Job Opening: Conservator, Jefferson City (MO)

Position Title


Starting Salary



Jefferson City, Missouri


Local Records

Definition: Conservators work in Missouri’s only publicly funded conservation lab for treatment of historically significant paper records, primarily from the 19th and early 20th century. Staff provide physical/chemical treatment to stabilize and repair the most significant documents in the State Archives collection and from local government offices – primarily of rare and historical paper records (documents, maps, and books), with occasional stabilization of photographs. The primary work is in conservation treatment; occasional work in outreach (training and consultation) may be required.

Job Functions and/or General Responsibilities:

  • Perform ethical and safe conservation treatments abiding by the American Institute for Conservation’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice and directions of supervisors.
    • Evaluate paper-based documents and carry out conservation treatments at varying degrees of complexity.
    • Perform necessary chemical and physical testing to determine treatment needs.
    • Develop condition reports and treatment proposals, and create photo documentation for work proposed and performed. Maintain tracking records in established computer files.
    • Perform treatments including:
      • dry surface cleaning,
      • humidification and flattening,
      • removal of tapes, adhesives, backings, fasteners, and old mends, including solvent use when warranted,
      • aqueous treatment to wash and/or deacidify,
      • mending and backing/lining,
      • encapsulation,
      • construction of customized protective enclosures, and
      • mold remediation.
    • Repair non-rare books from the Archives reference collection.
    • Perform high-volume/minimal-treatment to stabilize paper records for microfilming or digitization.
    • Perform conservation support functions such as:
    • preparing pastes and chemical solutions,
    • maintaining equipment,
    • cleaning tools and lab space,
    • storing supplies and monitoring inventories,
    • generating project reports and filing conservation documentation.
    • Training: Occasionally provide training for in-house staff, volunteers, and interns regarding: safe handling procedures, holdings maintenance procedures (fastener removal, surface cleaning, humidification and flattening, housing), etc.
    • Outreach: On occasion, provide information and education to outside groups, such as the following:
    • answer technical questions for state/local agencies, cultural organizations, and the public on preservation topics,
    • provide onsite consultation to local officials and civic organizations on discrete topics such as storage and housing, care and handling, environmental control, pest management, disaster preparedness, etc.,
    • formal, hands-on workshops in basic care and repair procedures to local government officials, professional organizations, civic groups, or interns,
    • educational programs and tours of the conservation lab, and
    • write technical leaflets for the agency website, such as those at

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

    • Knowledge of conservation principles and established conservation practices.
    • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with associates, public officials, private groups, and the public.
    • Ability to express ideas clearly and concisely orally and in writing.
    • Demonstrated effectiveness performing paper conservation treatments in a production setting.
    • Excellent manual dexterity and sustained concentration with delicate and occasionally repetitive tasks.
    • Familiarity with Microsoft Office applications and photo-editing software.
    • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision.
    • Ability to work with documents that contain dust and mold spores.
    • Ability to stand, bend, kneel, reach shelves above eye level; lift and carry a forty-pound box; and climb a ladder to retrieve materials.
    • Ability to travel, including occasional overnight trips.
    • Must possess a valid Missouri driver’s license, or be able to secure one within 30 days of employment.


    • Minimum Education/Experience: Bachelor’s degree required. At least 2 years advanced training in conservation acquired through formal studies or a combination of apprenticeship, advanced courses, and internships. Knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of books/paper and an understanding of the causes of deterioration.
    • Preferred Education/Experience: Advanced degree/certificate in paper conservation through an accredited graduate or equivalent certificate program, formal apprenticeship, or equivalent experience OR Master’s degree in library science or archival administration, art, art history, history, historical preservation, or related field, with one year experience in paper conservation. Sound knowledge of organic and physical chemistry.
    • Applicants chosen for an interview should present a portfolio or examples of their paper conservation work, and will undergo a manual dexterity indicator as part of the interview process.

Posting Period:

Position posted January 13, 2014. The minimum posting period will end February 13, 2014. After the minimum posting period, the position may be closed to new applicants and filled at any time.

Application Procedures:

Application materials (resume, completed application) may be mailed to: Attention: Conservator,Human Resources, Office of the Secretary of State, P.O. Box 1767. Jefferson City, MO 65102. EOE.

Email: Hrmain [at] sos [dot] mo [dot] gov

Download the Employment Application  at

To our applicants with disabilities: If you need assistance with this or any phase of the employment process, please contact our Human Resource Office at (573) 522-6254. Reasonable attempts will be made to accommodate your needs.


2 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this, Beth. And my apologies for not sending it to you earlier.

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