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 and build an art handling team and mentor new art handling hires, setting the standards of care for all artwork on our premises and in our galleries.

Essential Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • With Registrar, leads the effort to manage, organize, and maintain permanent collection art storage. This includes:
    • Facilitating the physical review of permanent and special collection objects as needed for viewing and by conservators, curators, appraisers, and scholars to ensure accessibility of the collection
    • Hiring, managing, and directing contract art technicians to professionally handle, pack, unpack, store, install, and de-install artwork of all types according to Museum standards
    • Assigning and tracking locations of artwork in the TMS database and overseeing periodic inventory checks to maintain accurate location records
    • Preparing archival housings as needed for long-term preservation
    • Unframing, mounting, matting, and framing artwork as required
    • Sourcing, building, and overseeing the design and fabrication of exhibition design furniture such as plinths, bases, vitrines, mounts, all hardware needs
  • Coordinate with storage facility building management to manage the release and receipt of shipments of art arranged by the Registrar; acts as the primary contact for entry into storage space; arranges transport and all logistics surrounding artwork 
  • Maintain cleanliness and orderliness of art storage vaults for the safety of personnel and art objects, and with Registrar monitors environmental conditions in all storage areas and galleries where art is located
  • Willingness to work outside of normal hours to receive art shipments and assist with installations
  • Communicates via email, telephone, and/or other manners with all 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

  • 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
  • Oversee, in collaboration with the Assistant Curator/Exhibition Coordinator and Registrar, installation and deinstallation exhibition schedules
  • Periodically attend related professional conferences and/or workshops to keep aware of advancements in the field
  • Attend relevant institutional meetings and provide constructive feedback with regards to best practice art handling
  • Maintain confidentiality and professionalism within or outside the Studio Museum at all times
  • Manage two to three direct reports (may vary depending on size of installation team)
  • Collaborate with the Human Resources Department to recruit art technicians and select high caliber candidates for positions managed
  • Provide clear direction, regular feedback, and appropriate support to staff as needed to succeed in their jobs
  • Provide staff with appropriate career and professional development opportunities
  • Ensure staff are effectively engaged
  • Foster staff behaviors and attitudes consistent with the Studio Museum’s mission, core values, and desired organizational culture


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 25 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


Key Stakeholders

• Curatorial Team
• Education
• Public Programs and Community Engagement

• Donors
• Board members
• Galleries
• Museums



  • 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
  • Skill and awareness concerning the sensitive handling of works of art including current best practices in packing, crating, and transportation of objects
  • Thorough knowledge and efficient mastery of software and databases such as Microsoft Office, Outlook, and familiarity with TMS and NetX
  • Working knowledge of A/V equipment and exhibition technologies
  • Fabrication experience, candidate has a network of vendors and general awareness of best practices tied to production of artwork and exhibitions
  • Knowledge of exhibition/architectural rendering software, such as SketchUp, Rhino, AutoCAD, and Adobe Photoshop a plus
  • Familiarity with basic conservation conditions and terms
  • 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 50 lbs.
  • Ability to travel both nationally and internationally
  • 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 Preparator in the subject line. No phone calls or faxes, please.

Please note that while careful consideration will be given to each submission, the Museum will only be able to contact those applicants whose knowledge, skills and work experience best fit the requirements of the position. No phone calls or faxes, please.