• Photograph Conservator (Specialist III)

    Location US-NY-Long Island City
    Job ID
    # of Openings Remaining
    PTM Conservation Lab
  • Overview

    The mission of The New York Public Library is to inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen our communities and we rely on three great resources—our staff, our collections, and our physical and digital spaces—to provide opportunities for learning and growth. 


    The photograph collection at the New York Public Library includes more than 6 million photographs diverse in subject matter, format and processes, and covering essentially the entire history of photography -- including very early experimental photographs -- through to the present day.


    The Photograph Conservator position is located in the Library’s Goldsmith Conservation Lab, the staff of which consists of a team of conservators and technicians specializing in bound, flat, and photographic materials. The lab supports the special collections of NYPL’s research centers and provides conservation assessment, treatment, research, and training to advance the preservation of the collection and meet the conservation needs of the Library’s active exhibition, loan, and digitization programs.


    Conservation at NYPL consists of two labs -- the Goldsmith Conservation Lab and the Collections Conservation Lab, both located at the Library Services Center in Long Island City, Queens -- under the Head of Conservation. Conservation at NYPL is a unit of Preservation and Special Collections Processing, responsible for the processing and cataloging, management, and preservation of the Research Libraries collections.


    Specialists start at $63,074 per year and are eligible in 6 months for an increased salary of $68,963 based on successful job performance.

    Principal Responsibilities

    Reporting to the Senior Manager, Conservation and Collections Care, the Photograph Conservator:

    • Serves as the Library’s foremost expert on the conservation of photographic materials
    • Performs single-item and multi-item (batch) conservation assessment, treatment, and research on a wide range of photographic materials in accordance with the AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice
    • Contributes to the development and refinement of the growing lab’s capabilities
    • Participates in training conservation interns and technicians
    • Engages the public and the library and conservation community through outreach
    • Performs other related duties as assigned

    Required Education & Experience

    • Graduate degree in conservation with focus on photographic materials
    • Range of interventive treatment experience on photographic materials (as demonstrated by a portfolio), including cased, panorama, mounted, albumen, etc.
    • At least one year working experience after graduate school
    • Active membership in AIC and PMG Specialty Group

    Minimum Qualifications

    • Strong organizational, analytical, and decision-making skills for successful multiple project management  
    • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
    • Demonstrated ability to productively collaborate with colleagues with different or unfamiliar expertise and perspective
    • Flexibility of mind and commitment to collaboration, growth, and improvement
    • Demonstrated treatment experience with the broad range of photographic processes used through the history of photography
    • Experience, knowledge, and judgment in collections emergency response for photographic materials
    • Experience or discipline to gain proficiency with the expected computer systems and software used by a conservation lab and by library and cultural heritage institutions

    Preferred Qualifications

    • Conservation experience in a large research library, regional center, or busy private practice

    All team members are expected and encouraged to embody the NYPL Core Values:

    • Be Helpful to patrons and colleagues
    • Be Resourceful in solving problems
    • Be Curious in all aspects of your work

    Work Environment

    • Conservation lab setting

    Physical Duties

    • The position involves lifting boxes of collections, operating equipment, and exposure to solvents, dust, and mold

    Starting Salary

    USD $63,074.00/Yr.


    Monday - Friday
    9:00AM - 5:00PM

    Union / Non Union

    Local 1930


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