Museum Preparator
Job Details
Agua Caliente Cultural Museum - , CA
Full Time
Position Summary

The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (ACCM) seeks an experienced museum preparator to oversee and manage gallery operations and maintenance. The Lead Preparator is a hands-on, detail-oriented manager who will oversee all technical aspects of the Museum's art handling, exhibitions, and building projects. The Lead Preparator is responsible for museum-quality art handling related to installation and de-installation, including: receiving, packing and unpacking, handling, and displaying fine art objects; planning and directing the fabrication of exhibition furniture, temporary walls, and other display designs; securing services of outside contractors; assuring a safe and healthy work environment through knowledge of best practices. Experienced with maintaining digital media installations. As an integral part of the team, the Lead Preparator will perform other duties in support of the Curatorial & Collections Department, as assigned.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage the ACCM’s review process of exhibition construction shop drawings
  • Assist in overseeing the installation of the museum’s inaugural exhibition by coordinating multiple vendors, liaising with the Tribe’s construction department and ensuring safety in the gallery
  • Ensure successful installation of artwork spanning all mediums – ethnographic objects, works on paper, painting, video, and new media
  • Coordinate and manage daily activities of assistants and contract service providers, including: working with exhibiting artists, scheduling and assigning work to staff and directing and leading workers in completing assigned work; monitoring work and project activity progress, making necessary changes; completing performance evaluations of assigned staff; performing quality assurance checks
  • Oversee maintenance of museum galleries during exhibitions, including lighting, mechanical, media, and all technical aspects of exhibitions
  • Work independently and assume direct responsibility for complex tasks 
  • Implement, interpret, and manage policies and procedures pertaining to installation and gallery management, including health and safety programs and training
  • Track budget for area of responsibility, and provide time and workforce needs and estimates to higher level management based on cost analyses, ensuring work is completed according to stipulated price and agreement
  • Train on operation of tools and equipment associated with artwork installation, electrical, light construction, and audio-visual and computer displays 
  • Assist with the preparation and move of collection items when needed
  • Monitor HVAC systems in museum galleries, entrance, and receiving areas

* - Other duties may also be assigned


Preferred Education an Experience Requirements:
A combination of education, training, and experience performing responsibilities similar to those listed above. Minimum of 5 years working in an art museum or gallery setting. Prior experience in a lead or supervisory capacity strongly preferred.

Abilities, Skills, and Knowledge:


  • Ability to coordinate daily activities including work scheduling, quality assurance, monitoring of installation and gallery maintenance activities, and supervision of personnel
  • Demonstrated experience working with subcontractors/vendors and demonstrated ability to monitor project activities and ensure compliance with internal/external regulations
  • Demonstrated knowledge of best museum practices, including AAM guidelines
  • Use problem-solving skills to perform concurrent multiple tasks in a busy environment
  • Knowledge of environmental and safety rules, regulations, and policies. Ability to conduct job site inspections to ensure compliance
  • Ability to follow written and verbal directions and communicate those instructions to others
  • Exhibition design experience strongly preferred
  • Knowledge of SketchUp or AutoCAD desired   
  • Operate a scissor lift safely
  • Experience with mount making and preservation techniques

Physical Demands:
Stand/walk, twist/bend/stoop/squat, grasp lightly/fine manipulation, use a telephone, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh up to 50 pounds.

Kneel/crawl, climb (ladders, scaffolds, or other), reach/work above shoulders, grasp forcefully, writing by hand, sort/file paperwork or parts, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh >40 pounds.

Working Environment:
Requires 24-hour response availability seven days per week for emergency situations. Work on evenings and weekends may be required and scheduled in advance.

May be exposed to noise > 80dB TWA.

May working at heights up to 24 ft.