Preparator III – Stanford University’s Department of Art & Art History, CA

Job Summary

SCHEDULE Full-time





Job Series Summary: 

This series of job classifications includes positions at the museums and galleries whose major duties involve installing, storing, packing and general handling and movement of art objects in the permanent collection and the temporary exhibitions. There are three levels in this series: Museum Preparator I, Museum Preparator II, and Museum Preparator III. These are differentiated on the basis of the complexity of the work they are assigned to perform, the independence with which the work is carried out, and the breadth of the skills they are required to apply in exhibit preparation.

Job Responsibilities:

Working independently, employees in this classification perform a larger variety of duties than those expected of the Preparator II level including leading/coordinating the most complex installations. Classification at this level requires experience in construction of complex installations, installation coordination, and leading and directing other Preparators.

Employees at this level do not have supervisory authority over other employees and are not expected to exercise independent judgment on final decisions regarding quality or quantity of work produced by such employees, or personnel actions such as hiring, promotion, discharge or disciplinary measures.

This position is represented by SEIU Local 2007 and the collective bargaining agreement between the university and SEIU Local 2007 governs the terms and conditions of employment.

Anticipated Shift:

The anticipated shift is based on the operational needs and can change at any time with notice.

Monday-Friday 9am – 5:30pm 

About Stanford University and The School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S)

Stanford University, located between San Francisco and San Jose in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, is one of the world’s leading teaching and research universities. Since its opening in 1891, Stanford has been dedicated to finding solutions to big challenges and to preparing students for leadership in a complex world.

The School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S) is the center of a world-class liberal arts education at Stanford University. H&S encompasses 23 departments—from Art and Art History, English, and History to Economics, Mathematics, and Biology—as well as 23 interdisciplinary programs. As the university’s largest school, H&S serves as the foundation of a Stanford undergraduate education no matter which discipline students pursue as a major. Graduate students work alongside world-renowned faculty to pursue and shape foundational research that leads to breakthroughs and discoveries that shed new light on the past, influence the present, and shape the future. Together, faculty and students in H&S engage in inspirational teaching, learning, and research every day.

Department/Program Description:

The Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University has an opening for a Preparator. Under the general supervision of the Exhibitions Manager, the Preparator performs a variety of duties involved in the installation and deinstallation of art exhibitions in the McMurtry Building and the Stanford Art Gallery. The Preparator collaborates with the Exhibitions Manager to create a plan of work, serves as installation coordinator on exhibitions of varying size and complexity in diverse spaces.

Preparators are assigned to serve as installation coordinators for exhibit installations and gallery rotations. Installation coordination involves taking primary responsibility for the installation of the pieces in the exhibit, may delegate tasks to other Preparators, and actively participating in planning meetings for that particular exhibit. The coordinating Preparator executes a large bulk of the installation duties. Preparators may take direction from other Preparators and provide assistance as needed on the exhibits being coordinated by others. Preparators with greater skill and experience are assigned to coordinate larger and more complex exhibitions.

Characteristic Duties:

The duties listed under this section are designed to provide a representative sampling of key tasks and/or responsibilities associated with the job. They are not intended to be a complete list of all the duties performed by employees in the classification.

  • Install and may lead the largest and most complex exhibitions and gallery rotations; and actively participate in the implementation and planning and design meetings. 
  • Performs gallery lighting design, with knowledge of LED lighting, re-lamping and exposure settings specific to object requirements. 
  • Transmit instructions and specifications received from supervisor to workers; advise supervisor of work progress.
    • Assign and explain tasks to workers; Inspect work for conformance with 
    • specifications. Guide and assist other Preparators as needed.
    • May solicit quotes, review estimates, and select vendors.
    • Monitor and oversee installation timelines in order to provide information to meet installation goals.
    • Ensure that safety rules are followed.
    • May perform any of the duties described in the Museum Preparator II specification or other duties as assigned.

This position is represented by SEIU Local 2007 and the collective bargaining agreement between the university and SEIU Local 2007 governs the terms and conditions of employment.

Minimum Education and Experience Required

Seven years of progressively responsible experience or equivalent combination of training and experience in art handling.

Qualifications – External

Minimum Qualifications

Preparator III has all of the qualifications described in the Preparator II specification plus the following qualifications:

  • Demonstrated ability to effectively work independently.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively lead and direct other Preparators. 
  • High level of organization, communication, and time management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively coordinate large and complex installations, solving the most difficult challenges.
  • Proficiency with design and database programs 
  • Demonstrated high level of design and implementation of a variety of mount and display solutions.
  • Demonstrated skill and experience in at least five of the skill categories listed below:
    • Construction involving woodworking and carpentry 
    • Mount making with paper and metal and plastics 
    • Installation coordination for large, complex exhibitions and gallery reinstallations, using proven high-level organization, communication, and time management skills.
    • Installing new digital media and electronics (film, computer, audio 
    • video) 
    • Creating graphics 
    • Lighting design 
    • Designing and fabrication of custom storage housing, including sewing

Certificates and Licenses Required

Must possess and maintain a valid California Class C Non-commercial Driver’s License.

Physical Requirements

  • Ability to obtain and maintain a California Non-commercial Class C Driver’s License and drive night and day. 
  • Constantly stand/walk, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh up to 10 pounds. 
  • Occasionally sit, climb (ladders, scaffolds, or other), reach/work above shoulders, twist/bend/stoop/squat, light/fine grasping (files, tools), grasp forcefully, perform desk-based computer tasks, use a telephone, sort/file paperwork or parts, scrub/sweep/mop/mix, operate foot and/or hand controls, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh 11 to 40 pounds. 
  • Rarely kneel/crawl. 
  • Ability to move or assist in moving heavy objects (must be able to lift at least 50 lbs.). 
  • Ability to operate scissor lift, pump lift cart and pallet jack.

Working Conditions

  • May be exposed to lead, paint, and/or acetone.
  • May work at heights up to 10 feet.
  • May be exposed to noise greater than 80db TWA.
  • May use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as appropriate.

Work Standards

  • When conducting university business, must comply with the California Vehicle Code and Stanford University driving requirements. 
  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations. 
  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned. 
  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative  Guide, and the appropriate collective bargaining agreement at processes-policiespolicies/labor-relations collective-bargaining.

Why Stanford is for You

Imagine a world without search engines or social platforms. Consider lives saved through first-ever organ transplants and research to cure illnesses. Stanford University has revolutionized the way we live and enrich the world. Supporting this mission is our diverse and dedicated 17,000 staff. We seek talent driven to impact the future of our legacy. Our culture and unique perks empower you with:

  • Freedom to grow. We offer career development programs, tuition reimbursement, or audit a course. Join a TedTalk, film screening, or listen to a renowned author or global leader speak.
  • A caring culture. We provide superb retirement plans, generous time-off, and family care resources.
  • A healthier you. Climb our rock wall or choose from hundreds of health or fitness classes at our world-class exercise facilities. We also provide excellent health care benefits.
  • Discovery and fun. Stroll through historic sculptures, trails, and museums.
  • Enviable resources. Enjoy free commuter programs, ridesharing incentives, discounts and more!

“Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.” 

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