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Job Board

Head Conservator

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Full Time
Posted April 29, 2022

Head Conservator

Position Status: Full time
Pay Range: $73,000 – $81,000/annually
Close Date: 5/29/22

Apply Now

Job Description: 

We are looking for a Head Conservator to lead our world class conservation center: the Avenir Conservation Center. This position will provide vision, leadership and management for the Conservation team. Provides direction related to the effective and efficient operation of conservation and preservation program elements and projects. This role will oversee the collaboration and support for the preservation of Museum collections and traveling exhibitions.


Essential duties:

Conservation department oversight:

  • Conducts research into the methods and techniques of the various conservation and preservation disciplines or organizations that may be applicable to the Museum’s programs.
  • Makes recommendations for adoption or incorporation into policies, programs, or operating procedures.
  • Carries out technical research and studies available technical literature.
  • Analyzes and tests materials.
  • Experiments with newly devised or modified procedures.
  • Designs, constructs, acquires, or modifies specialized equipment.
  • Assigns work based on priorities and capabilities of employees.
  • Establishes deadlines and work priorities, as well as standards for acceptable work; monitoring progress of work assignments.
  • Provides guidance and assistance in solving problems and reviewing completed work for compliance with policy and overall adequacy.
  • Oversees conservation treatment and condition reports for all objects, incoming/outgoing loans, and acquisitions.


Collection preservation:

  • Oversees or completes condition examinations, proposals for treatment, or conservation stabilization treatments as may be required in response to routine operations, emergency situations, exhibitions, grant awards, or loans. Ensures that all appropriate documentation is complete and preserved.
  • Provides collaborative support to the Integrative Collections Branch toward implementation of a preventive care approach to collections preservation through the identification of agents of deterioration and mitigation of risks PAN-museum.
  • Periodically works with curators and collections managers to update the Long-Term Collections & Research Plan, Collection Management Policy, and Long-Range Conservation Plan.
  • Initiates, writes and submits collection grant proposals as per annual plan.
  • Oversees the use and maintenance of the equipment and supplies in the Center, and serves as SDS Administrator for the Avenir Conservation Center.
  • Researches and reviews preservation methods and materials for use in the Center.
  • Assists with defining and monitoring environmental set points for collections in the traveling exhibition galleries.
  • Participates in DMNS collection disaster response and recovery efforts.



  • Recruits, hires, trains, and supervises staff direct reports, volunteers, students, and interns.
  • Provides direction, communicates job expectations and on-going training and feedback to ensure professional development and success.
  • Champions the work of Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEAI) for themselves and their team.


Business Management:

  • Develops and manages budgets, provides monthly budget review, and oversees forecasting.
  • Prepares and submits plans and reports as required and ensures delivery of planned goals.
  • Identifies and works to remove barriers to meeting goals.
  • Effectively delegates and ensures staff have resources and support needed to succeed.
  • Effectively manages multiple priorities.



  • Raises awareness of the Avenir Conservation Center and supports innovative education, exhibits, and outreach.
  • Serves as the Museum’s public spokesperson for the department, and provides expertise as needed to other areas of the museum and the media in a timely and professional manner.
  • Coordinates with Museum departments to support and deliver internal and external educational programs.
  • Networks with other conservators and conservation scientists.



  • Maintains memberships and holds board and committee positions in professional societies, in particular maintains American Institute for Conservation credentials.
  • Attends professional meetings.
  • Coordinates, develops, and delivers panels, presentations, posters, and keynotes.
  • Initiates or co-authors publications, as appropriate.


Minimum qualifications/Requirements:

  • Master’s Degree in Conservation or equivalent experience in the preservation of museum collections required.
  • 5 years’ experience as a practicing conservator required.
  • 3 years’ experience in conservation laboratory management and administration required.
  • 3 years’ supervision of employees or volunteers required.
  • May need to operate a museum vehicle. Valid U.S. Driver’s License within 1 week of hire required. Master’s Degree in Conservation or the equivalent experience in the preservation of museum collections required.
  • The Museum loves science.  As a science institution, the Museum believes in the science behind vaccines.  Effective September 1, 2021, all new hires must present proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of hire.


Ideal candidate will:

  • Be an entreprenure at heart and have a passion for how to build a conversation team/lab.
  • Ability to be an effective collaborative leader.
  • Listen first.
  • Be a champion for their team.


Working Conditions:

  • Office: Moderate noise (business office with computers and printers, light traffic)
  • Ability to sit and/or stand for up to 8 hours at a time
  • Moderate physical activity required by handling objects up to 50 pounds occasionally and/or up to 30 pounds frequently. 100 pounds occasionally in some departments.
  • Museum collections: documentation and labeling, preservation, cleaning and stabilization of collection items, and preparation of exhibit displays and storage facilities.
  • Fieldwork: varied, remote terrain and inclement weather.
  • Lab: power, pneumatic and hand tools, and various chemicals.
  • Exposure to animal remains during preparation, including all common Biosafety Level 2+ Zoonotic pathogens.
  • Safe handling of hand- and powered-cutting tools from scalpels to power saws.
  • Handling of scientific specimens includes some that may contain hazardous substances


Perks and Benefits of working at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science include:

A comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, and vision coverage.  100% paid life insurance and long-term disability insurance. Paid time-off for vacation, sickness and holidays. 403(b) Retirement Plan with immediate eligibility to contribute and, after one year of employment, an employer contribution and match. An RTD Eco pass and a free Family+ membership to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

The full range of perks and benefits can be found HERE.


Core values:

  • We love science.
  • We are curious, creative and playful.
  • We cultivate relationships with each other, diverse communities, the environment and for our future.
  • We think critically and act with empathy.


Application Instructions:

Please submit your cover letter and resume by May 29, 2022.  Resumes will not be accepted after this time.

Applications will only be accepted electronically via the Museum’s website www.dmns.org.

Due to the high volume of people who apply, we are not able to respond to specific inquiries regarding your application status.

The Museum is committed to the goal of building a culturally diverse staff to serve the needs of our visitors. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply.

Compensation: Pay Range $73,000 - $81,000/annually

Apply Here