Assistant Preparator

Portland Art Museum | Portland, OR

Posted Date 6/10/2021


The Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center (referred to as Museum) invites applications for the position of temporary Assistant Preparator. The Portland Art Museum’s mission is to engage diverse communities through art and film of enduring quality and to collect, preserve, and educate for the enrichment of present and future generations. The Assistant Preparator performs a critical role in the fulfillment of this mission by assisting in the preparation of exhibitions including carpentry, painting, lighting, rigging, mount making, art handling, packing and installation. To prepare, install, maintain and deinstall art exhibitions within the museum and ensure the safe keeping and handling of all art objects within the collection as well as loaned works.

Under the direction of the Lead Preparator and Chief Preparator this is a collaborative, hands-on role that is fast-paced to achieve the exhibition schedule. This position will work onsite following COVID-19 safety protocols.

The Portland Art Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), immigrants, women, LGBTQ+, and individuals with disabilities, please apply!

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Assists Chief & Lead Preparator in all aspects of exhibitions including, carpentry and related shop work, painting, lighting, mount making, rigging, art handling, graphic installation, packing and installation.
  • Assists Chief & Lead Preparator, Registrars, and Couriers in shipping and receiving of artworks, crate moving, unpacking and packing, crate building and retrofitting, and local and regional pickup and delivery of artwork.
  • Assists in maintaining workshop including, cleaning and organization of shop space.
  • Assists Registrars and Conservators in collection maintenance, organizing storage, rehousing objects, seismic mitigation, and collection documentation.
  • Assists in maintaining general appearance of galleries including cleaning of exhibit furniture/casework, dusting, and changing of lights. Assists with maintenance and troubleshooting of new media electronic artworks and displays.

Secondary or Additional Responsibilities

  • Performs other related duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • No supervisory responsibilities

Institutional Responsibilities

  • Support the Museum’s mission, vision and core values of creativity, connection, equity, learning, accessibility and accountability.
  • Contribute to and support the PAM strategic plan, annual priorities, and institutional initiatives such as diversity, equity, inclusion and access.
  • Contribute to a positive organizational culture based on mutual respect, a spirit of collegiality, cooperation, and openness to many perspectives.
  • Participate in a culture of ongoing learning, collaboration, innovation, creativity, and community engagement.
  • Use the equity lens in decision making. Promote equity and inclusion goals and have a “people first” mindset.

Required Knowledge & Skills, Education, Formal & Informal Experience, Training Required, Certification, Etc.

  • If you have any questions along the way including wanting to talk about a non traditional career background, please reach out to HR.
  • 1-3 years experience in art handling or similar field.
  • Knowledge of safe art handling practices and principles of professional museum collection care and respect for works of art.
  • Responsibly demonstrates workplace safety.
  • Effectively communicates verbally and maintains an effective working relationship with supervisor, staff, and other co-workers.
  • Willingness to work under the direction of visiting Couriers from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds and different countries.
  • Successfully fabricate from working diagrams and oral instructions to finished products in a variety of materials.
  • Knowledge of shop safety and use of hand/power tools and willingness to learn and adhere to OSHA safety guidelines.
  • Willingness to learn and follow ADA guidelines.
  • Basic math and geometric knowledge, and measurement skills and a demonstrated knowledge of museum installation techniques. Demonstrated problem solving skills.
  • Work in a physically demanding role: climb ladders, to lift up to 50 lbs. and stand for long periods of time.
  • Commit to meet deadlines and willing work occasional nights and weekends.
  • Knowledge of basic art rigging techniques, a plus.
  • Experience to install artifact mounts, a plus.

Job Conditions

  • Schedule/Hours: role is temporary working approximately July 26 - October 25, 2021. Monday - Friday 8am to 4pm with occasional additional hours and weekend work.
  • Occasional outdoor work
  • Heavy lifting - up to 50 lbs.
  • Extensive close work
  • Constant standing

Physical Activity

  • Standing
  • Walking
  • Bending body to waist
  • Crawling
  • Use of fingers
  • Talking
  • Reaching
  • Repetitive motion of feet
  • Repetitive motion of hands/wrists
  • Bending
  • Kneeling
  • Climbing
  • Grasping
  • Hearing
  • Handling
  • Feeling

Company Description

COVID-19 Information

The current COVID-19 crisis has resulted in severe and unprecedented disruptions to revenue generation at the Museum. Currently, the Museum has recently reopened to visitors and the Institution is running on reduced staffing levels. The task ahead is not easy, but a challenge our staff are taking on with a deep commitment to the mission. The successful incumbent in this role will be willing to enter the situation with energy, flexibility, and a vision to overcome obstacles. This position requires a desire for understanding and adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols set forth by the Museum at all times. Learn more about COVID-19 safety protocols here.

Equity, Inclusion and Accommodation

The Museum and Film Center strives to be an inclusive institution that facilitates respectful dialogue, debate, and the free exchange of ideas. With a deep commitment to artists – past and present – and freedom of expression, the Museum and Film Center’s collections, programs and staff aspire to reveal the beauty and complexities of the world, and create a deeper understanding of our shared humanity. We are a Museum for all, inviting everyone to connect with art through their own experiences, voices, and personal journeys. We are committed to advancing equity and inclusion by creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. We will continue learning as we work to evolve as an Institution, recognizing that this journey has no end and our commitment must remain. We have an active equity team currently engaged in a journey to examine our internal culture and the work we do through an equity lens. We look forward to having all colleagues join and contribute to this important work. Learn more at

The Museum and Film Center are equal opportunity employers, committed to a policy of non-discrimination in employment on any basis including age, sex, color, race, creed, national origin, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political belief, disability or any other legally protected status. We are committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. As part of this commitment, will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations to participate in the application, interview, and hiring process. Alternative formats of this application are available upon request. If reasonable accommodation or an alternative form of this application are needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact Human Resources at or 503.276.4358.

About the Portland Art Museum

Founded in 1892, the Portland Art Museum is one of the oldest art museums in the United States and the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. The Museum’s collection of 42,000 objects reflects the history of art from ancient times to today. The collection is distinguished for its holdings of arts of the native peoples of North America; modern and contemporary art; Asian and American art; photographs, prints, and drawings; and English silver.

With more than 112,000 square feet of gallery space, the Museum ranks in the top 25 museums in the country with the most gallery and exhibition space. An active collecting institution, the Museum dedicates 90 percent of its gallery space to its permanent collection. In addition to its permanent collection, the Museum is recognized for its special exhibitions and intimate exhibition series, including the APEX program, a contemporary art series, and presentations in the Gilkey Center galleries.

Annual membership consists of 16,000 member households, representing more than 92,000 individuals. More than 350,000 visitors are welcomed annually, including more than 50,000 schoolchildren.

The Museum’s annual operating budget is approximately $13.5 million. The galleries hours have been modified due to COVID-19 and typically open four days a week (Thursday through Sunday).

About the Northwest Film Center

The Museum's sister organization, established in 1971, the Northwest Film Center is a Portland, Oregon-based year-round organization and space where artists and audiences explore our region and the world through cinema and cinematic storytelling in all its forms.

Our mission is to expand the reach of cinema as an art form and challenge for whom, by whom, and how stories can be told. Through our screenings, events, guest speaker programs, classes, and workshops, audiences and artists form vital connections that bind our community and encourage a more vibrant, accessible, and diverse media-arts ecosystem.

The Northwest Film Center acts as an advocate for pioneering filmmakers and artists, giving a platform to voices that might not otherwise be heard and serves as a catalyst for cultural appreciation, conversation, collaboration, and community-building around new ways of seeing locally and globally. For more information, visit


Compensation, Benefits & Perks

  • This role is non-exempt, temporary
  • Budgeted compensation is $21.47 - $25.00, depending on experience. The role is in pay grade G (Min $21.47, Min $25.00, Max $28.26).
  • Complimentary admission to the Museum for employee and guest(s) accompanied by you
  • Access to Museum lectures and programs
  • Discounts at Museum Shop

How to Apply

Application Process

To apply online visit: follow the link to create a profile. Resumes received without completed employment application will not be considered. For questions or accommodation please contact

Please attach a cover letter and in addition, we ask that applicants answer the questions within the application. The Museum engages an equity hiring committee to review applications.

Please do not delay in applying. We are looking for an incumbent to begin this role as soon as possible.

Closing date July 1, 2021.

Listing Type
Position Type
Employer Type
Direct Employer
$21.47 - $25.00, depending on experience

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