ConservatOR of Photographs
Title of the position
Associate or Senior Conservator of Photographs
Permanent- Full time or Part time with benefits options available
About the Position:
The Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC) is seeking an Associate or Senior level Conservator of Photographs to join our team in San Diego, CA. This role will help establish the Photograph Conservation Service Area as we expand our team and strengthen our programs to fulfill a re-envisioned mission to serve a more diverse audience and make conservation more accessible and relevant to all communities. We are excited to visualize and strategize how the right combination of technical practice and commitment to inclusive conservation can shift the way regional conservation centers engage with communities and cultural heritage.
The role is in-person and the conservator participates in all activities of the regional lab. This individual plays a critical role in providing photograph and paper conservation services at BACC and will be primarily responsible for developing treatment proposals with accurate hour and materials estimates, consulting with member organizations and private clients, and carrying out treatments in accordance with conservation best practices. The ideal candidate will have both the capacity to perform the day to day tasks of photograph conservation as well as help strategize growth and direction for the Photograph Conservation Service Area. Areas of specialization may include (but are not limited to) treatment of fine art photography, archives, 19th & 20th century photography, contemporary photography, or disaster recovery for photograph collections.
About our Team:
Across departments, BACC’s conservators and staff are a collaborative, innovative, and supportive group who enjoy active involvement with operations at BACC and the greater art and cultural heritage community who we have the pleasure to work with daily. We are a small but mighty team of eight full time staff who mentor interns and fellows on a regular basis and work passionately to demystify art conservation in our regional community. This position works collaboratively with all staff to nourish a positive and healthy workplace.
This is an exciting time for BACC, as it expands its service areas into Objects Conservation and Preventive Conservation for the first time in its 47 year history, and invests in strengthening its existing Paintings and Paper Labs. Since 1975, the conservators at BACC have worked closely with collecting institutions in our region such as the San Diego Museum of Art, Museum of Photographic Arts, Timken Museum of Art, San Diego History Center, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The Cheech, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum, and the University of San Diego to provide services such as technical analysis, condition surveys, educational workshops, mounting and framing, consultations on collections care best practices, preventive conservation, and grant writing support in addition to treatment.
POSITION: Associate or Senior Photograph Conservator
- Advanced training from a recognized art or photograph conservation program
- Experience as a practicing photograph conservation professional with demonstrated abilities in examination, analysis, documentation, and treatment
- Advanced knowledge of both chemical and physical properties of photographic based materials, conservation materials, and deterioration processes
- A general knowledge of paper conservation is essential for this role
- Knowledge of the principles and practices of preventive conservation, and readiness to participate in workshop development and outreach
- Ability to work independently and apply critical thinking and creative problem solving
- Ability to create, implement, and manage project timelines, task management, and schedules for the Photograph Conservation Service Area
- Ability to supervise and mentor associate and assistant conservators, fellows, and interns
- Ability to manage valuable tangible property (e.g. supplies, equipment, customers’ property, laboratory space, etc.)
- Knowledge of personal safety equipment and standards
- This candidate must share in our commitment to anti-racism, decolonial approaches to collections care, inclusion, and access. This role is critical in ensuring BACC’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity is practiced both externally with our communities, institutions, and clients as well as internally, with our staff, our field, and our process
- Candidate must be authorized to work in the U.S. at the time of application
- Ability to create, manage, and reconcile budgets, revenue projections, and work plans for the Photograph Conservation service area
- Experience with source community collaboration in the care of of cultural heritage
- Ability to travel overnight for onsite work
- Adhere to conservation best practices (such as Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice of the American Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works (AIC))
- Manage quality control of treatment, treatment proposals, and reporting for the outputs of the Photograph Conservation Service Area
- Conduct surveys/exams/assessments/analysis for prevention, conservation, and education projects with minimal supervision
- Perform treatments and treatment-related functions, including photography or filming, survey assessments, treatment proposals (with cost estimates), treatment reports and other forms of analysis/documentation with minimal supervision
- Participate in collections management recommendations, collections maintenance, research into artists and materials, collection surveys and disaster remediation
- Conduct research on conservation topics, marketplace trends, and business practices when necessary to stay abreast of conservation field
- Develop concepts, materials and opportunities to teach, train or publish for the conservation community as needed
- Participate in the development of outreach and engagement initiatives
- Participate in community led conservation as a learner and knowledge sharer
- Remain current in evolving conservation practices, conduct research in the field of culturally appropriate conservation and present those results in the form of public lectures and publications as needed
- Communicate directly with customers and deliver excellent customer service
- Represent BACC in joint projects with collecting institutions, including but not limited to grant support, collections care assessments, environmental assessments, emergency preparedness, emergency response procedures, and large scale conservation projects
- Support the mission and goals of the entire organization. Aim to achieve sustainability, excellence, impact and relevance for the whole organization
- Support BACC’s efforts to build a collaborative leadership model
- Empower, encourage, and support staff and conservation teams
- Support full spectrum of HR functions, from recruiting to separation, staffing, performance reviews and staff professional development
- Supervise and manage workflows, schedules, budgets, quality of outputs for photograph conservation service area
- Maintain accurate, retrievable and searchable records in databases and files (shared drives, Airtable, etc)
- Communicate directly with customers and deliver high-quality customer service
- In collaboration with the Executive Director and the Conservation Services Manager, oversee analysis, collect and maintain statistics, reports, revenue plan, and other metrics to assess and improve functions and develop policies and procedures for Photograph Conservation Service Area process improvements
- Act as an external ambassador and internal role model for the organization
$68,000 - 80,000 (DOE)
- 15 days of vacation to start; increases to 20 days after one year of employment
- 10 days of paid sick leave
- 11 paid holidays (and a paid winter break)
- Professional Development opportunities and Conservation-related membership support
- Health benefits (medical, dental, vision)
- TIAA-CREF retirement program. BACC will match up to 5% of employee’s contribution (eligible after one year of employment)
- Relocation assistance available
Listed salaries are starting salaries. BACC is in the process of reviewing its HR policies as the result of a recent Mellon funded Radical Equity study. Among the recommendations are an addressing of compensation, benefits, and other policies to support a radically equitable and healthy workplace culture.
- A statement of interest that includes a brief description of a particular area of interest or specialty you have within conservation or a related field.
- A current CV
- A writing sample (such as a technical exam, research paper, or publication)
- A portfolio containing three (3) treatments (can be submitted in digital or paper format)
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and the position will remain open until filled.
By email to Lgomezfranco@bacc.org with the subject line: “Conservator of Photographs”
By US Mail to:
Leticia Gomez Franco, Executive Director
Balboa Art Conservation Center
PO Box 3755
San Diego, CA 92163
The Balboa Art Conservation Center provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to age, ancestry, color, disability (mental and physical), gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military or veteran status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religious creed, sex (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, and any other status protected by local, state or federal law.
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color applicants are highly encouraged to apply. We are eagerly looking for a new team member to join us on our journey to becoming the sustainable and relevant organization we seek to be. This position description describes some of the core competencies and qualities of a potential candidate. If you feel this position may be a great fit for you despite not fitting perfectly into the box we have visualized above, you are highly encouraged to reach out, ask questions, and apply.
The Balboa Art Conservation Center was founded in the 1970s as part of a national movement to create regional conservation centers that would serve collecting institutions within a certain geography. The goal was to centralize conservation and preservation services, bringing relief to museums, historical centers, libraries, etc., fulfilling their conservation needs without having to replicate the administrative, equipment, staffing and resources needed to run an entire conservation lab at every single institution. There are fewer than a dozen of these regional conservation centers in the country and BACC is the only regional conservation center on the west coast. Our center is located in San Diego, California on the ancestral homelands of the Kumeyaay Nation and our geographic area includes California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska. We are currently an eight-member team, in a 4,000 square foot facility on the second floor of a historic building in beautiful Balboa Park.
For more than 45 years, BACC has been fulfilling its mission as a conservation lab to provide conservation and preservation services for cultural institutions and private collectors for their works of art, cultural objects, and historic artifacts. In accordance with best practices such as the American Institute of Conservation’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice, its highly trained conservators offer a rigorous and scientific approach to the preservation, examination, and treatment of cultural heritage objects. BACC has various scientific and technological equipment to aid in the examination of works including Infrared Reflectography, X-radiography, and X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (XRF).
As a nonprofit organization, BACC is also committed to benefiting the public good by supporting training and education opportunities and partnering with stewards of community cultural collections. BACC is expanding access to the field of conservation to historically underrepresented communities by expanding the existing knowledge base to include culturally conscious and responsive methods of conservation. In turn, BACC is committed to learning from and dialoguing with artists and caretakers of diverse cultural heritage and ancestral collections.