Lead Preparator (Preservation and Museum Specialist 3)

Company Name: 

Washington State Historical Society


1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA, USA
Tacoma, WA 98402

Contact Name: 

Kimberly Bowman





Job Description: 

This position is open until filled.  The hiring manager reserves the right to make a hiring decision at any time.  It will be in your best interest to apply as soon as possible.



A little about us:
Founded in 1891 and now into its second century of service, the Washington State Historical Society is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and vividly presenting Washington's diverse and storied history. Our work illuminates the past, enlightens the present, and informs the future.
Our mission is to partner with our communities to explore how history connects us all. Our vision is to be the recognized destination for Washington State history. We achieve this by serving as our state's primary history educator, making history relevant to our modern lives, and supporting civic dialogue where all are welcome.
The Society serves individuals and organizations statewide through publications, outreach programs, curriculum, free virtual public programs, and other online services. However, the majority of the Society's interactions with the public occur at the Washington State History Museum, located in Tacoma, Washington. The Museum traditionally serves more than 80,000 annually, including more than 15,000 K-12 school children visiting the museum on a field trip.  We also welcome more than 10,000 visitors free of charge each year through a variety of access programs.
We are much more than a regional museum. We continually ask ourselves how we can better serve Washingtonians across our state. Our Heritage Capital Projects grant program distributes up to $10M per biennium to fund public heritage, history interpretation, and historic preservation projects across the state. Our popular public history magazine COLUMBIA is enjoyed by readers of all ages. And the Historical Society’s collections at our Research Center, along with a digital collections database, are a resource to scholars and researchers from across the nation.
The Washington State Historical Society is a dynamic place to work with a dedicated staff. We expand our impact by connecting with communities across the Evergreen State through exhibitions, heritage projects, workshops, public programs, publications, and conversations. Our goal is to bring history into focus in such a way that the participant cannot help but discover valuable insights from and feel deep connections with the people and events of the past.
We have an active commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility and are looking for team members who have a passion for professionalism and serving the public, and a desire to contribute to a positive work culture.   
What you will be doing:
As the presentation of exhibitions is a primary purpose of the Washington State History Museum, and a major activity of the Washington State Historical Society, this position is essential to advancement of the society’s mission and goals.  You will be responsible for the preparation, fabrication, installation, and care, of museum exhibitions at the WSHS, both internal and external, physical and digital, as well as supervision of contracted exhibition personnel. You’ll collaborate with the exhibition designer and curator to develop the look and feel of museum exhibitions. You are an integral part of the curatorial team in the crating and placements of mounts based on museum best practices and specialized training. 



Some of what you’ll enjoy doing includes:

  • Curates and cares for artifact displays within exhibitions
  • Handles and installs artwork and cultural artifacts using knowledge of museum best practices in art and artifact handling
  • Develops and executes exhibition installation schedule 
  • Constructs walls, pedestals, object mounts, exhibition environments, interpretive panels, and interactives (some designs may be required Independently formats, prints, cuts, and mounts interpretive panels and labels)
  • Maintains the object support systems for object display and storage including mannequins and custom mounts
  • Installs and uninstalls the physical configurations and elements of WSHS exhibitions
  • Installs and uninstalls exhibitions on-loan or rented to WSHS from professional exhibition developers
  • Prepares galleries for installation by patching, painting, building, fabricating, and positioning of temporary walls
  • Collaborates with Collections team in transporting, packing/unpacking exhibit components and artifacts, utilizing knowledge of museum standards and best practices to protect artifacts
  • Procures and ensures exhibit supply orders are placed and appropriate materials are onsite and on-time per exhibition installation schedules, and for general maintenance of exhibitions
  • Maintains the wood shop and fabrication lab, including cleanliness, safety, and functionality of tools, printers, and other equipment
  • Resolve highly complex design and manufacturing problems such as performing construction work from verbal or minimal written instructions to manufacture exhibition components; diagnosing, troubleshooting, repairing and rebuilding machine tools and/or mechanical devices as needed
  • Curates exhibition objects through their safe display in frames, casework, and other display mechanisms while following best practices set by the American Alliance of Museum in keeping with the museum’s accreditation
  • Facilitates production of assets for digital exhibitions, including exhibit documentation and interpretive content
  • Collaborates with the Society’s Digital Storyteller and provides raw files and content for digital exhibition components
  • Curates a visual gallery experience for online visitors through photographic representation of exhibitions. (With new technology that’s been acquired)
  • Assists in the creation of virtual tours by providing 360-degree photos of galleries and additional raw digital assets 
  • Installs, repairs, and troubleshoots audiovisual equipment in galleries
  • Positions lighting in temporary exhibition galleries, troubleshoots lighting problems in exhibition galleries
  • Provides support to audiovisual technician and contractors




Required qualifications for this position can be met in a number of ways. The agency will consider any combination of applicable experience, training, and/or education that adds up to a minimum total of six years (full-time).

This includes:
Bachelor’s degree in history, anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, fine arts, education construction, construction technology, or closely related field, 
Two years of experience or equivalent combination of training and experience in a museum, fabrication shop, architecture firm, construction, carpentry shop, or gallery setting.


  • Six years of experience in a museum, fabrication shop, architecture firm, construction field, carpentry shop, or gallery setting.


  • Any combination of the above that total six years (full-time).

Additional requirements include:

  • Must be comfortable standing for long periods of time 
  • Must be able to lift, move or transfer 25lbs
  • Must be able to climb and work from tall ladders
  • Must possess a valid driver's license
  • Experience installing 2D and 3D artifacts and artworks
  • Intermediate to advanced carpentry techniques and joinery including safe operation of stationary shop equipment and a full complement of hand tools
  • Beginner to Intermediate skills with Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, and/or InDesign ), Microsoft office suite, and CAD software.

The ideal applicant will also have:

  • Intermediate to advanced carpentry techniques and joinery including safe operation of stationary shop equipment and a full complement of hand tools
  • Beginner to Intermediate skills with Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign), Microsoft office suite, and CAD software
  • Strong curiosity regarding museum display strategies, exhibition design, and installation techniques and technologies
  • Comfortable climbing and working safely on tall ladders and lifts
  • Ability to lift, transfer or move or assist in moving heavy objects (25lbs+) with materials lift, forklift, dollies, and palate jack
  • Familiarity with matting and framing
  • Familiarity with plotter and large format printing and graphics mounting
  • Familiarity working from construction drawings, sketches, and installation drawings provided by the exhibition designer
  • Familiarity estimating material and time needed to complete projects
  • Ability to collaborate in a productive and professional manner—Candidate is self-motivated and can take initiative to complete projects in a timely and highly-detailed manner
  • Candidate is able to work well with others, communicating clearly, and adapt to changing scenarios as needed


  • Experience in artifact mount fabrication and a willingness to further develop skills as needed
  • Familiarity with basic principles and technologies of gallery lighting design, included LED technology, busway, and appropriate nomenclature
  • Experience installing audiovisual technology including projectors, media players, sound systems, and monitors
  • Familiarity with latest technology and terminology and installation procedures in the museum environment
  • Intermediate to Advance skills with Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign), Microsoft office suite, and CAD software
  • Familiarity with photography of both larger interior spaces and individual objects/artifacts
  • Familiarity with 3D printing, trouble shooting, and maintenance
  • Experience patching and painting walls
  • Knowledge of museum standards related to artifact display and exhibitions including artifact handling, storage, materials, and conservation principles


Supplemental Information

Please provide the following documents in order to be considered; failure to do so may result in you not being considered for the position: 

  • letter of interest, describing how you meet the qualifications for this position as outlined in the job posting; 
  • current resume, detailing experience, and education
  • A current list of at least three (3) professional references with current contact information (attached or available to provide at the time of interview)

NOTE:  By submitting these materials, you are indicating that all information is true and correct. The state may verify information. Any untruthful or misleading information is cause for removal from the applicant pool or dismissal if employed.  A resume will not substitute for completing the “duties summary” section of the application.  Please do not refer to resume for detail, or your application may be disqualified.    

Conditions of Employment: 

  • Background Check Notice:  Prior to any new appointment, a background check including criminal record history will be conducted.  Information from the background check will not necessarily preclude employment, but will be considered in determining the applicant's suitability and competence to perform in the position. 

NOTE:  This position is included in a bargaining unit represented by the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE).

Opportunity for All:
The  Washington State Historical Society celebrates our differences and we are committed to a workplace that supports equal opportunity employment and inclusion regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, citizenship or immigration status, marital status, families with children (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity diversity, age, status as a protected veteran, honorably discharged veteran or military status, status as an individual with the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with disabilities or other applicable legally protected characteristics. We will also consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws.
You are welcome to include the name and pronoun you would like to be referred to in your materials and we will honor this as you interact with our organization.
Contact Information:
For questions about this recruitment or to request a reasonable accommodation in the application process, contact Angie Anderson at (360) 407-8446 or emaijobs@des.wa.gov.

Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call through the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.