Conservation Assistant

Job Description: Conservation Assistant

Department: Art Conservation

Reports to: Director of Conservation

Effective date: January 26, 2023


Preservation and Conservation 

The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX, is a contemporary art museum founded by Donald Judd. We are accepting applications for the position of Conservation Assistant. This is a full-time, salaried position with a regular schedule of 40 hours per week, Monday – Friday, with availability to work occasional holidays, evenings, and weekends in support of Chinati’s special annual events.

Reporting to the Director of Conservation, the Conservation Assistant’s primary responsibility is maintaining gallery appearance and reporting issues to preserve the fragile and unique interior spaces containing permanently installed artwork on open display. The Conservation Assistant will provide general conservation support and proactively participate in preserving the museum’s collection by assisting the Conservator with all aspects of preventive conservation tasks in the exhibition spaces and ensure all work areas and art storage areas are organized and tidy. Secondary to this role but no less important is to be adept with safe handling, movement, and storage of artwork.

The Conservation Assistant will work closely with Senior Conservation Assistant and Facilities staff to protect collections during activities related to buildings & grounds maintenance work of the permanently installed buildings and outdoor sculpture collection. Sustaining a collaborative spirit between the Conservation department and Facilities staff is crucial.

The Conservation Assistant will receive training in administrative protocols for documenting works through written and photographic reports. To be successful in this role, the Conservation Assistant will be capable of accepting guidance and receiving training and must demonstrate sound judgment for applying the best possible collections care and maintenance practices. The Conservation Assistant should be capable of working independently and initiating recommendations and dialogue with relevant staff to ensure successful completion of projects.

Education, Training, and Work Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in fine arts from a four-year college or university; one to three years of related experience or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Two (2) or more years of art-related work is desirable.
  • Experience working in non-traditional collection spaces, such as historic sites, is desirable.
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license with an acceptable driving record.

Desired Skills & Abilities:

The following list is general. Further details will be provided in the full job description, provided upon application for the position.

  • Possess knowledge of and interest in modern and contemporary art and its care.
  • Possess knowledge of and interest in preventive conservation practices. 
  • Creative thinking and solutions-based problem-solving abilities. 
  • Excellent hand skills and manual dexterity as duties call for handling artwork and operation of tools and equipment.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close, color, and peripheral vision.
  • Ability to work independently in the collection spaces and collaboratively with supervisors, staff members, and contractors in project-based work.
  • Good communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills.
  • Experience with FileMaker databases, Microsoft Office suite, digital SLR photography, and Adobe suite preferred.

This position is physically demanding and requires extended periods of standing, walking, and working in awkward positions. Essential duties may include the following:

  • Standing, walking, sitting, occasionally climbing (carry & climb a ladder), bending, and kneeling.
  • Occasionally lift or move up to 50 pounds.
  • Ability to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators, dust masks, gloves, and Tyvek suits as required.
  • Ability to work in extreme temperatures, both high and low
  • Ability to tolerate insect pests and other wildlife: Marfa is a very rural, desert landscape.

Not sure you meet 100% of our qualifications? Research shows that men apply for jobs when they fulfill an average of 60% of the criteria. Yet, women and other systematically marginalized people tend only to apply if they meet every requirement. We encourage you to apply if you believe you could excel in this role. We are dedicated to considering various candidates, including those with diverse work experiences and backgrounds. Please use your cover letter to tell us what you hope to bring to this role.

Applicants may apply by emailing a cover letter and resume to PLEASE PUT “CONSERVATION ASSISTANT” in the subject line. The position is open until filled. No calls, please.

This is a full-time position based in Marfa, TX.

Chinati Foundation provides a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package with 100% employer contribution towards the cost of employees’ medical, dental, and life insurance. Paid time‐off benefits include ten to twenty days of vacation based on tenure, twelve days of sick leave, five personal days, fifteen holidays, and a non-match 403(b) plan. The salary for this position is in the range of $34,000 to $40,000 commensurate with experience and training. Compensation is regularly assessed to ensure we remain competitive.

The Chinati Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate based on age, color, national origin, ethnic origin, citizenship status, disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, marital status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law in its employment policies. In addition, Chinati will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.