Director, Objects and Textiles Conservation

Art Institute of Chicago

Reporting to the Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science, plans and directs the work of Objects and Textiles Conservation and establishes procedures for collection care, treatment, research and examination of 3D objects and textiles in the museum collection. This role also manages conservation documentation, workflows and recommendations pertaining to loans, exhibitions, storage, handling, transport, acquisition and deaccession of 3D objects and textiles. Sets standards for conservation based upon knowledge of works of art and of conservation best practices. Responsible for the maintenance and management of the objects and textiles conservation studios and related equipment and budgets.

This position also participates in initiatives to advance the broader Conservation and Science department, including fundraising, communication and digital initiatives. Contributes to national and international dialogue on the care and research of 3D objects and textiles. Engages with the public, scholars, students and peers to disseminate the research and activities of Objects and Textiles Conservation. Is committed to developing the staff in objects and textiles conservation and is actively engaged in fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment.


Leadership and supervision

  • Directs and plans the operations of Objects and Textiles Conservation museum wide in consultation with the Executive Director of Conservation and Science. Keeps the Executive Director informed regarding the activities of Objects and Textiles Conservation and provides regular updates on the progress of major treatments and other projects.

Treatment and Collection Care

  • Surveys the 3D objects and textiles collections for condition and works with the appropriate curator and Executive Director of Conservation and Science to set treatment priorities and carry out treatments using the most up to date methods and materials.

Exhibitions, Loans, and Acquisitions

  • Oversees the examination of 3D objects and textiles proposed for loan and makes recommendations based upon physical condition. Examines, writes condition reports and recommends environmental standards for objects in the permanent collection as they enter and leave the museum.

Facilities and budgeting

  • Manages and oversees maintenance and upgrades of the Objects and Textiles conservation laboratories. Oversees purchases of equipment and supplies to support operations of the labs.

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.


  • Develops, prioritizes and manages short and long-term research projects focused on the treatment or study of the materials, structure, and techniques of objects and textiles, in collaboration with scientists, curators, fellows and other scholars.


  • Is committed to working collaboratively with the other Conservation and Science Directors for the benefit of the department and the museum.

Philanthropic stewardship

  • With colleagues in Development, and in consultation with the Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science, works to raise funds for the Conservation and Science department, for Objects and Textiles conservation and for particular projects.

Training and Mentorship

  • Actively engages in the professional development of the team.

  • Identifies opportunities for training and professional development that can benefit the individual, the specialty and/or the entire department.

  • Master’s degree from a recognized conservation training program with a minimum of ten years of post-graduate experience, or equivalent training and experience.

  • Proven expertise in the treatment of 3D objects and/or textiles, including major and complex treatments.

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills as demonstrated by a track record of publications and presentations.

  • Should demonstrate proficiency with a variety of software platforms for administration, project management and image processing.

  • Previous management experience preferred.

  • Embraces the museum’s commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable institution.

How to Apply

Please apply online at: for full description and requirements

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace. We believe in a staff culture that benefits from a wide range of experience, backgrounds, and career paths, and we encourage nontraditional candidates to apply.

Posted on July 9