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Conservation Technician for Special Collections (Maternity/Paternity cover), Harvard University / Harvard Library (Cambridge)

*This is a temporary appointment, 90 days max.


Working under the supervision of the Senior Conservators in the Weissman Preservation Center, the Conservation Technician for Special Collections helps to preserve books, unbound paper materials, photographs, and other items from Harvard Library’s special collections. The technician may also be responsible for lab-wide photodocumentation and database support. For administrative purposes, the technician reports to the Senior Photograph Conservator in the Weissman Preservation Center. 


·         Evaluates damaged and deteriorated special collection library materials, develops treatment proposals, and prepares reports that may include photo documentation.  Performs conservation treatments from routine and basic to moderately complex.  May work on more complex conservation projects under the direct supervision of a conservator.  Works in collaboration with other staff on larger projects involving multiple objects.

·         Constructs custom enclosures, measures materials for boxing, and performs other collection rehousing.

·         Constructs exhibition mats, mounts, cradles, and fabricates display packages for flat materials.  

·         Contributes to general lab maintenance and tracking of supplies and tools.  May participate in library disaster recovery.  May assist in carrying out condition surveys and environmental and pest monitoring.

·         May work at satellite labs or at repositories under the general supervision of a conservator.

·         Produces photographic documentation for lab projects in accordance with “The AIC Guide to Digital Photography and Conservation Documentation”.

·         May manage and maintain photodocumentation equipment and computer workstation.

·         May assist with maintenance, file naming and troubleshooting of department project database ACORN.


·         Job requires the ability to handle sharp tools and small instruments, work in a fume hood, climb step stools and small ladders, and operate heavy equipment (board shears, book presses, power cutters, etc.)

·         Using appropriate safety measures, tasks may involve exposure to dust and mold or the use of light solvents.

·         Some tasks involve standing for extended periods and/or bending, walking, and sitting. 

·         Job requires ability in close vision and color vision.

·         Job may require lifting and transporting items up to 25 pounds.


The conservation laboratory located within the Weissman Preservation Center is an active facility where treatment of diverse rare book, paper, and photograph collections throughout Harvard libraries is carried out.  Survey, rehousing work, and occasional conservation treatment is done on-site at one of the Harvard libraries.


·   High school diploma or equivalent required with a college degree preferred.
·   Training in book, paper, or photograph conservation through a formal training program or on-the-job training.
·   Experience handling, packing and moving art or artifacts preferred.
·   Experience in a recognized conservation facility is required.
·   Special collections experience preferred.
·   Experience using digital SLR cameras, studio lighting equipment and image processing software preferred.


·         Ability to comprehend, speak, and write in English.
·         Good communication and interpersonal skills are essential.  
·         Keyboard/computing skills including e-mail, time recording, and short reports. 
·         Superior manual dexterity and demonstrated ability to work with a high degree of accuracy and precision.

·         Ability to follow directions and work independently with sustained concentration, particularly when working on-site at a library.

·         Strong organizational skills, including the ability to work within established priorities and to achieve goals.

·         Ability to adapt to change, to analyze and solve problems, and to be flexible and work collaboratively.

Full/Part Time





Closing Date

How to Apply

To apply, send cover letter and resume to Erin L. Murphy, James Needham Chief Conservator, 


2020-02-06 |  Quick link to this job