Lead Preparator

Washington State Historical Society

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About the position:

As the presentation of exhibitions is a primary purpose of the Washington State History Museum, and a major activity of the Washington State Historical Society, this position is essential to advancement of the society’s mission and goals. You will be responsible for the preparation, fabrication, installation, and care, of museum exhibitions at the WSHS, both internal and external, physical and digital, as well as supervision of contracted exhibition personnel. You’ll collaborate with the exhibition designer and curator to develop the look and feel of museum exhibitions. You are an integral part of the curatorial team in the crating and placements of mounts based on museum best practices and specialized training.


Some of what you’ll enjoy doing includes:

Curates and cares for artifact displays within exhibitions

Handles and installs artwork and cultural artifacts using knowledge of museum best practices in art and artifact handling

Develops and executes exhibition installation schedule

Constructs walls, pedestals, object mounts, exhibition environments, interpretive panels, and interactives (some designs may be required Independently formats, prints, cuts, and mounts interpretive panels and labels)

Maintains the object support systems for object display and storage including mannequins and custom mounts

Installs and uninstalls the physical configurations and elements of WSHS exhibitions

Installs and uninstalls exhibitions on-loan or rented to WSHS from professional exhibition developers

Prepares galleries for installation by patching, painting, building, fabricating, and positioning of temporary walls

Collaborates with Collections team in transporting, packing/unpacking exhibit components and artifacts, utilizing knowledge of museum standards and best practices to protect artifacts

Procures and ensures exhibit supply orders are placed and appropriate materials are onsite and on-time per exhibition installation schedules, and for general maintenance of exhibitions

Maintains the wood shop and fabrication lab, including cleanliness, safety, and functionality of tools, printers, and other equipment

Resolve highly complex design and manufacturing problems such as performing construction work from verbal or minimal written instructions to manufacture exhibition components; diagnosing, troubleshooting, repairing and rebuilding machine tools and/or mechanical devices as needed

Curates exhibition objects through their safe display in frames, casework, and other display mechanisms while following best practices set by the American Alliance of Museum in keeping with the museum’s accreditation

Facilitates production of assets for digital exhibitions, including exhibit documentation and interpretive content

Collaborates with the Society’s Digital Storyteller and provides raw files and content for digital exhibition components

Curates a visual gallery experience for online visitors through photographic representation of exhibitions. (With new technology that’s been acquired)

Assists in the creation of virtual tours by providing 360-degree photos of galleries and additional raw digital assets

Installs, repairs, and troubleshoots audiovisual equipment in galleries

Positions lighting in temporary exhibition galleries, troubleshoots lighting problems in exhibition galleries

Provides support to audiovisual technician and contractors



Bachelor’s degree in history, anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, fine arts, education or closely related field


Two (2) or more years of experience in a museum, fabrication shop, architecture firm, or gallery setting


Associate’s degree


Four (4) years of experience in a museum, fabrication shop, architecture firm, or gallery setting


Any combination of education and/or experience totaling six (6) years

Additional requirements include:

Must be comfortable standing for long periods of time

Must be able to lift, move or transfer 25lbs

Must be able to climb and work from tall ladders

Must pass a background check

Must possess a Washington state driver’s license

Experience installing 2D and 3D artifacts and artworks

The ideal applicant will also have:

Intermediate to advanced carpentry techniques and joinery including safe operation of stationary shop equipment and a full complement of hand tools

Beginner to Intermediate skills with Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop and InDesign), Microsoft office suite, and Sketchup or CADD drawing software

Strong curiosity regarding museum display strategies, exhibition design, and installation techniques and technologies

Comfortable climbing and working safely on tall ladders and lifts

Ability to lift, transfer or move or assist in moving heavy objects (25lbs+) with materials lift, forklift, dollies, and palate jack

Familiarity with matting and framing

Familiarity with plotter and large format printing and graphics mounting

Familiarity working from construction drawings, sketches, and installation drawings provided by the exhibition designer

Familiarity estimating material and time needed to complete projects

Ability to collaborate in a productive and professional manner—Candidate is self-motivated and can take initiative to complete projects in a timely and highly-detailed manner

Candidate is able to work well with others, communicating clearly, and adapt to changing scenarios as needed

How to Apply

Please provide the following documents in order to be considered:

Letter of interest describing how you meet the qualifications for this position as outlined in the job posting;

A current resume, detailing experience, and education

A current list of at least three (3) professional references with current contact information (attached or available to provide at the time of interview)

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Posted on August 24