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Conservation Technician, Books
Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is seeking qualified candidates for a full-time position of Book Conservation Technician to join its dynamic Conservation and Science Department.

Reporting to the Senior Book Conservator, the Book Conservation Technician prepares book and archival collections for exhibition, installation, loans, storage, committee meetings and conservation examination.  The Technician is responsible for providing basic care for the collection including maintenance, proper handling, the construction of protective enclosures for book and archival collection materials, and environmental control in storage and exhibition.  Under direct supervision of the Senior Book Conservator, the Technician carries out basic conservation and object stabilization treatments of books and archival materials.  Maintains book conservation supplies and mounts inventory.

  • With mentorship by the Senior Book Conservator, performs a variety of specialized conservation and preventive conservation treatments on book and archival collection materials, including binding repairs and basic paper conservation techniques; constructs custom enclosures and other protective housing for collection items.
  • Participates in condition surveys of book collections as directed; assists Senior Book Conservator in organization of workflow for collection-level and item-level treatment.
  • Prepares book and archival collection material for exhibition, designs and constructs cradles and other supports, and prepares mats.
  • Participates in the temporary and permanent gallery rotation installations of book and archival collection materials throughout the museum.
  • Researches new applications of materials, equipment and techniques to carry out specialized tasks and to improve care of the collection.
  • Maintains all preventive conservation documentation pertaining to the collection in the department’s files and shares copies in the museum’s collection management database and digital asset management system in accordance with the highest archival and digital preservation standards.
  • Contributes to the day-to-day management of the conservation lab, maintains equipment and supplies used in daily operations.  Ensures the proper care and maintenance of tools and equipment.
  • Participates in other activities related to the care of book and archival collections, including environmental monitoring, pest management and disaster response and recovery, as assigned.
  • 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.

  • BA, BFA or BS degree preferred, or commensurate education and experience.
  • Expertise in a range of book conservation techniques and the construction of protective enclosures, with at least two years of experience, preferably in a library or fine arts setting.
  • Must have demonstrated ability and experience with the design and creation of various types of mounts for the display of books and archival materials.
  • Must have demonstrated fine hand skills.
  • Must be able to lift and/or move up to 30 lbs and to work comfortably and safely on ladders and lift equipment.
  • Fundamental math skills, including reading of rulers and working with fractions.
  • Strong communication, organizational, and multitasking skills.
  • Embraces the museum’s commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable institution.

We offer a competitive, comprehensive benefits package which includes:
  • Generous paid time off
  • Paid holidays (up to 14 days)
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Generous parental, caregiver, and medical leave benefits
  • Competitive retirement plan (up to 9% matching contribution)
  • Tuition remission and Tuition Exchange Program
  • Great employee discounts
  • Complimentary general admission to participating cultural institutions

$25.55 per hour - $27.47 per hour
Monday – Friday, 35 hours per week

Candidates must submit a letter of interest, a CV, and contact information for three references through the following link or via the Employment page of the museum’s website.  Documentation must be saved and uploaded as a single pdf with only alphanumeric characters in the title.

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace.  We believe in a staff culture that benefits from a wide range of experience, backgrounds, and career paths, and we encourage nontraditional candidates to apply.
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