Small Museum Association

    Small Museums Working Together

Head Preparator

28 Mar 2023 7:56 PM | Hannah Weisman
  • About Berkeley

    At the University of California, Berkeley, we are committed to creating a community that fosters equity of experience and opportunity, and ensures that students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds feel safe, welcome and included. Our culture of openness, freedom and belonging make it a special place for students, faculty and staff.

    The University of California, Berkeley, is one of the world’s leading institutions of higher education, distinguished by its combination of internationally recognized academic and research excellence; the transformative opportunity it provides to a large and diverse student body; its public mission and commitment to equity and social justice; and its roots in the California experience, animated by such values as innovation, questioning the status quo, and respect for the environment and nature. Since its founding in 1868, Berkeley has fueled a perpetual renaissance, generating unparalleled intellectual, economic and social value in California, the United States and the world.

    We are looking for equity-minded applicants who represent the full diversity of California and who demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds present in our community. When you join the team at Berkeley, you can expect to be part of an inclusive, innovative and equity-focused community that approaches higher education as a matter of social justice that requires broad collaboration among faculty, staff, students and community partners. In deciding whether to apply for a position at Berkeley, you are strongly encouraged to consider whether your values align with our Guiding Values and Principles, our Principles of Community, and our Strategic Plan.

    At UC Berkeley, we believe that learning is a fundamental part of working, and our goal is for everyone on the Berkeley campus to feel supported and equipped to realize their full potential. We actively support this by providing all of our staff employees with at least 80 hours (10 days) of paid time per year to engage in professional development activities. To find out more about how you can grow your career at UC Berkeley, visit

    Departmental Overview

    As one of the preeminent Jewish collections in the world, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life provides accessible resources to scholars, students, and visitors. Its remarkably diverse archive, library and museum holdings include art, objects, texts, music, and historical documents about Jews in the Global Diaspora including the American West.

    The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is a research unit and museum located at 2121 Allston Way. In order to create exhibitions and appropriately care for its collections, The Magnes requires the skills of a professional preparator who can project-manage workflows for exhibitions, prepare materials from the museum's permanent collection for storage and display, and maintain exhibitions.

    Application Review Date

    The First Review Date for this job is: 04/07/2023.


    • Works collaboratively with Curator, Associate Curator, and contracted exhibition professionals (e.g. designers, art handlers) to design, fabricate, and install exhibitions, including exhibition furniture and objects for display.
    • Prepares surfaces for installation of artifacts; designs and fabricates mounts for objects and installs objects for exhibition using the mounts.
    • Incorporates principles of universal design when designing and fabricating exhibitions and exhibition components.
    • Translates curatorial and educational requirements into permanent and temporary exhibitions.
    • Develops concepts and designs for exhibitions and other museum projects.
    • Develops renderings, scale models, lighting plans, signage, and arrangement of objects consistent with the requirements of the Registrar or Curator.
    • Responsible for managing project workflows for all exhibition projects.
    • Adheres to budgets for exhibitions and the upkeep of the Preparation Shop, ensuring that expenditures are within agreed upon budgetary limits.
    • Maintains Preparation Shop.
    • Builds specialized collection processing and exhibition furniture in consultation with Registrar and Curator.
    • Prepares onsite and incoming artworks and artifacts for storage.
    • Ensures museum collections are housed in appropriate enclosures and stores them securely in collections storage.
    • Directs contracted exhibition staff (e.g. designers, art handlers) in the fabrication of components and the installation and deinstallation of exhibitions, and in the regional transport, handling, and storage of artworks on loan and in the museum collection.
  • Required Qualifications

    • Expert knowledge of museum exhibition design field and current trends.
    • Knowledge of the principles of conservation, security, and environmental controls, ADA requirements for public buildings, and awareness of visitor needs.
    • Knowledge of exhibition production, related construction work, and preparation of artworks, which includes mounting, matting, framing, packing, transporting, archival storage, and safe use of chemicals.
    • Working knowledge of principles of universal design and commitment to accessibility for all.
    • Familiarity with design software; project management skills.
    • Ability to translate a curator's artistic and/or educational vision into an exhibit that is universally accessible and meets the needs of the curator(s), artist(s) (if applicable), and audiences.
    • Expert knowledge of artifact handling.
    • Bachelor's degree in related area and/or equivalent experience/training.
  • Preferred Qualifications 

    • Leadership abilities.
    • Master's degree in exhibition design or related field and/or equivalent experience/training.

Salary & Benefits

This is a 100% full-time (40 hrs a week) exempt career position, which is paid monthly and eligible for full UC Benefits.

For information on the comprehensive benefits package offered by the University, please visit the University of California's Compensation & Benefits website.

Under California law, the University of California, Berkeley is required to provide a reasonable estimate of the compensation range for this role and should not offer a salary outside of the range posted in this job announcement. This range takes into account the wide range of factors that are considered in making compensation decisions including but not limited to experience, skills, knowledge, abilities, education, licensure and certifications, analysis of internal equity, and other business and organizational needs. It is not typical for an individual to be offered a salary at or near the top of the range for a position. Salary offers are determined based on final candidate qualifications and experience. 

The full salary range for this position is $61,600 to $107,600. The budgeted salary or hourly range that the University reasonably expects to pay for this position is $61,600 to 80,000.

How to Apply

To apply, please submit your resume and cover letter online.

Driving Required

A valid driver's license and DMV check for driving record is required.

Other Information

This is not a visa opportunity.

Conviction History Background

This is a designated position requiring fingerprinting and a background check due to the nature of the job responsibilities.  Berkeley does hire people with conviction histories and reviews information received in the context of the job responsibilities.  The University reserves the right to make employment contingent upon successful completion of the background check.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. For more information about your rights as an applicant, please see the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission poster.

For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, please see the University of California Discrimination, Harassment, and Affirmative Action in the Workplace policy.

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