Objects Conservator

Missouri Historical Society


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Position Summary:

The Objects Conservator is responsible for assessing objects in the Missouri Historical Society and Soldiers Memorial and Military Museum collections and performing treatment on objects, as necessary. The incumbent coordinates overall conservation activities and, with the Director of Library & Collections, Collections Manager, Objects Preservation Administrator, and Director of Curatorial Affairs, by establishing priorities for assessment, treatment, and preservation. The Objects Conservator serves on collections related MHS and SMM committees and takes the lead in developing preservation plans such the Long-Range Conservation Plan.


  • Supervises and operates the conservation lab located within the MHS Library and Research Center Annex.
  • Responsible for the development of the department’s annual budget, supervising conservation support staff, assisting with divisional collections stewardship planning, coordinating work by outside contract conservators, including writing contracts for these jobs, and training and supervising conservation interns.
  • Remain actively involved in the establishment and review of policies and procedures relating to environmental monitoring, security, pest management, and light control at facilities where MHS and SMM collections are housed or displayed.
  • Collaborates with the Director of Library & Collections, Collections Manager, Registrar, Objects Preservation Administrator, and Curators to implement preservation strategies for the institution’s permanent collections, including preventive measures to minimize damage in the case of an incident.
  • Regularly undertake survey and assessment work to ensure that artifacts are prepared for an active exhibition program at MHS and SMM.
  • Collaborates with exhibit designers and curators to set lighting, and humidity requirements and time limits for exhibiting specific artifacts.
  • Reviews loan requests from other institutions by studying Facility Reports, setting conditions for MHS and SMM artifact display and providing general recommendations to curators, registrars, and the division Director.
  • Serves as a liaison for MHS and SMM when conservators and couriers call or visit during the installation or disassembly of borrowed exhibits.
  • Direct and implement any cleaning work on loaned artifacts, according to the lender’s specifications.
  • Responsible for inspecting items shipped to MHS on loan for the exhibition program, particularly when there is a possibility of damage, special concerns of the lender, shipper, or loan registrar.
  • Provides training and guidance to staff regarding artifact handling, transport, packing, storage, and marking collections, as requested.
  • Maintains appropriate professional memberships, remain professionally active and current in the field.
  • Presents lab tours and public presentations on conservation and may be called upon to meet with donors or visitors in relation to conservation needs or issues.


  • Knowledge of museum professional standards for handling, preserving, treating, housing, and exhibiting a variety of objects.
  • Understanding of the code of ethics and standards of practice as specified by the American Institute for Conservation.
  • Understanding of preservation strategies for acquisitions, loans, transport, and storage of collections;
  • Expertise in disaster preparedness for cultural properties and collections.
  • Ability to work safely with and manage the use of hazardous materials and chemicals; knowledge of material safety and chemical hygiene.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Manual dexterity to handle fragile objects and conduct treatment of objects. Ability to negotiate stairs or operate freight elevator and to lift up to twenty pounds.
  • Experience managing, coordinating, and supervising a conservation lab and staff

Education and Experience:

  • MA or MS and certificate or equivalent in general conservation from recognized conservation program.
  • Minimum five years work experience in conservation, varied experience preferred to specialty, including one year as intern, and two years of supervisory experience.

Deadline to Apply: Open until filled.

Please upload cover letter and resume when applying.

*External job boards: Please click this link, to apply.

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

Services Provided On A Non-Discriminatory Basis

To apply for this job please visit mohistory.aaimtrack.com.