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Industry: Curatorial Affairs

Company: Art Institute of Chicago


The Art Institute of Chicago shares its singular collections with our city and the world. We collect, care for, and interpret works of art across time, cultures, geographies, and identities, centering the vision of artists and makers. We recognize that all art is made in a particular context, demanding continual, dynamic reconsideration in the present. We are a place of gathering; we foster the exchange of ideas and inspire an expansive, inclusive understanding of human creativity.

We offer a competitive, comprehensive benefits package:

  • Generous paid time off
  • Paid holidays (up to 14 days)
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Generous parental, caregiver, and medical leave benefits
  • Competitive retirement plan (up to 9% matching contribution)
  • Tuition remission and Tuition Exchange Program
  • Great employee discounts
  • Complimentary general admission to participating cultural institutions
  • Want to stay abreast of the latest job openings at the Art Institute and the School of the Art Institute? Sign up for our Employment Opportunities E-announcements.

Salary Grade 7


All staff members are expected to embrace the museum’s commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable institution and to adhere to the museum’s shared values.

  • Our museum reflects and deepens our collective humanity; the arts are integral to an inspired and just society.
  • We respect and acknowledge each of our colleagues’ contributions and expertise across all roles within our organization.
  • We share in the responsibility to create an antiracist culture built on equity, inclusion, and justice for all, acknowledging that these efforts are intersectional and ongoing.
  • We encourage and advance a culture of hospitality, empathy, and gratitude for each visitor, supporter, and member of our staff.
  • We embrace innovation and foster change with a progressive understanding of-and obligation to reconsider-our past.
  • We sustain an open and dynamic civic platform, inviting and advancing the diverse perspectives of our city, staff, visitors, and supporters.


Responsible for the treatment, research, and long-term preservation of over 300,000 works of art in the Art Institute’s collections, the Department of Conservation and Science is integral to the museum’s mission to safeguard the world’s artistic and cultural legacy for future generations. Founded in 1956 with a single paintings conservator, the department has grown to a staff of over 30 specializing in nine disciplines organized in five divisions: Objects and Textiles, Paintings and Frames, Paper and Books, Photography and Media and Scientific Research.

Members of the department contribute to the advancement of the field and the broader awareness of conservation issues through multiple avenues of specialized and societal dissemination, are involved in object-based teaching and scientific research, and actively support the education of future conservation and museum professionals.


Reporting to the Director of Paper, Photography and Media Conservation and with varying degrees of supervision, carries out examination, research and treatment of objects in the permanent collection, providing ongoing care to Asian art on paper in the museum collections. Conducts in-depth studies and publishes on artists’ technique and on methods and materials used in the making or caring of works of art. Assists with preparation, installation, and documentation of exhibitions and loans, and serves as a courier with artwork as needed. Assists with collection care and preventive conservation processes. Is committed to and actively engaged in fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment.


Treatment and Collection Care

  • Prepares treatment proposals in consultation with the Director of Paper, Photography and Media Conservation and specialty conservators. Executes conservation treatments with supervision.
  • Determines and documents an object’s condition, including technical imaging and material analysis when possible.
  • Contributes to activities related to preventative care of Asian art on Paper in the galleries and in storage.
  • May be asked to assist visiting conservators of Asian art and other contractors as they are hired to perform treatment or assessments on our collection objects.
  • With varying degrees of supervision, is expected to serve as liaison with conservation studios in Asia on matters pertaining to the conservation of the Art Institute’s collection.
  • Responds to emergencies that occur in galleries or storage areas as requested.

Exhibitions, Loans, and Acquisitions

  • With varying degrees of supervision, carries out examinations on Asian artworks on paper as they enter and leave the museum for loans; prepares and shares related documentation.
  • With varying levels of supervision, is responsible for review of works under consideration for purchase and preparation of relevant documentation.
  • As assigned by supervisor, manages the conservation requirements for exhibitions, including condition reporting and minor treatment, and ensuring that environmental requirements of lenders are met.
  • Serves as a courier (virtual or in person) for artwork if needed.

Conservation records

  • Maintains all conservation documentation pertaining to the collection in the department’s files and shares copies in the museum’s collection management database and digital asset management system in accordance with the highest archival and digital preservation standards.

Materials and Supplies

  • Contributes to lab maintenance and safety, researches and orders supplies in consultation with the Director of Paper, Photography and Media Conservation and the Administrative Coordinator for Conservation and Science.


  • Maintains clear communication with colleagues about ongoing priorities, goals, and projects.
  • Supports the museum in its commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution; treats colleagues and visitors fairly and respectfully, recognizing the value that diverse backgrounds and perspectives bring to our organization.


  • Conducts research and publishes on technique, conservation and on methods and materials of Asian art on paper.
  • Performs basic technical analysis after training and conducts advanced scientific investigation in partnership with the museum’s conservation scientists.

Communication, professional development and dissemination

  • Keeps up to date with the newest technologies and seeks ways of applying them to the conservation of The Art Institute’s collections.
  • Travels to attend conferences and workshops, presents papers and confers with colleagues.
  • Publishes results of research projects in Museum publications, on social media, and in journals aimed at both professional and general audiences.
  • With supervision, corresponds with professionals with regard to research, answers inquiries of a technical nature, in-house and outside the institution. Answers public inquiries by phone and mail as necessary. Conducts studio tours and lectures.

Training and Mentorship

  • May be asked by supervisor to participate in the training and supervision of art handlers, photographers and other specialists in all aspects of their work with objects and equipment.


  • Bachelor’s degree required, with a concentration in conservation or from a recognized
    conservation-training program strongly preferred. Master’s degree preferred
  • 2 year’s of post-graduate experience, or commensurate qualification and experience preferred. Preference will be given to applicants who have demonstrated experience in labs specializing in the conservation of Asian art either in the US or abroad.
  • Proven expertise in and commitment to the treatment of Asian art on paper and related
  • Working knowledge of the materials and techniques used in Asian manuscripts, Japanese prints,
    Tibetan thangkas, hanging and hand scrolls, and Indian miniatures preferred.
  • Must have good verbal and written communication skills in English as demonstrated by written reports, publications, presentations and/or social media presence.
  • Must be able to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines and be proficient at project
  • Embraces the museum’s commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable institution.


The Art Institute of Chicago is an Equal Opportunity Employer that recruits, hires and promotes qualified individuals without regard to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, veteran status or citizenship. The Institute complies with federal and state disability laws and makes reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, please contact the Department of Human Resources at


This position is part of a bargaining unit represented by AFSCME Council 31

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