Lead Preparator (Position open only to Internal PMA Applicants)

Lead Preparator (Position open only to Internal PMA Applicants)

Under the direction of the Exhibition Manager, oversees and participates in the handling, care, and maintenance of the Portland Museum of Art’s (PMA’s) collection; the safe storage, transport, and display of objects under the PMA’s care; and risk management for objects in transit and on display. Works closely and collaboratively with Curatorial, Registration, and Preparation staff, as well as other museum departments, to advance the PMA’s mission.

Position Type: 
Staff Positions
Department/Division: 
Preparation/Art and Education
Reports to: 
Exhibition Manager
Essential Job Functions: 
  • Oversees the planning and the preparation of works of art, both in storage and on exhibit, in accordance with established best practices to ensure object safety and aesthetic presentation.
  • Oversees all projects, designs, and fabrications by Preparation staff and outside contractors including exhibition layout drawings; scaled installation floor plans; and design, construction, and storage of exhibition furniture, including the preparation of the gallery spaces for exhibitions.
  • Collaborates and communicates with registration staff, curators, artists, designers, and others as needed throughout the exhibition planning process, including developing production schedules; estimating time and costs; estimating and scheduling resource needs including staffing resources; updating progress toward and achievement of deadlines; and ensuring adherence to PMA procedures and established best practices.
  • Manages transportation of works of art in accordance with established PMA procedures to ensure object safety. Responsible for handling, packing and crating, movement, and inventory of objects of art, and for managing the movement and inventory of essential exhibition materials such as exhibition furniture, frames and crates between offsite and onsite storage.
  • Assists the Art and Education staff in the design of temporary exhibitions including exhibition furniture, temporary walls, layout, presentation, and lighting. Designs and fabricates mounts, frames, and crates; frames, mats, and mounts artworks; and assists with curatorial budget development by researching quotes for fabrication projects, including materials and tools, framing projects, exhibition furniture, and temporary walls.
  • Develops and implements tracking and reporting systems to measure and evaluate efficient and effective use of resources toward accomplishment of established goals; properly budgets and tracks expenses of the Preparation department; and schedules and supervises PMA staff and outside contractors as needed.
  • Ensures effective management of the construction shop including oversight of equipment purchase, use, and maintenance to ensure a safe work environment.
  • Assists the Registration staff with the inventory of collections and condition reporting. Photographs objects and exhibitions for record-keeping.
  • Provides service as a courier for art, traveling domestically and internationally, as required.
  • Supports the PMA’s strategic goal to advance a culture of inclusivity and diversity.
  • Fosters relationships and builds philanthropy with patrons at the PMA, as defined by displaying behavior that welcomes all individuals contacted in the course of work.
  • Performs special projects and other related duties as required, directed, or as the situation dictates.
  • Complies with all Portland Museum of Art safety rules and procedures.
  • Regular attendance at the workplace is required.
Supervisory Responsibility: 
Supervises Preparation staff and occasional temporary employees, volunteers, and interns. Responsibilities include interviewing and selection, training and development, scheduling and assigning work, counseling, disciplining, terminating, and evaluating performance.
Education and Experience: 
Bachelor’s Degree in art history, studio art, or a related field with minimum of five years’ experience in art handling in a museum setting. Valid State of Maine Class C Driver’s License required.
Qualifications: 
  • Advanced art preparation skills, including gallery lighting, framing, matting, and mount and cradle making.
  • Advanced installation skills, including painting and production of graphics.
  • Advanced and detailed knowledge of safe art handling procedures and appropriate exhibition and storage materials.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills in relation to exhibition and storage materials.
  • Ability to multi-task, organize work, and meet deadlines with careful attention to detail in a fast-paced, collaborative environment.
  • Good written and oral communication skills, including ability to adhere to PMA brand charter and style guide.
  • Physical ability to handle art, operate necessary equipment, including lifts and ladders, and lift up to 50 pounds as needed.
  • Ability to make aesthetically appropriate choices for the display and presentation of art objects.
  • Ability to operate computers and assigned software, including Google Sketch-up, EmbARK, ACAD, and Microsoft Office applications.
  • Ability to handle sensitive and confidential information with discretion.
  • Ability to establish, maintain, and foster positive and harmonious working relationships with coworkers and a variety of individuals contacted in the course of work.
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check.
  • Competencies Required: Managerial Courage, Delegation, Conflict Management, Motivating Others, Fairness, Developing Direct Reports, Managing Diversity and Caring about Direct Reports.
Working Conditions: 
  • Some work is performed in a noisy and dusty construction shop or in gallery space with exposure to noxious chemicals and fumes. Operates various tools and machinery, including dollies, scaffolding, cutting machines, framing equipment, sharp knives, heavy material lift, hand/power tools, and PMA-owned or leased vehicles. Frequently required to stand, walk, bend, crouch, and work on ladders and lifts for extended periods of time. Lifts heavy objects weighing up to 50 pounds.
  • Some work is performed in a normal office environment not subject to extremes of noise, temperature, odor, etc. Operates computers and other office equipment. Local, regional, and occasional national and international travel are required.
  • The PMA is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity at our museum. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, veteran status, status as a whistleblower, marital status, gender identity or expression, genetic information, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.
Terms: 
The Lead Preparator position is a full-time, full-benefits, salaried, exempt, employment-at-will position.
To Apply: 
The PMA’s Application for Employment is available at: http://www.portlandmuseum.org/about/employ.shtl Please email cover letter, résumé, and completed application to HR Director at: lp.pma.072019@portlandmuseum.org Applications will be accepted electronically only and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until filled.

To Apply

The PMA’s Application for Employment is available at: http://www.portlandmuseum.org/about/employ.shtl Please email cover letter, résumé, and completed application to HR Director at: lp.pma.072019@portlandmuseum.org Applications will be accepted electronically only and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until filled.