Head of Preparations

Head of Preparations

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Employers By State in 2021.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement for all positions at the University of Pennsylvania. New hires are expected to be fully vaccinated before beginning work at the University. For more information about Penn's vaccine requirements and the use of Penn Open Pass, visit the Penn COVID-19 Response website for the latest information.

Posted Job Title
Head of Preparations

Job Profile Title
Supervisor C

Job Description Summary
Open to all, the Museum is home to remarkable objects and powerful stories that emerge from its extraordinary expeditions across the world. Discover the cultures of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Mediterranean, from the very first cities of the Middle East to the kings of ancient Egypt; from prehistoric Mexico to the lives of Native American communities today. Experience the mystery of the ancient past, gain an understanding of our shared humanity, and find your own place in the arc of human history.

Job Description

The Head of Preparations leads the Preparation Department, and is responsible for creating, scheduling, and managing the overall maintenance of the Museum's signature galleries and temporary exhibitions, including creating and monitoring gallery maintenance schedules, budgets, and expense reports including fabrication, mountmaking, and multimedia costs. This position manages three positions: the Preparator, Lead Mountmaker, and Multimedia Technician. In addition to managing the upkeep of installed exhibitions and galleries, the Head of Preparations also manages the installation and de-installation of temporary exhibitions and displays, and schedules and staffs object removals for conservation and research purposes regularly. The position manages relationships and coordinates with internal stakeholders such as designers, planners, collections managers, conservators, registrars, security, facilities, and curators as well as outside vendors including contractors, design firms and other vendors for specific projects. The Head of Preparations is responsible for the fabrication of some exhibition furniture, including casework, architectural elements, exhibition props, and multimedia housing. The position is responsible for the purchase of materials for exhibition projects, and will regularly mentor undergraduate and graduate students through the exhibition process.

  • Responsible for creating and managing gallery maintenance budgets and expense reports, including fabrication, multimedia and mountmaking costs
  • Manages the installation and de-installation of temporary exhibitions and displays, coordinating with Building Operations, Conservation, Collections and Curatorial staff, Security and others
  • Manages the Preparator, Multimedia Technician, and Mountmaker.
  • Schedules and staffs for object removals for conservation and research purposes.
  • Manages the Museum Woodshop and inventory
  • Manages relationships with fabrication contractors, design firms, and other vendors for fabrication elements for projects
  • Responsible for the fabrication of exhibition furniture, including casework, architectural elements, exhibition props, and multimedia housing
  • Maintains "built" aspects of existing galleries and exhibitions
  • Mentors undergraduate and graduate students through the process of creating exhibitions
  • Performs other duties as assigned


Bachelors degree in Industrial Design, Woodworking, Theater, Sculpture, or related field required, plus 3-5 years working in and managing a staffed woodshop or similar required. Individual must be a skilled wood-worker with experience in a shop environment using typical power equipment and hand tools. Strong organizational, communication, and planning skills working in a highly collaborative environment is essential, as is experience working in a museum environment, including the movement of objects on exhibit and in the collection and monitoring and maintaining exhibition spaces strongly preferred, with experience in construction and/or fabrication, demonstrated ability to solve problems independently and show initiative. Proven skill in the use of carpentry and power tools, ability to work with tools, lumber, adhesives, paint and materials, including electrical elements. Ability to lift and manipulate objects of up to 50 lbs. Ability to read and create construction documents and shop drawings is needed. Knowledge of the Microsoft and Adobe Suites, Vectorworks or Sketch Up, and collections database software is essential. Understanding of latest materials and methods of fabrication is necessary. The ability to work overtime on occasion may be required.

Application Requirement:

A Cover Letter and Resume/CV are required to be considered for this position. Please upload your Cover Letter where it asks you to upload your Resume/CV; multiple documents are allowed.

Budgeted Pay Range:

$25.00 to $35.00 per hour, commensurate with education and experience.

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
University Museum

Pay Range
$20.45 - $30.82

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits
  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family-whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement-and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

To learn more, please visit: https://www.hr.upenn.edu/PennHR/benefits-pay

To apply, visit https://wd1.myworkdaysite.com/en-US/recruiting/upenn/careers-at-penn/job/University-Museum/Head-of-Preparations_JR00049752

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