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Paper Conservator, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, MA


The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) located in Boston, Massachusetts seeks a paper conservator.  This is a full-time (35 hours per week) position; Monday-Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.  The MHS is an independent, scholarly research library founded in 1791 for the threefold purpose of collecting, preserving, and disseminating sources for the study of American history.  The MHS holds more than 3,600 manuscript collections, as well as extensive collections of early American imprints, newspapers, maps, printed ephemera, photographs, engravings, and other research materials.

Duties:  The paper conservator is responsible for the hands-on conservation of paper-based (manuscript and print) materials employing a variety of techniques including cleaning, flattening, repair, alkalization, tape removal, and mold remediation; documentation of condition and treatments; and preparation of items from the collection for exhibition and digitization.  In addition to hands-on conservation, the successful candidate will also be responsible for the overall preservation of the collection.  The paper conservator will work closely with the facilities department to maintain proper climate control and pest management; train staff working with collections on the proper handling of library materials; coordinate all contract services for conservation work not done onsite, including the reformatting of audio-visual materials; and serve on the Society’s internal security and emergency management teams.  The paper conservator also will create enclosures, perform basic preservation tasks, re-house collections as needed, and maintain the supplies, equipment, and workspace in the conservation lab.  The paper conservator may also prepare condition reports for outgoing loans, conduct tours and presentations for students and visitors, and supervise student interns and volunteers.  The successful candidate will be a member of the Collections Services Department and report directly to the Vice President for Collections.

Qualifications: Master’s degree (preferred) or Bachelor’s degree with coursework in paper conservation; a minimum of three years’ bench work with paper conservation of special collections material from a variety of time periods; knowledge of current paper conservation techniques; an understanding of basic conservation and preservation principles, including disaster preparedness; proficiency using conservation equipment and tools; experience preparing materials for exhibition, including mounting, matting, and framing; and experience preparing condition and treatment reports. Training and/or experience with the preservation of special collections materials preferred. The successful candidate must be flexible, self-motivated, and able to work independently.  S/he must possess strong planning and organization skills with an ability to prioritize and multi-task. 

Salary: $54,000 – $63,000, with a competitive benefits package

How to Apply:

Application procedure: Send a cover letter, resumé, sample images and reports of conservation treatments, and the names of three references, preferably by email, to:

Brenda Lawson, Vice President for Collections

[email protected]

Availability:  This position is available on January 10, 2022.  Priority will be given to applications received by November 28, 2021.

Closing Date: December 6, 2021