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Collections Assistant

Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions)

  • Under the direction of the Collections Manager and using accepted museum standards, provides support to the collections management team by completing work associated with object handling and preparation for upcoming collection moves.
  • Re-houses, packs, crates and unpacks artifacts using approved methods and materials.
  • Provides safe transport of objects and other collections materials to and from storage, workstations and other museum areas.
  • Use the museum’s collections information management system and other technologies to track and record object locations throughout the packing process as instructed.
  • Builds custom boxes, mounts, pallets or other supports for artifacts.
  • Assists with inventory and photography as needed.
  • Assists with light cleaning of objects.
  • Assists with loading and unloading of trucks during scheduled shipments.
  • Provides ongoing support in general maintenance and organization of the packing work areas, tools and machinery, as well as regularly reviewing environmental monitoring sensors and data.
  • Helps supervise temporary packers and train collections staff in packing/building techniques as needed.
  • Participates in Collections Team and Museum-wide meetings, training sessions, and projects as required.
  • Performs other collections related duties as required.

Supervision Received

This position reports to the Collections Manager.

Supervision Exercised

The Collections Assistant may be deputized by the Collections Manager to lead a team of interns, volunteers, or contractors, while working on a specific task.

Qualifications & Skills


  • Minimum 2 years of experience as preparator or in a similar position in a museum, gallery or arts organization.
  • Knowledge of museum standards and best practices in the care, safe handling, packing, and crating of 2-D and 3-D artifacts.
  • Experience handling and packing 2-D and 3-D artifacts.
  • Basic skills in woodworking relating to crate and custom pallet fabrication.
  • Knowledge of archival materials and fine art packing techniques including proficiency in custom box-making, soft-packing and cavity packs.
  • Experience with shop equipment, power and manual woodworking tools, scissor lift, forklift, and other specialized warehouse equipment.
  • Basic computer skills and experience using museum and/or collections databases.
  • Must be able to climb ladders (of at least 10 feet or more) with the ability to lift, push, pull, and support heavy objects, crates, and other items up to 70 pounds in weight.
  • Valid MA license.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills. A positive and collegial work ethic, and the ability to work collaboratively within the Collections Team and the Museum staff as a whole.


  • Experience with matting and framing of works on paper.
  • Familiarity with cameras, photography, and image editing software such as Photoshop and Lightroom.
  • Familiarity with the MimsyXG collections information management system and database.

This is a 30 hours/week position. To apply visit the MIT Human Resources Site.