment and/or housing; review all conservation treatment documentation; and monitor and evaluate the progress of lab workflows. (15%)

Liaise and collaborate with curators, collection managers, exhibition staff, administrative personnel, and other Ransom Center staff with regard to the handling, housing, treatment, and exhibition of works on paper. Work closely with curatorial staff to establish annual treatment and housing priorities for each fiscal year, including collection assessments. Work closely with Exhibition staff and the Center's Registrar to ensure the timely assessment and treatment of items going on in-house exhibition or out-of-house loan. (20%)

Participate as part of the division's senior team to strategically plan for the ongoing care of the Ransom Center's collections. (15%)

Supervise, plan, and schedule conservation treatment projects associated with the Campus Conservation Initiative (5%)

Oversee chemical inventory and lab compliance with University Environmental Health and Safety, and oversee personnel safety training with regard to equipment, chemicals, and other materials used within the division. (3%)

As member of the Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Team, assist with emergency planning and training. (2%)

Pursue independent studies and engage with professional opportunities, representing the Ransom Center in local, national, and international forums as appropriate. (5%)

Required Qualifications:
Masters degree from a recognized graduate art conservation education program. A minimum of five years of post-graduate experience performing conservation treatment and applying preservation practices for works on paper in museums, libraries, special collections, and/or archives. Demonstrated knowledge of the extensive materials and technologies encountered in the creation and conservation of the range of works on paper (art on paper, documents and manuscripts, other paper-based works). Demonstrated ability to conduct conservation research and to analyze materials to identify and/or determine their condition and material composition. Knowledge of and experience with exhibition standards, building environment systems, emergency planning and response, conservation trends, and collection surveys. Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communication. Demonstrated successful project management and organizational skills, including the ability to train, supervise, and assess work. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Experience working with conservators, curators, scientists, and other allied professionals in a team environment. Strong record of professional engagement.

Preferred Qualifications:
More than five years of post-graduate experience in documentation, conservation treatment, and preventive care of works on paper. Research and publication record on conservation topics. Knowledge of and experience in use of collection management systems for documenting and tracking collections. Experience with mass collection moves in preparation for building renovations.

Applicants must be eligible/authorized to work in the United States.

TO APPLY, please visit: