Collections Manager/Head Preparator
140 W 17th Street
About the Museum
The Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea, New York City, explores and celebrates the diversity and uniqueness of Himalayan art, ideas and culture across history and into the present. With its globally renowned collection of nearly 4,000 objects largely centered around the Tibetan Plateau and spanning 1,500 years, the Rubin fosters understanding and appreciation of this region by relating its art and ideas to our shared human experience today.
The Rubin offers innovative exhibitions and programs that examine provocative ideas across the arts and explores the mind. Through this work, the Rubin serves as a space for reflection and personal transformation, opening windows to inner worlds so visitors can better navigate outer ones.
Within its five floors of galleries are several long-term rotating installations drawn from the permanent collection as well as frequent short-term exhibitions that are more broadly conceived.
Now in its second decade, the Rubin welcomed around 170,000 visitors last year and has a growing membership of more than 4,000 households.
About the Position
The Collections Manager/Head Preparator works within the Rubin Museum’s Curatorial and Collections team overseeing collections management, art preparation and storage, and installation of exhibitions. The Collections Manager/Head Preparator will work closely with curators, artists, conservators, registrars, exhibitions designers, art handlers, and other museum staff in order to manage the overall care and risk mitigation for the collections in the museums custody and ensure proper handling and installation of artworks in the museum’s galleries.
The Collections Manager/Head Preparator will be responsible for the supervision of the Art Handler/Crew Coordinator position.
This is a full-time exempt position. The incumbent will report to the Director of Curatorial Administration and Collections (DCAC).
• Manages the ongoing, day-to-day care, maintenance, and risk mitigation of nearly 3,600 objects in the museum’s collection and works of art in the museum’s custody and control in multiple locations, according to professional museum standards.
• Ensures staff adheres to the Collections Management Policy and follows proper procedures and policy related to the uses and handling of the art collections in the Rubin Museum’s care. In consultation with DCAC, updates policies and procedures as required to maintain industry standards and workflow adjustments.
• Establishes and maintains high standards of collections care from acquisitions to conservation to display.
• Works collaboratively with the DCAC, Registrar, Curators, the Collections Information Manager, Art handlers, Exhibition Designer, mount makers, and operations teams.
• Assists DCAC with departmental budgets and expenditures of projects in storage, housing, preventative conservation, conservation and framing.
• Facilitates and supervises visits to all art storages with Curators, education, outside scholars, conservators, framers and other museum staff examining collections and participates in the collection assessment project with Curatorial, Registration and the DCAC.
• Manages annual inventory and a complete inventory every five years as per the Collections Management Policy.
• Evaluates objects for potential exhibition or loan consideration, and makes recommendation to DCAC about fragility level, special display or shipping requirements, housing or storage needs. Works with Registrar to facilitate stabilization and safety of objects for installation or loan. Recommends special case or mounting requirements to Registrar and Exhibition Designer.
• Documents object information in database, working with Collections Information Manager to ensure all information regarding physical nature, handling, installation, display, packing, shipping, environmental and special requirements are recorded
• Tracks environmental conditions and integrated pest management in all Art storage spaces and galleries, report irregularities, develops and implements solutions for irregularities in consultation with conservation professionals and DCAC.
• Manages and monitors the condition and appearance of all art and crate storage areas in a secure, clean, organized and work-ready state, according to museum standards.
• Facilitates and coordinates with the Registrars the movement of objects between the museum and storage spaces.
• Overseas updates on an accurate and timely basis art movement logs, tagging of artwork related to our bar-coding system, and physically numbering artwork to maintain collection inventory control according to Rubin’s policy and procedure.
• Collaborates with DCAC, ops, registrars and other key stakeholders in emergency planning, management and training of staff. Part of EMP key team.
• Responsible for the recruitment, scheduling, training and coordination of temporary exhibition art handlers at times of exhibition changes. Efficiently manages labor hours and expenditures.
• Assists Exhibition Designer in preparation of exhibition spaces for permanent and temporary loan exhibitions.
• Assists Exhibition Designer in the preparation of exhibition furniture, cases, mounts, and other non-art items necessary for the display of works of art and installing components in exhibition and public spaces using sound conservation methods and techniques.
• Dismantles exhibition cases and components, and is responsible for the moving materials to and from storage spaces, in conjunction with Exhibition Designer.
• Maintains records of exhibition technical specifications, as well as a materials and furniture inventory.
• Prepares works for exhibitions including evaluating condition, framing and mounting requirements, packing solutions, re-housing plans, and movement of artwork to and from off-site storage, conservators, and framers. In conjunction with Registrars, updates preparation documents to distribute to exhibition team.
• Coordinates packing, unpacking, and crating of artwork, including fabrication of packing cases and retrofitting crates for permanent collection, traveling exhibitions and loans according to Rubin procedures and museum standards.
• Maintains inventory and orders supplies for art storage and maintains storage of supplies in a secure and orderly fashion.
• Organizes art in preparation for photography.
• Supervises part-time and freelance art handlers and staff working with the collection and on exhibitions when necessary.
• Hires, trains, and supervises contract labor and student interns for collection projects. Included it as a separate bullet from the above.
• Other duties as assigned.
• Bachelor’s degree required; MA or MFA preferred.
• Must have a minimum of 5 years of experience in collections management practices and policies, and knowledge of preventative conservation, object housing and storage is required.
• Must have at least 3 to 5 years of experience in fine art handling, installation, packing, crating, and transportation in a museum or gallery setting as a fine art preparatory or conservation technician.
• Familiarity with Asian Art a plus.
• Ability to work collaboratively with a team, manage an installation crew, and follow instructions.
• Must have excellent organization skills, attention to detail, multi-tasking skills, communication, problem-solving skills and be self-motivated.
• Proficient computer skills required in the use of Microsoft Office: Word, Excel; Outlook and some knowledge of PowerPoint.
• Knowledge of TMS and Asana project management software applications a plus.
• Experience and willingness to act as museum courier on a regional and national level.
• Demonstrated proficiency in carpentry skills and use of shop tools and equipment.
• Must be able to climb ladders (of up to 18 feet or more) and operate lifting equipment along with the ability to lift, push, pull, and support heavy objects, crates, and other items between 30 to 50 pounds in weight.
• Valid driver’s license along with a clean driving record – a plus.
• Must be able to work occasionally on weekends and evenings.
Salary: $70k to $75k commensurate with experience.
The Rubin Museum offers a generous and competitive benefits package.
Please provide the following as part of your application:
• Complete resume.
• A cover letter addressing both your interest in the Rubin Museum, and your
qualifications for this position.
• Please indicate Collections Manager/Head Preparator on Subject Line of email or in body of cover letter.
• Application in electronic format preferred, and accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Mail application to Attention: Head of Human Resources, Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011.