Under the general direction of the Head of Preparation, serves as lead preparator on exhibition projects.  Assists in the management and coordination of the preparation of exhibition spaces, and the installation and deinstallation of art; supervises temporary staff.  Performs a wide variety of skilled and semi-skilled duties in the preparation, installation, and care of museum exhibits and works of art. Supervises departmental operations in the absence of the Head of Preparation.


  • Oversees gallery lighting installation, maintenance, inventory and implementation of lighting design strategies.
  • Supervises as needed and temporary preparators in the preparation, installation, and deinstallation of exhibition spaces; prioritizes activities and responsibilities; provides training as necessary in preparation duties.
  • Assists in the preparation, construction, installation, and deinstallation of exhibits and/or works of art; paints; lays out, moves, and places walls, platforms, and casework; loads and unloads art objects; handles, moves, hangs, and installs art objects; installs labels, text panels, and other signage/graphics.
  • Tracks and manages the preparation aspects of art rotations in the permanent galleries; coordinates with curators, registrars, conservators, and exhibition designer.
  • Manages the ongoing monitoring of the condition and appearance of permanent galleries; provides regular walk-through of galleries to ensure maintenance of exhibits; identifies problem areas and recommends solutions; creates a punch list of preparation issues; oversees the necessary repair/maintenance or coordinates work with other museum departments as required.
  • Participates in general shop operations including cleaning, preparing cost and material estimates, purchasing supplies, maintaining tools and equipment.
  • Assists in the administrative work of the department.



  • Supervises department and day to day operations in the absence of the Head of Preparation.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.


  • Possession of an Associate Degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in Art, Fine Arts, Museum Studies or a related field.
  • Four (4) years of verifiable experience in the preparation, fabrication, installation and the care and handling of valuable art objects; making museum mounts for objects; building exhibition furniture and working closely with museum staff at a museum, gallery, or traveling exhibition program. Strong knowledge of the techniques of exhibit design and lighting; the requirements specific to the lighting of art; all related safety codes, ordinances, procedures, and regulations; standard tools, practices, methods used in exhibit construction and installation
  • Knowledge of art handing procedures for two- and three-dimensional art objects in a variety of materials, sizes, and weights
  • Computer proficiency in Microsoft Office
  • Ability to explain and carry out methods and procedures relating to the handling of irreplaceable objects of art; to lift and move heavy objects up to 75 lbs.
  • Ability to plan, prioritize, schedule, and implement projects; simultaneously oversee a variety of projects
  • Ability to direct and work with other staff in the installation of exhibitions
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with a variety of people both internal and external to the museum
  • Ability to operate genie lifts, forklifts, pallet jacks, and similar equipment
  • Skill in the use and care of standard hand and power tools
  • Creativity, flexibility, and resourcefulness


Preparators’ Shop.  Physical strength and agility, good vision, and manual dexterity required to move art and operate tools/equipment.  Involves frequent climbing on ladders, scaffolds, and lifts; medium to heavy work requiring lifting, carrying, and moving materials, tools, and equipment, and finished exhibit and display fixtures and furniture.

To apply:

Job Information
  • San Francisco, California, 94101, United States
  • 28605782
  • May 19, 2016
  • Principal Preparator
  • Asian Art Museum
  • Exhibitions
  • No
  • Full-Time