Lead Preparator

Reports to: Chief Registrar
Status: Full time


The Museum seeks a skilled, team-oriented, and experienced Lead Preparator to coordinate and oversee all duties related to the display and housing of works of art at the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) in Birmingham, Alabama. The successful candidate will have experience handling works of art and performing duties related to their care and installation, such as matting and framing, lighting, preparing display furniture and storage mounts, and installing art in all media using accepted museum standards and practices.

The ideal candidate will be excited to collaborate with BMA colleagues and have the reputation and skills to build partnerships within and without the museum. The Lead Preparator should place great value on an understanding of the BMA’s diverse collection.

Specific duties include:

  • Organize and maintain the non-art portion of the museum’s offsite storage building
  • Move works of art
  • In conjunction with the Associate Registrar, handle local pickups of art
  • Assist with environmental monitoring in the galleries
  • Serve as courier and travel with exhibitions as needed
  • Plan, prioritize, and schedule short-term and long-term projects of the Preparation team and set job assignments to meet institutional deadlines and priorities
  • Work with Registration, Curatorial, Design, and the Exhibition Coordinator (and/or artists and lenders) to identify needs or issues pertaining to upcoming exhibitions or specific artworks
  • Work directly with artists on site-specific installations as needed
  • Work with staff to execute handling, crating, packing and unpacking, and local and regional transportation of artwork to, from, and within the museum and offsite storage location
  • Lead the physical preparation of artwork, including matting, framing, casework preparation (building and painting), and object mount-making
  • Manage, organize and maintain permanent art storage by assigning and tracking locations of artwork in the TMS database, and preparing archival housings as needed for long-term preservation
  • Oversee the adjustment and maintenance of gallery lighting
  • Supervise tool and equipment operation associated with woodworking, electrical, light construction, and audio-visual displays
  • Maintain the organization and cleanliness of all work areas, including the Preparation work areas, art storage, long house, woodshop, and pedestal/crate storage
  • Ensure adherence to safe workplace practices in the operations of the Preparation team, including proper procedures for utilizing paint, solvents, and power tools
  • Retain proper inventory of supplies and materials
  • Adhere to proper procedures for art handling, and conduct regular training for Preparation staff
  • Plan and manage the installation/de-installation of exhibitions, rotations, and individual works of art, coordinating schedules and details with the curator, registration team and Exhibition Coordinator
  • Install and maintain outdoor sculpture, in conjunction with the Chief Registrar and Conservator
  • Oversee production of in-house object labels
  • Responsible for packing, unpacking, and crating of art objects, and oversee packing and crating by staff and vendors as needed
  • Oversee the appearance of exhibition spaces, including but not limited to dusting, cleaning frames, painting, and light replacement
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of current museum practices relating to collections care and installation
  • Attend and participate in project meetings
  • Assist the Chief Registrar in the care of the permanent collection both on display and in storage
  • Prepare objects for loan and exhibition
  • Assist with inventory and update TMS locations for objects moved and attach documentation to TMS such as installation plans and framing quotes
  • Oversee truck and equipment maintenance
  • Identify opportunities for professional development for self and Preparation staff
  • Coordinate access to artwork for professional contractors with regards to photography, packing, shipping, mount-making, and conservation
  • Assist in preparing the physical review of objects under consideration for the Committee on Collections meetings
  • Periodically attend related professional conferences and/or workshops to keep aware of advancements in the field
  • Attend institutional meetings


  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience is required
  • Five to seven years of experience in a museum preparation department or related field
  • Resourcefulness and creative problem solving skills, a thoughtful decision maker, the ability to work with deadlines, and prioritize workflow
  • Strong record of supporting a collaborative work environment with colleagues
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and respect for cultural differences and knowledge of DEAI practices, and other culturally specific guidelines and invested in building a diverse working environment and inclusion in all aspects of work.
  • Knowledge of The Museum System database (TMS) is preferred

About the Museum

Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Museum of Art is deeply invested in education and engagement and serves as a resource for communities locally, nationally, and internationally. It houses one of the finest collections in the Southeast of the United States. Nearly 29,000 objects displayed and housed within the Museum represent a rich panorama of cultures, including those from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe including work by both Pre-Columbian and Native North American artists. Highlights include the Museum’s collection of the arts of Asia, Vietnamese ceramics, the Kress collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the late 13th century to the 1750s, and the Museum’s world-renowned collection of Wedgwood, the largest outside of England.


Salary commensurate with qualifications and experience within a range of $50,000 – $55,000 along with an excellent benefits package.

To apply

Please submit a letter of interest; curriculum vitae; names, addresses, and phone numbers of three references to:

No phone calls, please

Review of applications will be ongoing until the position is filled.

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