Reporting to the Chief Registrar and Collections Manager, but working closely with the Director of Curatorial Affairs, the Lead Preparator is a key team member of the exhibition team; comprised of Curatorial, Registration and Preparatory. The Museum maintains an ambitious schedule of special exhibitions and rotating permanent collection. The Lead Preparator performs a wide variety of semi-skilled and skilled duties in the preparation, design, installation and lighting of museum exhibitions both those organized by the Museum from works of art and loan, as well as developed from works of art in the Permanent Collection. The Lead Preparator is responsible for museum-quality art handling related to installation and de-installation of exhibitions both inside and on the grounds of the Museum. Will oversee the maintenance of exhibition spaces, office, wood shop, loading dock and storage areas. The Lead Preparator will supervise departmental staff, hourly rotation staff, outside contractors, and interns. She/he will assure a safe and healthy work environment through knowledge of best practice.


Major Duties and Responsibilities

Exhibition Design, Installation, Maintenance, De-installation

  • Plan and manage the installation/de-installation of exhibitions, rotations, and individual works of art, coordinating schedules, and details with the exhibition team
  • Lighting design and implementation
  • Oversee and participate in the installation and de-installation of exhibition graphics, signage, and labels;
  • Oversee and participate in wall construction and painting; the creation of display fixtures and mounts
  • Supervise outside contractors in the progress and implementation of specific projects, including oversight of quality and accuracy of work and monitoring schedules
  • Coordinate and work with staff to handle, crate, pack and transport artwork to and from the Museum’s three locations using the Museum truck
  • Works directly and collegially with artists on a range of installations and a wide of media, including traditional and leading edge electronic media, to resolve installation concerns on time and on budget.
  • Schedule and oversee handling of art for annual inventory
  • Plan for and supervise maintenance of outdoor sculpture collection
  • Oversee and maintain appearance of exhibition spaces, including dusting, cleaning frames, painting, and light replacement
  • Completes all additional assigned tasks and requests for general support as needed.
  • Maintains up-to-date knowledge of current museum practices relating to collections care and installation
  • Make effective decisions impacting projects.
  • Handle and install works of art in all media.
  • Be flexible in context of changing schedules and designs.
  • ?Communicate effectively in a culturally and ethnically diverse campus community.


  • Operate tools and equipment associated with woodworking, electrical, light construction, and audio-visual, and computer displays in conjunction with the most current safety, technological, and aesthetic standards
  • Provide timely estimates and schedules for construction of displays, cases, or pedestals as required
  • Maintains tools and equipment required for the maintenance of the collection, its storage, and display of individual works of art
  • Ensure adherence to safe workplace practices and procedures in the operations of the Prep Department and its workshop

Department Administration/Management

  • Develop and administer the departmental budget, and assists in the development of annual exhibition special project budgets
  • Prepare cost and material estimates for new installation and gallery construction
  • Oversee personnel, including hiring, training, scheduling, directing, disciplining, and providing annual performance reviews of Prep department staff
  • Plan, prioritize, and schedule work of the Prep department; assesses resource needs and determines adjustments as required
  • Organize department’s short-term/long-term projects and set job assignments to meet institutional deadlines and priorities
  • Work across departments on opportunities for institutional advancement in areas of exhibition design, budgeting, and cost-saving strategies; provide well thought-out opinions based on research and knowledge of trends within the Museum community

Key Competencies

Project Management: Develops project plans, coordinates projects, communicates changes and progress, completes projects on time and budget, manages project team activities.

Team Work: Balances team and individual responsibilities, exhibits objectivity and openness to others’ views, gives and welcomes feedback, contributes to building a positive team spirit, able to build morale and group commitments to goals and objectives, supports everyone’s efforts to succeed, recognizes accomplishments of other team members.

Delegation: Delegates work assignments, matches the responsibility to the person, gives authority to work independently, sets expectations and monitors delegated activities, provides recognition for results.

Superior Problem Solving skills: Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner, Gathers and analyzes information skillfully, develops alternative solutions, works effectively in group problem solving situations.

Planning/Organizing: Prioritizes and plans work activities, uses time efficiently, plans for additional resources, sets goals and objectives, organizes or schedules other people and their tasks, develops realistic action plans in conjunction with Curatorial and Registration departments.

Safety and Security: Observes safety and security procedures, determines appropriate action beyond guidelines, reports potentially unsafe conditions, uses equipment and materials properly.

Job Specifications

  • Bachelor Degree required, Masters Degree preferred
  • Experience working in a Museum setting preferred
  • Skilled in best practice for handling all mediums of art and familiar with installation techniques for traditional and leading edge media
  • At least three to five years of progressively responsible experience in exhibition planning and coordination, preparation, construction, design, and installation in a museum or other art venue; at least two years of supervisory and management experience; or an equivalent combination of training and experience
  • Advanced knowledge of materials, fabrication techniques and construction processes
  • Knowledge of art preparation techniques, principles, and practices
  • Knowledge of art security, storage, shipping and receiving
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license in good standing
  • Ability to drive a box truck and deliver works of art as needed
  • Pass a criminal background check

Physical Abilities:

Walk: The ability to move about on foot.
Talk: The ability to express or exchange ideas accurately, loudly, or quickly by means of the spoken word, imparting information or detailed instructions to clients, to the public, or to other workers.
Handle: The ability to seize, hold, grasp, turn, or otherwise work with hand or hands. (Fingers are involved only to the extent that they are an extension of the hand.)
Reach with hands and arms: The ability to extend the hands and arms in any direction.
Climb: The ability to ascend or descend ladders, stairs, scaffolding, ramps, poles, ropes, and the like, using feet and legs and/or hands or arms.
Kneel: The ability to bend legs at the knees to come to rest on knee or knees.
Crouch: The ability to bend the body downward and forward by bending legs and spine.
Lift Weight and Exert Force: Lifts weight or exerts force by lifting, lowering, pulling, carrying, pushing, slapping, striking, kicking, pulling, or jerking. Must be able to lift 50 lbs. comfortably.
Vision: The ability to see clearly at 20 inches or less and at 20 feet or more. The ability to identify and distinguish colors. Three-dimensional vision, the ability to judge distances and spatial relationships to see objects where and as they actually are. The ability to adjust the eye to bring an object into sharp focus.

Applications should be submitted digitally to and must include:

  • A cover letter with salary range requirements
  • A resume with relevant job experience
  • Three references

Review of submissions will begin on April 4, 2016. The position will be filled as soon as the right candidate is identified. No phone calls.

Please note: Final candidates for this position must be willing to submit to, and successfully pass, a criminal background, education verification, and motor vehicle record check.

Job Information
  • Kansas City, Missouri, 64101, United States
  • 27634233
  • March 28, 2016
  • Lead Preparator
  • Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Exhibitions
  • No
  • Full-Time
  • Indefinite
  • BA/BS/Undergraduate
  • 3-5 Years
  • 0-10%