Job: Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University needs a FT Preparator (Standford, CA)

Lead Preparator - Exhibitions, Museum Preparator III

100% FTE

2 year fixed term


The Cantor Arts Center is a vital and dynamic institution with a venerable history. Founded in 1891 with the university, the historic museum was expanded and renamed in 1999 for lead donors Iris and B. Gerald Cantor. The Cantor’s encyclopedic collection spans 5,000 years, includes over 40,000 works of art and beckons visitors to travel around the world and through time: from Africa to the Americas to Asia, from classical to contemporary. With 24 galleries presenting selections from the collection and more than 20 special exhibitions each year, the Cantor serves Stanford's academic community, draws art lovers from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, and attracts campus visitors from around the world. Free admission, free tours, lectures, family activities, plus changing exhibitions make the Cantor one of the most well-attended university art museums in the country and an invaluable resource for teaching and research on campus.


The Museum Preparator III is a senior, expert-level position, working under minimal direction of the Exhibitions Registrar/Head of Preparation. Employees in this classification perform a larger variety of duties than those expected of the Preparator II level.

This position is covered by a collective bargaining unit. 

The duties listed under the Core Duties section are designed to provide a representative sampling of key tasks and/or responsibilities associated with the job. They are not intended to be a complete list of all the duties performed by employees in the classification.


The Preparator III responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Serves as Lead Preparator and installation coordinator on the largest and most complex exhibitions and gallery reinstallations including active participation in the design, coordination, and implementation of exhibitions using a high level of organization, communication and time management skills.  

  • Designs and fabricates custom mounts and exhibition furniture

  • Works in galleries as part of the installation team for exhibitions and rotations including installation of digital media and multimedia and electronics (film, computer, audio video). 

  • Performs gallery lighting design, with knowledge of LED lighting, re-lamping and exposure settings specific to object requirements.

  • Assists with producing and installing didactic materials, including wall labels, graphic panels, and cut vinyl signage.

  • Designs and fabricates custom storage housing for long-term storage at CAC. 

  • Packs and transports art objects to and from lenders and donors. 

  • Assists with receiving exhibition shipments and with the unpacking and repacking. 

  • Helps maintain tools, equipment, shop spaces and art storage

  • May assist with framing and unframing works of art

  • Transmits instructions and specifications received from supervisor to workers; advise supervisor of work progress.

  • Explains tasks to workers; Inspects work for conformance with specifications. Guide and assist other Preparators as needed.

  • May solicit quotes, review estimates and select vendors.

  • Ensure that safety rules are followed.



Education and Experience:

B.A. degree preferred with a minimum of seven years of progressively responsible experience in a museum setting with a permanent collection. 

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrated proficiency of handling valuable works of art in a wide variety of media including but not limited to paintings, bronze, ceramic, glass, metals, mixed media, textiles, works on paper, contemporary art and new media.

  • Demonstrated proficiency in installation of exhibitions and layout and lighting design.  Ability to move or assist in moving heavy objects and ability to operate genie lifts, forklifts, pallet jacks, etc.

  • Demonstrated experience with installation coordination of large, complex exhibitions and gallery reinstallations.

  • Demonstrated proficiency of practices and methods in mountmaking including earthquake mitigation and demonstrated ability to apply this knowledge with initiative and judgment, concern for detail, accuracy, and neat execution of work. 

  • Demonstrated skills and knowledge of shop equipment and ability to effectively perform various skilled and semi-skilled tasks, including woodworking, brazing, use of adhesives and fasteners, construction methods, and use of stationary and portable power tools.  Experience framing, sheetrocking, taping and painting walls. 

  • Demonstrated knowledge of safe and archival storage materials and techniques for loaned and museum collection objects. 

  • Demonstrated ability to install and troubleshoot a variety of digital media equipment (film, computer, audio, video).

  • Demonstrated ability to produce and install wall labels, graphic panels, and cut vinyl signage.

  • Demonstrated experience with gallery lighting, lighting design and ability to determine light exposure settings specific to the needs of an exhibition or to a given object.

  • Ability to work cooperatively with supervisor, designer, museum staff, students, volunteers

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Effective oral and written communication

  • Ability to accurately perform measurements and hang art to specifications.

  • Demonstrated ability in the design and fabrication of custom storage housing and knowledge of archival-quality materials.

  • Demonstrated knowledge of safe and proper handling methods.

  • Demonstrated experience with shop equipment and ability to perform various skilled tasks including wood, metal and plastic working, brazing, use of adhesives and fasteners, construction methods, and use of stationary and portable power tools.

  • Demonstrated high level of design and implementation of a variety of mount and display solutions.  Knowledge of practices and methods in mount making including earthquake mitigation and various materials safe for use with art objects such as wood, paper, fabrics, plastics, metals, mechanical, paints and adhesives.

  • Ability to work cooperatively with supervisor, designer, faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and general public.

  • Demonstrated problem solving ability.

  • Demonstrated ability to effectively work independently.

  • High level of organization, communication and time management skills.

  • Demonstrated ability to effectively coordinate large and complex installations, solving the most difficult challenges.

  • Demonstrated proficiency with design and database programs

  • Demonstrated ability to learn and apply the University’s commitment to a respectful workplace including, but not limited to, Affirmative Action, diversity and a workplace free of sexual harassment as it applies to their work group.


  • Must possess and maintain a valid California Class C Non-commercial Driver’s License and drive night and day.

  • Constantly stand/walk, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh up to 10 pounds.

  • Occasionally sit, climb (ladders, scaffolds, or other), reach/work above shoulders, twist/bend/stoop/squat, light/fine grasping (files, tools), grasp forcefully, perform desk-based computer tasks, use a telephone, sort/file paperwork or parts, scrub/sweep/mop/mix, operate foot and/or hand controls, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh 11 to 40 pounds.

  • Rarely kneel/crawl.

  • Ability to move or assist in moving heavy objects (must be able to lift 50 lbs).

  • Ability to operate scissor lift, pump lift cart and pallet jack. 


  • May be required to work overtime, evenings and weekends, including holidays.

  • May be exposed to lead, paint, and/or acetone.

  • May work at heights up to 10 feet.

  • May be exposed to noise greater than 80db TWA.

  • May use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as appropriate.


  • When conducting university business, must comply with the California Vehicle Code and Stanford University driving requirements.

  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.

  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.

  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide,

Please apply via Stanford University's career portal,

Deadline: 07-31-2017