Conservation Technician

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Portland Art Museum
Job location: 
Contract type: 
Application deadline: 
Wednesday, 19 February, 2020 - 16:00

The Conservation Technician works closely with the Conservator(s) to support the work of the preservation and conservation of the Museum collection. The technician is primarily involved in preventive conservation activities enabling the preparation of artworks for storage, research, or exhibition. In addition, the technician assists the Conservator(s) in actively caring for artworks in the collection or on loan to the Museum, as needed.

About the Museum
Founded in 1892, the Portland Art Museum is one of the oldest art museums in the United States and the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. The Museum's collection of 42,000 objects reflects the history of art from ancient times to today. The collection is distinguished for its holdings of arts of the native peoples of North America; modern and contemporary art; Asian and American art; photographs, prints, and drawings; and English silver.

With more than 112,000 square feet of gallery space, the Museum ranks in the top 25 museums in the country with the most gallery and exhibition space. An active collecting institution, the Museum dedicates 90 percent of its gallery space to its permanent collection. In addition to its permanent collection, the Museum is recognized for its special exhibitions and intimate exhibition series, including the APEX program, a contemporary art series, and presentations in the Gilkey Center galleries. The Northwest Film Center, established in 1978, is a regional media arts organization founded to encourage the study and appreciation of the moving image arts. The Center provides a variety of film and video exhibitions, as well as education and information programs.

Annual membership consists of 20,000 member households, representing more than 96,000 individuals. More than 350,000 visitors are welcomed annually, including more than 50,000 schoolchildren.

The Museum's annual operating budget is approximately $16 million. Approximately 150 full-time staff members and 300 volunteers work in the Museum. The galleries are open six days a week (Tuesday through Sunday), with extended hours on Thursday and Friday evenings.

Equity, Inclusion and Accommodation
The Portland Art Museum (PAM) strives to be an inclusive institution that facilitates respectful dialogue, debate, and the free exchange of ideas. With a deep commitment to artists – past and present – and freedom of expression, the Museum and Northwest Film Center's collections, programs and staff aspire to reveal the beauty and complexities of the world, and create a deeper understanding of our shared humanity. We are a Museum for all, inviting everyone to connect with art through their own experiences, voices, and personal journeys. The Northwest Film Center (NWFC), a sister organization to the Museum, is a regional media arts resource and service organization founded to encourage the study, appreciation, and utilization of the moving image arts, foster their artistic and professional excellence, and to help create a climate in which they may flourish. PAM and the NWFC are committed to advancing equity and inclusion by creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. We will continue learning as we work to evolve as an Institution, recognizing that this journey has no end and our commitment must remain. We have an active equity team currently engaged in a journey to examine our internal culture and the work we do through an equity lens. We look forward to having all colleagues join and contribute to this important work. Learn more at

PAM and the NWFC are equal opportunity employers, committed to a policy of non- discrimination in employment on any basis including age, sex, color, race, creed, national origin, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political belief, disability or any other legally protected status. We are committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. As part of this commitment, PAM and the NWFC will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations to participate in the application, interview, and hiring process. Alternative formats of this application are available upon request. If reasonable accommodation or an alternative form of this application are needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact Human Resources at or 503.276.4358.

Essential Functions:
• Rehouse and prepare works of art with methods and materials known to be suitable for long-term storage and exhibition.
• Assist with maintenance treatment of works of art, such as the cleaning of outdoor sculpture and polishing of silver using known and established conservation methods and techniques. This may include the use of equipment and materials, such as an air compressor, industrial steam cleaner, organic solvents, and water filtration system.
• Participate in condition surveys and conservation assessments as they are carried out following established documentation procedures.
• Coordinate photo-documentation, de-installation, and transportation of artwork with collections photographer, conservator, and collections manager.
• Collect environmental data and compile information for assessment by Conservator(s).
• Participate in gallery maintenance, such as dusting of artwork in galleries, emergency preparedness and disaster recovery as needed.
• Use scientific lab equipment, such as a scale and graduated cylinder, chemicals, and organic solvents and dispose of hazardous waste appropriately.
• Participate in workspace maintenance, including cleaning and organization of studio space, maintaining material inventories and tools, obtaining supplies, and cleaning labware.
• Read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedures manuals.
• Promote institutional equity and inclusion goals and support the work.

Additional Job Functions:
• Assist Registrars in shipping and receiving of artwork, crate-moving, unpacking/packing of art.
• Assist Collections staff in transport of artwork between museum and off-site storage and coordinate transit.
• Carry out written and photo-documentation as needed.

• Bachelor's degree and one to three year's related experience and/or training OR equivalent combination of education and experience.
• Knowledge of documents such as conservation documentation, safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, safety data sheets (SDS) and procedure manuals.
• Effectively communicate verbally and maintain effective working relationship with supervisor, Curators, and other co-workers. Contribute to a positive organizational culture based on mutual respect, collegiality, collaboration and openness to many perspectives.
• Knowledge of basic math, problem solving, data collection, measurement collections, and information documentation.
• Knowledge of safe art handling practices and principles of professional museum collection care and respect for works of art.
• Possess good judgement and time management, engage in creative problem solving and use materials efficiently.
• Knowledge of Integrated Pest Management methods, Gallery Maintenance, and Environmental Monitoring desired, but not required
• Work in a shared space and independently, anticipate and acquire necessary supplies, and create a production schedule for projects to meet deadlines.
• Climb ladders, move up to 50 lbs. and stand for long periods of time with occasional outdoor work.
• Promote equity and inclusion goals.

Application Process
This position is non-exempt/hourly, part-time (up to 21 hours per week) with an hourly rate from $21.45 – $23.32 per hour, depending on experience. This position is eligible for paid time off (vacation, sick, holidays, jury duty, and bereavement leave). The position is also eligible for a variety of perks such as free Museum admission, Gift Shop discounts, and screenings at the NW Film Center.

To apply online visit: follow the link to create a profile. Resumes received without completed employment application will not be considered. Please no drop ins. For questions or accommodation please contact

The Portland Art Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Closing Date: February 19, 2020 at 4 PM PST