Careers   ·  April 15, 2021

Lead Preparator

Lead Preparator

Reports to: Manager of Collections and Exhibitions
Pay Range: $20-$22/hour (non-exempt)

This position is part of the Department of Visual Learning, which oversees exhibitions, collections, library, and education projects and programs. The primary responsibilities of the Lead Preparator are to assist the Manager of Collections and Exhibitions with caring for the Museum’s collections; work on preparation, installation, and upkeep for temporary exhibitions; and assist with daily departmental operations. The following duties are reflective of typical responsibilities, but are not all-inclusive:

Permanent Collection

  • Assist the Manager of Collections and Exhibitions and Assistant Registrar with collection housing. This includes, but is not limited to, tracking movement of art objects, moving works, matting photographs, and constructing boxes for storage.
  • Work cross-departmentally to prepare digital assets and physical objects for programs involving the permanent collection.
  • Assist the Manager of Collections and Exhibitions with the evaluation of the Museum’s current standards of collection care, identifying priorities and implementing strategies for improvement.
  • Ensure that staff follows collection care policies.
  • Coordinate collection care needs with curatorial needs.


  • Work with department staff to plan exhibitions, including, but not limited to, gallery layouts, wall texts, and interactive elements. This also includes working cross-departmentally to ensure proper installation and functionality of art works or installations involving sound, moving images, and specialty lighting.
  • Coordinate with contract-based exhibition graphic designers and fabricators.
  • Fabricate exhibition components, including, but not limited to, vitrines, cases, mounts, and interpretive displays.
  • Repair and maintain MOPA exhibitions.
  • Prepare artwork for exhibitions, including matting and framing.
  • Adjust gallery lighting for artwork in exhibitions.
  • In collaboration with the rest of the exhibitions team, the Lead Preparator will receive and unpack incoming art objects, as well as pack and facilitate the pick-up of outgoing art shipments.
  • Order supplies, such as paint, vinyl and hardware, for exhibition installations, and work closely with Manager of Collections & Exhibitions to track installation budgets.
  • During installation periods, which typically happen 2-3 times per year, work closely with Manager of Collections & Exhibitions to hire and train temporary preparators. The individual in this role will oversee day-to-day aspects of installation.


  • Maintain an orderly workshop and ensure a safe environment for working with paints and solvents, power tools, and other shop equipment.
  • Follow Museum standards of design, accessibility, conservation, security, environmental control, safety, and ADA requirements.
  • Maintain orderly procedures, forms, documents, and files.
  • Supervise volunteer projects, as needed.


  • The position requires a highly detailed professional with knowledge of museum operations and expertise in fine art handling best practices and procedures. The candidate must be able to work with a diverse team possessing a wide range of knowledge, experience, and abilities.
  • Minimum of two years’ experience in art handling and exhibition installation, with familiarity with exhibition development. We are committed to finding the right individual for the position and equivalent experience or education in a related field will be considered.
  • Experience and expertise with matting and framing artwork required.
  • Knowledge of construction, carpentry and electrical skills required.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to work independently. Must work effectively in a fast-paced team environment and adjust quickly to changing priorities.
  • Basic copyediting and research skills are preferred.
  • Experience working with a vinyl plotter is preferred.
  • Computer literacy with digital image capture, expertise in software including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Sketch Up, and the Microsoft office suite are preferred.
  • Willingness to be trained to assist with collection management tracking of object locations.

This job description is intended as a guide to the general job responsibilities and is not inclusive of every duty and employee is expected to perform. MOPA is committed to an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible (IDEA) workplace. As an organization, we seek to carry out hiring practices that meet these standards. (EOE/AA)

This is a benefits eligible, part-time position that will primarily require the individual to be on-site. Regular hours will likely be 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, but can be negotiated. A full-time schedule will be required surrounding installation periods. Must be available to work some weekends, holidays, and evenings.

Physical Requirements

☒ Sitting ☒ Grasping
☒ Walking(periods of 3 hours at a time ☐ Traveling
☒ Bending/stooping ☒ Kneeling
☒ Reaching outward ☒ Pushing/pulling 
☒ Squatting/crouching Usual amount 15 lbs (estimate)
☒ Manual dexterity Max amount 60 lbs (estimate)
☐ Crawling ☒ Lifting
☒ Balancing Usual amount 20lbs (estimate)
☒ Standing  Max amount 40 lbs (estimate)
☐ Driving ☒ Carrying
☐ Climbing Usual amount 10lbs (estimate)
☒ Reaching Above Shoulder Max amount 20 lbs (estimate)

To apply, please email your resume, cover letter, and three references to katayama@mopa.org. No phone calls please.



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