Collections Preservation Supervisor

Wisconsin Historical Society

This position is located in the Library, Archives, and Museum Collections Division of the Wisconsin Historical Society located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin Madison. The Wisconsin Historical Society holds one of the premier research collections on North American history in the United States, with library holdings of 3.9 million items and Archives of 110,000 cubic feet. The Division is a depository for both federal and state government publications and is the home of the State Archives. In addition to its excellent Wisconsin collections, the Division is widely known for its genealogical collections, newspapers and periodicals holdings, special collections, and archival collections in mass communications, social action, and organized labor.

The Wisconsin Historical Society is an affiliate of the University of Wisconsin and the Headquarters Building is located in the heart of the UW-Madison campus. The Library at the Wisconsin Historical Society is the University of Wisconsin’s North American History Library.


Under the general supervision of the Administrator of the Library, Archives, and Museum Collections (LAMC), the Collections Preservation Supervisor leads preservation planning and operations across the Society. The LAMC preserves major state and national research collections for the study of North American history, consisting of more than 3.9 million books and government documents, 114,000 cubic feet of manuscripts and state and local government records, 110,000 historical objects, 400,000 archeological items, 20,000 maps, 3 million historical photographs, 20,000 films, 40,000 sound recordings, and 85 terabytes of preservation critical data. Approximately 15% of the archival collections are permanently located outside Madison at member institutions of the Wisconsin Area Research Center Network, a cooperative system of regional repositories. Another 30% of the Society’s collections are maintained and made accessible at the new $46.7 million State Archive Preservation Facility, located three miles away from the Society’s headquarters building. Other collections are housed at WHS historic sites and museums, including major archival and object collections at Circus World Museum, Wade House, Old World Wisconsin, and Madeline Island Museum.

The Preservation Supervisor is responsible for the preservation program in the LAMC Division and for the operations of the paper conservation lab, the library preservation program, the micro- and digital-imaging labs, the audio lab, and an object conservation lab. The Supervisor directs permanent staff of at least 4.00 FTE and 4.00 FTE of part-time staff. The Supervisor works closely with supervisors of four other program areas in the Division, providing preservation expertise and guidance to staff assigned to preservation work in particular and to all Society staff in general. The Supervisor advises the Administrator of the LAMC on overall direction of the preservation program. The Supervisor conducts research and planning; identifies priorities; develops policies, standards and procedures and orients staff to them; plans and manages implementation projects, and preservation plans for collections in all formats; prepares grant proposals; and develops plans and specifications for consultants. The Supervisor ensures that preservation storage environments are monitored and oversees the implementation of standards for all rehousing, reformatting, and conservation activities performed by division staff, including procedures performed in the conservation lab, audio lab, imaging lab, library, moving image archives, and by the technical, curatorial, and public services staffs. The Supervisors plans and coordinates disaster recovery procedures for the division and contributes to the security of collections. This position requires frequent contact with outside agencies, institutions and individuals.


A minimally qualified candidate will have experience in all of the following:

  • Supervising and motivating staff in a library environment (create work plans for staff, hire and train staff, evaluate staff performance)

  • Experience in the theory and practice of Preservation Project Management with varied formats (print, digital, or audiovisual resources)

  • Experience in 1 of the following: Paper Conservation, Micro-Imaging & Digital Integrity, Material Culture Conservation or Electronic Preservation

  • Experience creating and/or administering budgets and income/expense tracking

In addition to all the minimum qualifications, a well-qualified candidate will have experience in:

  • Preparing grant proposals for government or federal agencies

  • Practical theory of electronic records and digital preservation methodology

How to Apply

To apply for this position all applications must be received through the Wisconsin job portal,

Posted on January 23