Collections Care Conservator
• Provide collections care support and advice to keepers and other staff in individual library/archive/art/museum collections and throughout the college. This will include, for example, handling advice/training, collections-focused emergency planning, risk management, storage, and development of collections care policies and procedures.
• Assess and record condition of cultural heritage and relevant environmental conditions as appropriate. Make recommendations as needed to relevant keepers and other stakeholders. Consult external specialists as necessary, as discussed with relevant keeper(s).
• Implement preservation measures as agreed with an individual library/archive/art/museum collection or across the Collections, as agreed with the collection management sub-committee and under the overall supervision of the line manager.
• Create and maintain records for collections care activities, condition of collection objects and storage/display environments in line with current best practice.
• Support the Conservation Housekeeper in work including cleaning of picture frames, historic tapestries, carpets, other fragile collection objects, historic woodwork, exhibition cases, exhibits and collection stores as necessary.
Management and Planning
• Contribute to strategic planning for collections care and conservation at Eton, in collaboration with curatorial staff.
• Act as line manager for the Conservation Housekeeper. Provide training for the Conservation Housekeeper to enable that post-holder to offer support and deputise as appropriate for the Collections Care Conservator.
• Manage own time and workflow within projects and report regularly to line manager and relevant keeper(s). Plan and manage delegated projects and associated resources.
• Take responsibility for reviewing, revising and updating the College Collections disaster and salvage plans and, with the Collections Administrator, coordinate and oversee regular drills.
• Prepare condition reports for collection items for use in connection with outgoing and incoming exhibition loans and for other purposes as required.
• In collaboration with the Exhibitions Coordinator and/or the exhibition curator, research and advise on the provision of appropriate object mounts, display cases and related materials to ensure the protection of Collections and/or borrowed objects while on display.
• Advise on, and when necessary oversee and/or assist with, the installation and de-installation of Collections objects (and objects on loan) for special exhibitions and museum displays.
• Occasionally act as courier or provide training/advice to couriers for exhibition loans in and out.
• As requested by the relevant keeper, research conservation issues, identify appropriate conservators, obtain estimates for conservation work and manage conservation projects undertaken by external specialist conservators.
• Liaise with keepers over conservation issues and facilitate discussions between external conservators and keepers.
• Assist with the preparation of regular updates on ongoing conservation projects as required by the relevant keeper.
• Draft documents to explain conservation concerns or treatments as required.
• Liaise with the Buildings Department and Historic Cleaning team as required.
• Support inventory work – i.e. marking of numbers on decorative art objects with conservation approved materials.
• Act as an advocate for the collections, and for collections conservation at Eton College. Communicate work, orally and in writing, to a wide variety of audiences. As required, assist with special events, such as the college’s ‘Fourth of June’ and ‘St Andrew’s Day’ open days and other occasions such as the Friends of Eton College Collections Open Day.
• Keep abreast of best practice in the preservation and conservation of cultural heritage collections.
• Any other duties as may be reasonably expected and which are commensurate with the level of the post.
Eton College offers a wide range of benefits, including an 11% employer contribution to your pension (with 4.9% employee contribution), a cycle to work scheme and free access to the College’s sport and leisure facilities.
The Ideal Candidate
To be successful in this role, the incumbent should have:
- Recognised degree or equivalent experience in conservation and collections care. Demonstrable understanding of conservation and collections care practice, principles and ethics in line with current best practice.
- Knowledge of materials found within mixed collections and techniques used in their conservation and preservation.
- Strong organisational and administrative skills, ability to work accurately with attention to detail, managing competing priorities and maintaining a clear dialogue with colleagues. Proven experience in managing work-flow to deadlines.
- Strong communication and influencing skills, both written and oral, to develop effective working relationships with curatorial, conservation, technical and non-expert staff; also to communicate to a wide variety of audiences.
- A flexible and collaborative team-working style, combining a ‘can do’ attitude with professionalism, respect for others, tact, discretion and fair judgement.
- High degree of IT literacy and use of collections management systems in a conservation and collections care context.
- Manual dexterity and ability to lift, climb ladders, work at heights, use tools and equipment.
- Experience of training other staff in preventative conservation and/or object handling.
- ICON accreditation, or working towards professional accreditation is highly desirable.
- Experience of emergency planning for heritage collections is desirable.
We are seeking to appoint a conservator with broad experience of the preventive care of heritage/museum collections. The Collections Care Conservator works in collaboration with curators to ensure that the Eton College Collections can be made safely accessible for teaching, academic study and public enjoyment. S/he also supports identified areas of basic collections care need and specific projects both across the College Collections and within individual library/archive/art/museum collections, providing advice and practical help to curatorial staff.
The Eton College Collections include books and manuscripts, art and artefacts and natural history specimens, ranging from the prehistoric to the present day. The quality and scope of the Collections are unique among schools, and they are of national and international significance. As part of a living institution, they play a role in the everyday life of the college, and they are used extensively in teaching. Today, the Collections are also open to the global research community and serve—through exhibitions, events, visits and educational programmes—as the first point of contact with the college for many schoolchildren, students, art lovers, history buffs and specialists.
This is a permanent, part-time (28 hours per week) role. There may be flexibility on the hours to be worked per week. You will be asked to upload a CV and Supporting Statement as part of the application process. Please specify in your application how many hours you are seeking if fewer than 28 per week.
About the College
Eton College is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, and applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks with past employers and an Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service. We are an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.