fbpx Lead Art Preparator | The Studio Museum in Harlem

Lead Art Preparator

The Studio Museum in Harlem is the nexus for artists of African descent locally, nationally, and internationally and for work that has been inspired and influenced by Black culture. It is a site for the dynamic exchange of ideas about art and society. The Studio Museum is in the midst of a comprehensive, multi-million dollar Capital Campaign to build a new museum on 125th Street in Harlem, designed by architect Sir David Adjaye.

The Lead Art Preparator works in tandem with the Registrar and supervises other art handling technicians to facilitate the safe keeping and display of all artworks in our care. This role will be responsible for ensuring collection management policies are adhered to for the storage of a diverse museum collection in a new purpose-built location. They will establish an art handling team and mentor new art handling hires, setting the standards of care for all artwork on our premises.

Essential Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manages, organizes and maintains permanent art storage by assigning and tracking locations of artwork in the TMS database, preparing archival housings as needed for long-term preservation
  • Maintains cleanliness and orderliness of art storage vaults for the safety of personnel and art object, and together with Registrar monitors environmental conditions in all storage areas and galleries where art is located
  • Coordinates with storage facility building management to manage the release and receipt of shipments of art arranged by the Registrar.; serves as the primary contact for entry into storage space, as well as arranging transport and all logistics surrounding artwork
  • Coordinates with and facilitates access to artwork for professional contractors with regards to photography, packing, shipping, mount making, and conservation
  • Hires, manages, and directs contract art handlers to professionally handle, pack, unpack, store, install, and de-install artwork of all types according to museum standards
  • Liaise with outside professional colleagues including: art conservators, curators, appraisers, and scholars to facilitate research viewings and ensure accessibility of the collection
  • Unframes, mounts, mats, and frames artwork, as required
  • Develops installation and deinstallation schedules to provide logistical support to the Curatorial team
  • Willingness to work outside of normal hours to receive art shipments and assist with installations
  • Initiate and participate in periodic inventory checks to maintain accurate location records
  • Establish and update storage locations for artwork
  • In conjunction with the Registrar, assist in preparation and management of annual budget, which includes assessing hiring needs and materials budget allotments for installations and de-installations of permanent collection and temporary exhibitions
  • Assist in preparing the physical review of objects under consideration by Curatorial, Archive, Education, Retail, and Communications departments
  • Periodically attend related professional conferences and/or workshops to keep aware of advancements in the field
  • Attend institutional meetings
  • Maintains confidentiality and professionalism within or outside the Studio Museum at all times.
  • Communicates via email, telephone, and/or other manners with other Museum departments, curators, donors, vendors, other museum professionals, as well as the public in a professional manner
  • Other duties as assigned


Managerial and Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Direct Reports: Two to three
  • Recruitment: Collaborate with the Human Resources Department to recruit and select high caliber candidates for positions managed
  • Performance Management: Provide clear direction, regular feedback, and appropriate support to staff as needed to succeed in their jobs; assure high-performing staff are retained and staff who are unable to perform are respectfully transitioned out of the organization and replaced
  • Development: Provide staff with appropriate career and professional development opportunities
  • Engagement: Ensure staff are effectively engaged.
  • Culture & Environment: Foster staff behaviors and attitudes consistent with The Studio Museum in Harlem’s mission, core values, and desired organizational culture.


Key Stakeholders

• Curatorial Team
• Education
• Public Programs and Community Engagement

• Donors
• Board members
• Galleries
• Museums

Travel Requirements: ☒ Yes ☐ No
Percent travel required: 0 - 10%

Physical Demands: ☒ Yes ☐ No
• Twenty-five percent time spent sitting at the computer
• Seventy-five percent time on feet, actively supporting Studio Museum art collection(s) and exhibitions
• Some carrying and lifting up to twenty-five lbs
• Ability to use small tools
• Ability to stand on ladders and reach up high and down low
• Work for long periods in a climatized environment
• Work alone, if necessary




  • Bachelor’s degree with emphasis in art history, museum studies, or related field
  • Minimum five to seven years of art technician experience, with at least five at an art museum
  • Candidate must be highly organized, detail-oriented, and possess strong communication skills, both oral and written
  • Thorough knowledge and efficient mastery of software and databases such as Microsoft Office, Outlook, Adobe Photoshop, TMS and NetX
  • Familiarity with basic conservation conditions and terms. Skill and awareness concerning the sensitive handling of works of art including current best practices in packing, crating, and transportation of objects
  • Ability to prioritize and work calmly under pressure
  • Ability to work in a diverse environment



  • Ability to assess priorities and work well under pressure; excellent time management, problem solving, and analytical skills
  • Ability to visually inspect artwork
  • Ability to sit or stand for long periods of time
  • Ability to lift and carry fifty lbs
  • Ability to travel both nationally and internationally
  • Experience working as an art handler in a museum environment for five to seven years
  • Strong interest in collection management



Salary commensurate with experience, skills, and knowledge. A competitive benefits package is provided, including medical, dental, life, and long-term disability insurance, retirement account, and substantial vacation.



Please send your resume and cover letter to jobs@studiomuseum.org. Be sure to include, Lead Art Handler in the subject line. No phone calls or faxes, please.