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Jobs | Published: Fri 31 May 2013

Temporary Assignment: Assistant Conservator of Manuscripts & Printed Books for a period of up to 9 months

Hourly rate: £12.61

The temporary full time assignment ( five day working week, Monday to Friday) will be conducted through the University of Cambridge Temporary Employment Service and the position will be based at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

The Assignment

To undertake research, technical analysis, interventive and preventive conservation of works on parchment and paper for the Department of Manuscripts and Printed Books, Fitzwilliam Museum including medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, fine printed books dating from 15th to the 21st century, manuscript and printed music, literary autographs and archival material.

To undertake research and conservation work on paper and parchment material from Trinity College selected by the Wren Librarian.

The person allocated to this temporary assignment will be fully supervised throughout the period.

Please note: The assignment will be conditional upon the satisfactory outcome of a Police check. Whether an outcome is satisfactory will be determined by the University.

Main responsibilities

  • Undertake research, analysis and technical examination of books, music and manuscripts on parchment and paper dating from the 9th to the 21st century for the Department of MSSPB and for the Wren Library. Carry out remedial and preventative treatments on these objects, by making use of standard research techniques and methods
  • Conduct literature and database searches to develop new techniques and adapt existing treatment techniques to solve problems
  • Maintain thorough documentation of all treatments, writing reports and keeping photographic records of the conservation process, prior, during and subsequent to treatment
  • Prepare condition reports on museum objects going out on loan to other institutions and on external loans coming to or leaving exhibitions held at the museum
  • Carry out research into techniques and materials used by scribes, artists, printers and binders, and into modern conservation approaches. Present finds and treatments to fellow conservators, academic and general audiences through conferences, seminars, public talks and behind the scenes visits
  • Write up results of conservation research and contribute to the production of research reports and publications
  • Liaise with curatorial, conservation, technical and administration individuals in the museum and participate in the Museum-wide Collections Care programme, collaborating with other conservators

Assignment Requirements

  • Relevant qualification in book conservation with demonstrable work experience preferably with accredited status in the profession through PACR
  • In-depth knowledge of materials and techniques used by medieval, early modern and contemporary scribes, artists, printers and binders
  • Sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge of research methods and conservation techniques to work within own area
  • High level of manual dexterity and intuitive skills
  • Initiative and creativity to solve routine problems in relation to the research e.g. methodological/technical problems
  • Good knowledge of chemistry and analytical techniques
  • High degree of IT literacy, including the use of digital photography, Photoshop (or other image software) and collections management systems in a conservation context
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • An ability to develop effective working relationships with colleagues and external contacts
  • A mutually flexible, supportive and collaborative team working ethos
  • A demonstrable track record of practical work experience with collections equal in quality and importance to those in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Wren Library
  • Ability to manage work flow to deadlines
  • Sound grasp of conservation ethics
  • Highly organised approach to work
  • Ability to work consistently to an agreed format

Selected Candidate discussions: w/c 8 July 2013

Method of Application

Interested candidates should register on-line with the University of Cambridge Temporary Employment Service, by 12 noon Friday 28 June 2013 and supply a CV and Statement of Interest.

The registration form can be found here:
In the ‘work details’ section of the application form, please quote: ‘Assistant Conservator of Manuscripts and Printed Books, Fitzwilliam Museum’.