Chief Preparator

Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University

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The Cantor Arts Center seeks an experienced museum preparator to oversee and manage assigned staff engaged in installation and gallery maintenance. The Chief Preparator is a hands-on, detail-oriented manager to oversee all technical aspects of the Museum’s art handling projects. The Chief 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 pedestals, props, temporary walls, and other display designs; securing services of outside contractors; assuring a safe and healthy work environment through knowledge of best practices. The Chief Preparator is a key team member for the Museum’s ambitious schedule of exhibitions and collection use.

  • Organize department’s short-term and long-term projects

  • Ensure successful installation of artwork spanning all mediums – works on paper, painting, 3D objects, video and new media art, etc.

  • Coordinate and manage daily activities of installation staff 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 and mechanical and 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

  • Coordinate activities, construction, and renovation with Cantor staff, subcontractors, and/or vendors. Support assigned project activities; ensure compliance with larger unit goals.

  • Train on operation of tools and equipment associated with woodworking, electrical, light construction, and audio-visual and computer displays

  • Other duties may also be assigned

  • Education & Experience: 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.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Ability to coordinate daily activities including work scheduling, quality assurance, program validation, 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 experience analyzing and interpreting policies

  • 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

  • Certifications and Licenses: None


  • Frequently sitting, perform desk-based computer tasks, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh up to 10 pounds.

  • Occasionally stand/walk, twist/bend/stoop/squat, grasp lightly/fine manipulation, use a telephone, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh up to 11-20 pounds.

  • Rarely 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.

    • Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.


  • Requires 24-hour response availability seven days per week for emergency situations.

  • May be exposed to noise > 80dB TWA.

  • May working at heights 4 - 10 ft.


Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.

Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.

Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide,

How to Apply

Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Stanford welcomes applications from all who would bring additional dimensions to the University’s research, teaching and clinical missions.

Posted on April 17