The Art Institute of Chicago is seeking a Conservator of Textiles that will be responsible for the care and preservation of and technical research on all textile objects in the museum’s collections. Oversees handling of textiles by all staff members. Directs the operation of the textile conservation lab and oversees the management of the Department’s storerooms. Advises the Chair on all technical matters related to the museum’s textiles. The Conservator of Textiles will lead a team of four staff members.


Responsible for carrying out (or supervising) all treatment of textiles in the museum’s collection as necessary for on-going care, in-house exhibitions, and loans. In collaboration and coordination with Curators, prepares treatment proposals for works in the collection. In consultation with the Chair, establishes treatment priorities for the collections. Maintains all permanent conservation records, including written treatment proposals and condition reports for loans and potential acquisitions.

Oversees all conservation and preservation needs for special exhibitions involving textiles, including installation measures proposed by the Conservation Assistant. Participates in the planning and implementation of special exhibitions and special research projects. In this capacity, may travel with curators and conduct independent research toward such projects. May share responsibility for couriering fragile textiles and, when necessary, oversees installation of textiles at borrowing institutions.

Ensures that all the museum’s textiles, whether on view or in storage or on loan, are housed in safe environments with respect to light, temperature, and humidity levels.

Develops and maintains institutional standards for safe handling, storage, installation, installation, packing and shipping of textiles in coordination and consultation with conservators, technicians, installers, packers and registrars. Carries out research to determine the safe packing and shipping of fragile objects and may collaborate with the chief packer in designing special crates for this purpose. Advises curatorial, conservation and other colleagues on the proper care and handling of textiles.

Researches and supervises research in the conservation, restoration, and scientific examination of textiles.

Publishes and lectures on such research. Communicates with professional colleagues on a regular basis and participates in professional organizations concerned with textile conservation issues.

Responsible for administrative aspects of managing the textile conservation lab, including preparing and monitoring the budget for materials and equipment, maintaining lab equipment, supervising lab staff, training and mentoring conservation fellows and interns, and assisting with grant writing.

Assists the Chair on technical and practical matters on any project involving altering or adding to the physical spaces housing the Department offices, galleries, and storerooms.

Responsible for managing the overall functions of the Department in the absence of the Chair.

Job Requirements


Master’s degree in Conservation with textile specialization; Proven expertise in treatment of wide range of textiles; Eight years of professional experience in textile conservation required; some management experience preferred. Experience involving major responsibility for a significant museum collection of textiles preferred. Communications and organizational skills important.

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The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce.