Collections Assistant

Harvard University

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Reporting to the Assistant Director for Collections, the Collections Assistant will be responsible for a variety of tasks involved in providing a safe environment for the works of art in the Harvard Art Museums’ collections. This public facing position will also monitor classes and appointments in all of the Harvard Art Museums’ facilities, engaging with visitors in a professional and courteous manner.

Schedule: Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm


Safely execute the physical movement of artwork and complete all related documentation. The Collections Assistant will assist in making assessments concerning the safety of artwork and take the necessary action and/or report problems to the appropriate staff. This position will be required to work in both Cambridge and Somerville facilities as assigned and perform other duties as required.

Ensure the safe and timely preparation of works of art for by handling and moving art in the galleries storage areas and all art viewing spaces.

Properly set up display furniture for appointments in all of the art viewing spaces and remove at the close of these appointments

Track and update art movement data in museum database system

Monitor class and study appointments as assigned.

Provide instructions to visitors regarding the Art Study Centers guidelines and policies at the start of class and study appointments

Provide clear art handling instructions to visitors

Correct visitor behavior when necessary to protect the safety of the artwork

Assist with object handling during class and individual study appointments

Answer visitor questions regarding the artwork to the best of his/her ability using the collection information in the Museums’ database

Art handling staff in the Collections Access Department will act as lead contact, on a rotating basis, for the following areas of responsibility as determined by the Assistant Director for Collections:

Digital Imaging and Visual Resources

Conservation Lab

Art Viewing Appointments

Exhibition Installation and Campus Lending

Collections and Storage Maintenance


Candidates MUST meet the following basic qualifications in order to be considered for this role:

Minimum of two years of art handling or related experience. Minimum of one year of customer service experience. Ability to lift up to 50 lbs. Ability to walk, stand, stoop, push, and pull; must be able to reach and work above the shoulders, climb ladders, lift, kneel, twist, and squat.

Additional Qualifications

Bachelor’s Degree strongly preferred. BFA in studio art or design or BA in art history or Museum Studies preferred; consideration will be given for equivalent related work experience.

Strong desire to work with public. Experience working with the public in a customer service environment strongly preferred. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills (written and verbal).

Installation experience preferably in an art museum or gallery. Demonstrated experience with handling and installing a variety of art objects. Experience with gallery preparation; matting and framing skills; woodworking skills; mechanical ability and shop experience preferred.

Proficiency with computer software. Familiarity with The Museum System (TMS) is preferred. Demonstrated ability to prioritize tasks and to meet competing deadlines in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Proven ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with a variety of individuals and groups.

This position may be required to work occasional evening and/or weekend.

This position requires pre-employment reference and background screenings, including an identity check and criminal background check.

How to Apply

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Posted on August 12