Thursday, July 1, 2010

Contract Assistant Conservator for The Preservation Society of Newport County

Contract Assistant Conservator
The Preservation Society of Newport County

The Preservation Society of Newport County seeks a conservator to work on a year-long conservation treatment project involving large 18th century Chinese lacquer panels now used as wall paneling in the historic house museum “The Elms” in Newport, RI, USA. The project will begin at a mutually agreed upon time and end one year later. It is a full-time position including benefits. A stipend of $33,000 will be awarded and housing provided. It is anticipated that there will be an opportunity to extend the contract. The one-year position is funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Educational Requirements

Applicants must have a MS in Conservation plus three years of hands-on conservation experience, not including internships or a MS equivalent plus 5 years experience. Preference will be given to those who have experience in the traditional use of Asian lacquer (urushi) as well as western conservation methods. The applicant must have a good command of spoken and written English; be able to read and comprehend instructions, correspondence, and memos; and be able to compose and deliver formal communications. The applicant must be competent with computers: MS-Windows, e-mail/internet, word processing. Digital photography and image management are also important.

Position Description

The Assistant Conservator will work closely with other staff on this treatment project and work may include the supervision of interns or technicians. The project will include setting down lifted urushi, paint, and gilded surfaces. This will be followed by the removal of wax coatings, varnishes, and inappropriate repairs using solvents. Fills and compensation for decorative losses will be undertaken, with toning and coating as necessary. Experience working with other decorative surfaces, such as gilding and decorative paint, is essential, and experience working in an architectural context would be considered valuable. The ability to work on technical projects with one’s hands is a fundamental skill for the position and the work may be physically demanding at times, requiring personal agility.


The Assistant Conservator will be supervised by the Chief Conservator of The Preservation Society of Newport County, who is the Project Director of the overall initiative. The conservator will also be supervised by and work very closely with the specialist Project Conservator, who will work on the project part-time.

Please send a letter of interest to Jeff Moore, Chief Conservator, The Preservation Society of Newport County, 424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840 or by e-mail to . Candidates meeting the criteria will be requested to submit further credentials.

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