Worcester Art Museum

55 Salisbury St.
Worcester, MA 01609

Date Posted:
January 27, 2020

Central Massachusetts



Chief Preparator


Worcester Art Museum



Title: Chief Preparator

Exhibition Design & Fabrication, Museum Services Division

Type: Full Time, Exempt

Reports To: Director of Museum Services

Direct Reports: Lead Preparator, Preparators (2)

Purpose: As department head for the Exhibition Services Department, the Chief Preparator is responsible for planning and managing the preparation of gallery spaces and objects for exhibitions and for planning and managing the fabrication, installation, and de-installation of both temporary exhibitions and long-term installations. The Chief Preparator supervises the Museum’s preparators, as well as contract art handlers, on all aspects of museum exhibition, art storage, and art movement.


· Recommend department objectives and priorities and develop a strategy to achieve them consistent with the Museum’s vision statement, strategic plan, and divisional goals.

· Manage all functions of the Exhibition Services Department, its activities and personnel, including fellows, interns, and volunteers; coordinate department activities with other departments and divisions of the Museum.

· Collaborate with the Museum’s Exhibition Designer in the planning of the preparation of gallery spaces for exhibition and in planning the fabrication, installation, and de-installation of both temporary exhibitions and long-term installations.

· Plan, prioritize and schedule daily activities of preparators in the areas ofexhibition installations/de-installations, graphics installation, gallery and exhibition lighting, exhibition maintenance and art movements within the museum. Set team’s job assignments to meet deadlines and priorities; oversee external vendors and contractors.

· Prepare and present department budget for approval; monitor department and project budgets within approved limits. Assist in the development of exhibition and special project budgets.

· Supervise installation of works of art and oversee production and installation of exhibition graphics, signage, and labels.

· Design and fabricate, or oversee the design and fabrication of, display and storage mounts for objects using brass armatures, plexiglass, pliacre forms and stabilizers, foam cor, matboard, ethafoam, wood, steel, aluminum, conduit and piping.

· Working with the Registrars, coordinate exhibition installation/de-installation schedules as well as internal and external art movements.

· Contribute to the development of exhibition schedules and budgets. Serve as a member of project teams for exhibition development and implementation.

· Remain current with approaches and developments in materials and techniques used in preparation and display of the museum collections.

· Working with the Conservation and Registration Departments, establish and maintain best practices for handling, lighting, crating, and shipping of all collection media

· Order materials for art packing and exhibition installation.

· Recommend improvements to museum art storage.

· Assist preparators with gallery maintenance, including dusting of platforms, pedestals, and vitrines, and assist with museum-wide lighting maintenance as needed.

· Serve as a courier for outgoing loans. Travel with objects on domestic and international shipments as required; act as Museum representative as necessary

· Represent the museum to various public constituencies in the region

· Represent department at various meetings and on internal committees

· Represent Director of Museum Services in his/her absence regarding exhibition design, preparations, and art handling

· Perform other related duties as assigned


• Proven management skills, including the ability to work collaboratively and cooperatively within a team, comprising museum staff, contractors, vendors and couriers

• Experience managing complex projects: ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously, working to strict deadlines

• Ability to prepare and manage department and project budgets

• Strong communication and interpersonal skills

• Knowledge of art storage and display methods, techniques, and procedures

• Good manual dexterity for fine detail work and handling fragile objects

· In-depth knowledge of art handling techniques and methods of transporting works of art

· Experience in exhibition design, mount-making, crate fabrication, preparation and installation techniques

· Ability to lift up to 70 lbs.

· Ability to safely work with installation equipment including ladders, scissor lift and scaffolding

· Ability to work at heights over 10 feet

· Massachusetts Class III motor vehicle operator's license

· Travel required for this position


BA, BFA required; MA, MFA preferred, or equivalent training in studio art, art history, fine art or a related field.


Five or more years in a museum, gallery, or similar exhibiting institution with extensive knowledge of installation/packing/crating, and proven experience in a management or supervisory role.

Apply by:
February 27, 2020
About this Organization:

Collection Information

The Worcester Art Museum creates transformative programs and exhibitions, drawing on its exceptional world-renowned collection of 38,000 works of art spanning 51 centuries. Central to its mission is a focus on audience engagement, connecting visitors of all ages and abilities with inspiring art and demonstrating its enduring relevance to daily life. The Museum’s creative initiatives—from pioneering collaborative programs with local schools, to fresh approaches to exhibition design and in-gallery teaching, to a long history of studio class instruction—provide opportunities for its diverse audiences to experience art and learn both from and with artists.

Centrally located in New England, Worcester is an hour from Boston, Providence and Hartford, an hour and a half from the Berkshires, three hours from New York City, and is convenient to Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The Museum is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity.