Preparator – Cranbrook Art Museum

Website Cranbrook Educational Community

Preparator – Cranbrook Art Museum

Cranbrook Art Museum is a leading venue for the presentation of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art, craft, architecture, and design. The Art Museum is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of metropolitan Detroit, on the beautiful 319-acre historic landmark campus of the Cranbrook Educational Community. The Art Museum’s sister institution is Cranbrook Academy of Art, a renowned graduate school of art, architecture, craft, and design. While the collections of the Art Museum span the 20th and 21st centuries, the permanent collection focus is on the achievements of faculty and students of the Academy of Art and of artists in the Detroit metropolitan area. The Art Museum frequently presents public art programs in the city of Detroit, working with a range of creative collaborators, diverse artists and curators, and various community partners. Each year the Art Museum also presents artworks created by the graduating class of Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 2011, the Art Museum completed a renovation of its original 1942 Art Museum and Art Library building designed by Eliel Saarinen and created a new Collections Wing, a purpose-built, state-of-the-art handling and storage facility for its collections, which allows for a curated and publicly accessible viewing of selections from nearly 7,500 works of art.

Cranbrook Art Museum is accepting applications for a Preparator. They will assist with the preparation of gallery spaces, furniture, installation and deinstallation for each exhibition within the museum. This includes setting gallery lights and installing audio/video presentations. Must have woodworking experience and demonstrate the ability to operate a table saw, routers, and other machines safely. The preparator helps manage the floor and work of assistant preparators during the preparation, installation, and strike of all exhibitions, at times giving direction and making sure proper protocols for art handling, storage, and display are being met.

This is a part-time position, working on average 20 hours per week with hours increasing during peak times: installation and de-installation (4 times a year), and potentially decreasing during down time.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Exhibition Duties:

  • Works with the Head Preparator and Associate Preparator to understand fabrication drawings and assist in the production of pedestals, mounts, and other gallery furniture.
  • Prepares galleries for exhibition by constructing new walls, installing modular wall systems, performing drywall repair, painting, and cleaning.
  • Works in communication with the registrar to demonstrate museum standard practices in the packing and unpacking of loaned and collection objects. Assists in the loading and unloading of trucks making exhibition deliveries.
  • Prepares objects for exhibition, which includes assisting the registrar with condition reports, assessing object needs and making recommendations for safe display. Occasionally responsible for mounting, matting, and framing of 2D work as well as the fabrication of mounts for three-dimensional objects.
  • Installs a variety of audio/video components to satisfy the intent of the curators and artists. This will include, but is not limited to large, wall mounted monitors, ceiling mounted projectors, media players, and speakers, with special attention to the finished appearance of cords and wires. Must be able to troubleshoot technical difficulties as they arise through the course of the exhibition.
  • Provides assistance to the Head Preparator and Associate Preparator in the lighting of all gallery spaces.
  • Produces object labels as well as other temporary signage for use throughout the museum.

Daily Responsibilities:

  • Maintains the appearance of the museum galleries and the presentation of objects in the galleries.
  • Monitors temperature, humidity and light levels throughout collection storage and exhibition areas.
  • Assists with the movement, transportation, packing and installation of objects in the museum’s collection as well as loans to and from the collection.
  • Assists the Registrar and other Preparators with the organization and maintenance of collection storage areas in the museum.
  • Organizes and performs regular cleaning of the wood shop, loading docks, and multiple storage spaces.
  • Maintains inventory of AV equipment, building materials, hardware, packing supplies and other items.
  • Occasionally, assists the Registrar with the care of CAM collections in storage and on display, including sculpture, textiles, paintings, works on paper and decorative objects.
  • Maintains attendance, punctuality, and performance standards set forth in Cranbrook’s employee handbook.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

  • The Preparator acts as a model for Assistant Preparators during the preparation, installation, and strike of all exhibitions, at times giving direction and making sure proper protocols for art handling, storage, and display are being met.


  • Bachelor’s degree or at least two years museum/gallery experience or equivalent required.
  • Knowledgeable in the handling, care, preservation, and exhibition practices for various types of objects including bronze, ceramic and wooden sculptures, paintings, works on paper and textiles.
  • Possesses a good understanding of basic construction methods and woodworking techniques.
  • Knowledgeable of basic AV functions for the installation of video and audio-based works of art within the galleries.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and oral communication skills to facilitate working with a diverse student and staff population
  • Interest in contemporary art.
  • Basic computer skills with knowledge of Sketchup and InDesign preferred.
  • Driver’s license with a satisfactory driving record required, and ability to drive medium sized truck.
  • Experience operating a scissor lift preferred.
  • Ability to work flexible hours.

For consideration, please submit a resume and cover letter to: Preparator – Cranbrook Art Museum | Cranbrook Employment Opportunities (

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