Chief Preparator, Building Administrator

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Chief Preparator, Building Administrator

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
Chief Preparator, Building Administrator

Job Profile Title
Building Administrator Senior

Job Description Summary
The Institute of Contemporary Art's Chief Preparator/Building Administrator is a fulltime position reporting to ICA's Marc J. Leder Director of Curatorial Affairs and the ICA's Director of Finance & Operations. The Chief Preparator/Building Administrator must have strong communication and organizational skills, work well in a team environment, and will have the management acumen and keen eye for detail required for the oversight of key projects and departmental administration.

The Chief Preparator/Building Administrator is responsible for technical and creative aspects of exhibition research, design, fabrication, lighting, installation, de-installation, and maintaining exhibitions. Carpentry, digital design skills, securing services of outside contractors; assuring a safe and healthy work environment through knowledge of best practices are vital. Working closely and collaboratively with the Registrar on exhibition planning and installation, the Chief Preparator/Building Administrator is responsible for recruiting, training, and overseeing a team of part-time art handlers.

The Chief Preparator/Building Administrator plans and conducts regular inspections of building and grounds; tracks and conducts follow-up on all building problems and repairs; liaisons with housekeeping and facilities services and is additionally responsible for the administration and coordination of ICA day-to-day facilities operations and facilities improvements communicating with the staff and serving as the primary liaison between ICA and facilities departments of the University. This position is a primary point person for budgeting relating to the facility. The Chief Preparator/Building Administrator is on call with respect to all facility emergencies.

The Chief Preparator/Building Administrator must be a generous, thoughtful, responsive, and clear communicator; have a strong attention to detail and an ability to organize, prioritize, and manage multiple projects; and a desire to work collaboratively while contributing to a team culture and effort. Supporting ICA in its commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution; treating colleagues and partners fairly and respectfully; and recognizing the value that diverse backgrounds and perspectives bring to our organization is vital to this position.

Proficiency with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Microsoft Office 365, Sketchup, Adobe Suite, Google Drive, and Outlook will be beneficial.

Job Description

  • Enacts all phases of major museum exhibition installation production including: research, budgeting, timelines, digital design, fabrication, engaging vendors, installation/de-installation lighting, unpacking/packing, and gallery maintenance while working closely with the Director of Curatorial Affairs, Registrar, curators, artists, and other museum professionals.
  • Serves as the principle liaison/facilitator for all ICA building and its operating infrastructure working closely with the Director of Finance and Operations. Responsibilities include: building maintenance, housekeeping, security, fire safety, and capital projects. Liaising with key University personnel to rectify building issues and acting as an advocate for new initiatives relating to the building is vital. Monitoring project progress and providing periodic updates on all activity relating to facilities is needed.
  • Supervises, recruits, hires, trains, and motivates a part-time team of five to ten skilled art handlers promoting orderly and safe practices and meeting with them one-on-one and evaluating their work periodically.
  • Prepares major exhibitions for travel in close consultation with the Registrar, the Director of Curatorial Affairs, professionals from other museums, and special fabricators.
  • Oversees the maintenance and repair of tools and equipment; estimates costs, purchases materials, equipment and supplies; insures adherence to safe workplace practices and procedures in concert with EHRS.Oversee personnel issues, including hiring, training, scheduling, directing a team of art handlers
  • Periodically works with other ICA departments on fabrication and setups for programming and special events.Use problem-solving skills to perform concurrent multiple tasks in a busy environment
  • Keeps abreast of new developments in the field, conducting research, liaising with other museum and building professionals, attending seminars, and conducting research in the field. Construct display elements and crates


Bachelor's degree required. Staff member should be detail-oriented, have a working knowledge of museum installation methods, an ability to work a varied work schedule, carpentry skills, and an ability to communicate clearly. Knowledge of office and design software is valued.

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:

$58-65K commensurate with education and experience

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
Institute of Contemporary Art

Pay Range
$43,919.00 - $66,183.00

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.

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