Preparator – Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN

Work at the Weisman Art Museum and be a part of a dynamic team of professionals. WAM is situated on a world-class university campus and is home to a vast collection of art and critically acclaimed exhibitions, thoughtful programs, and engaging visitor experiences for both the campus and wider community. Working at the Weisman puts a wealth of professional opportunities and training at your fingertips, including access to the benefits and resources of a major university campus.


Position Overview

The Preparator plays a key role in the implementation of exhibitions and permanent collection care. Responsibilities include preparing artwork for display and travel, packing, transporting, installing, deinstalling, and housing objects within the Museum’s collection and on loan. The Preparator is part of the Registration Department reporting to the Exhibition Coordinator and Registrar and works collaboratively with registrars, curators, and security and facilities colleagues to achieve the Museum’s exhibition goals.

Primary Areas of Responsibility:

  • Strategizes and plans installations and deinstallations with the exhibition production team.
  • Advises on exhibition design and fabrication in collaboration with curators, registrars, artists and outside contractors.
  • Prepares objects for installation. This includes matting and framing, crafting and fabricating exhibition furniture, custom mounts, and ensuring the safe display of all objects.
  • Deinstalls and prepares galleries for exhibition, including patching and painting walls, and adapting lighting for each exhibition.
  • Maintains galleries including cleaning exhibition furniture/displays, maintaining electronic equipment and gallery lighting.
  • Receives, packs and unpacks artwork in permanent collection and for traveling exhibitions. This includes building crates and other custom packing solutions.
  • Transports artwork locally, regionally and on University campus.
  • Works closely with registrars to care for permanent collection including, ensuring the safe movement of artwork throughout the building, crafting custom long-term packing solutions and preparing artworks for outgoing loans.
  • Maintains equipment and general housekeeping in wood shop, frame shop, and related areas.
  • Orders and maintains inventories of vital supplies. Makes recommendations regarding shop equipment needs. Establishes and maintains contact with suppliers of materials and equipment. Searches for competitive prices when researching materials and equipment.
  • Researches installation methods and advises museum staff in such areas as installation design and techniques, framing, lighting, and related costs.
  • Advises part-time and temporary workers involved in preparation and installation/deinstallation.
  • Other duties as assigned

Professional development:

  • Continue learning and keeping current on trends, standards and policies related to job area
  • Network and consult with other preparators and museum colleagues in a national and international capacity

Required Qualifications

The ideal candidate has strong interpersonal and communications skills and a desire to work in a team environment. The candidate will be familiar with a fast-paced deadline driven work atmosphere with an ability to managing multiple concurrent projects while maintaining flexibility with shifting priorities and deadlines.

  • Minimum of 5 years of experience as an art handler/preparator working with a variety of object types including, paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and installations
  • Extensive understanding of museum standard process for art handling, storing and packing artwork
  • Carpentry skills
  • Experience building crates for fine art objects
  • Experience in the safe operation and maintenance of a variety of hand and power tools, hydraulic lifts, forklifts, scissor lifts/personal lifts and other specialized equipment
  • Proficient in Microsoft office Suite
  • Valid driver’s license; safe driving record

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in museum studies, art history, design or related field
  • General knowledge of art history, contemporary art and artist’s materials
  • Experience installing and maintaining audio and visual media
  • Experience matting and building custom frames for artworks of all mediums
  • Some knowledge in gallery lighting design

Physical Requirements

  • Standing or walking 4 hours at a time up to 7 hours per day
  • Lifting and carrying objects weighing up to 75 lbs alone and more with assistance from others or with equipment
  • Pushing and/or pulling heavy carts, crates and other containers
  • Bending, squatting, reaching and lifting overhead, kneeling and climbing ladders


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission. The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. To learn more about diversity at the U:


The University also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes:

● Competitive wages, paid holidays, and generous time off

● Continuous learning opportunities through professional training and degree-seeking programs supported by the Regents Scholarship

● Low-cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans

● Healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts

● University HSA contributions

● Disability and employer-paid life insurance

● Employee wellbeing program

● Excellent retirement plans with employer contribution

● Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) opportunity

● Financial counseling services

● Employee Assistance Program with eight sessions of counseling at no cost

Please visit the Office of Human Resources website for more information regarding benefits.

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