Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library seeks two part-time conservation assistants for a two year grant-supported project to clean and lacquer or re-lacquer approximately 500 pieces from its extensive collection of early American silver. Working under the supervision of Winterthur staff in objects conservation, both conservation assistants will first receive training in the appropriate procedures used to remove failed coatings from silver and silver plated objects, gently clean the surface, remove all polish residues, and then lacquer the silver objects through brush or spray application. The conservation assistants will be responsible for photographing the objects before and after treatment using a digital SLR camera. They will create full treatment records, enter information and images in the collections database, and track work flow and object movement in a spreadsheet. This is Phase II of a continuing project and a description of Phase I can be found at: http://www.winterthur.org/pdfs/Silver_Coating.pdf
Requirements: The position requires careful attention to detail, and meticulous approach during all treatment steps. An ability to discern subtle variations in surface texture and color, good hand skills and tidiness are essential components for a successful lacquer coating and must be demonstrated. An aptitude for working and communicating as part of a team including conservators, a curator, art handlers, and registrars, is also expected. Winterthur Museum staff will provide training specific to the project and safe handling of all materials and equipment. It is expected that the Assistants will work approximately three days a week and must be able to work with their hands performing tasks involved in polishing and lacquering silver where repetitive motion including substantial movements (motions) of the wrists, hands, and/or fingers is required. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent with course work related to art or material culture and either studio art courses or outside work demonstrating well developed hand skills. Applicants should also have prior experience in a cultural institution or comparable setting handling works of art, and proficient computer skills in MS Office or Mac OS applications. Applicants with digital photographic skills and some background in conservation or with metal working are preferred. Candidate applications should be submitted to Employment at Winterthur and include a curriculum vitae, a letter summarizing the applicant’s interest in this position, and contact information for two references.
Application deadline: Review of applications will begin as of December 21, 2016 and continue until the position is filled. Expected start date for the positions is in January 2017. Funding for these positions is made possible by a two-year, Museums for America program grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).