Paper Care Specialist – Detroit Institute of Arts


Paper Care Specialist

Conservation Department


Full-time, Exempt

Salary commensurate with experience


Under supervision of the Paper Conservator, and in close collaboration with the Curator and Department Head of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, provides oversight regarding the care and management of the DIA’s works of art on paper.


  • Perform and/or supervise all hinging, matting, framing and housing of works of art on paper in the Prints, Drawings and Photographs Department.
  • Prepare for exhibition works on paper in other departments, including Contemporary, African American, Asian, Islamic, European, and American.
  • Manage location changes and dimension corrections in the DIA’s collection database (TMS).
  • Work with the curators to manage rotation of works on paper into the permanent collection galleries, and coordinate rotations with the Collections Management Department.
  • Track time for grants and submit reports to the Development Department.
  • Recruit, mentor, develop and successfully manage the Paper Care Assistant to achieve the strategic objectives and the present and future needs of the department. Lead the Paper Care Assistant using a performance support process including goal setting, feedback, and development.
  • Perform and/or supervise gallery installation of difficult, irregular, or fragile works of art on paper.
  • Manage movement of, and accompany when needed, works on paper to the Photography Studio.
  • Under supervision of the Paper Conservator, and when appropriate, perform selected remedial conservation treatment of works on paper and period frames. Assist the Paper Conservator with the treatment of oversize works on paper as needed.
  • Design, plan and install mounts for unusual objects, books, and frames, in collaboration with the Paper Conservator and Mount Designer-Fabricator.
  • Research, source, and procure special equipment and archival materials for the preparation, exhibition and storage of works on paper; maintain inventory of archival material and specialized equipment.
  • Interview and select contractors as needed (in collaboration with PDP, Operations or Collections Management as appropriate).
  • Manage the PDP art storage and work areas, including cleanliness, maintenance, pest control, temperature and humidity monitoring.
  • Work with Building Operations to maintain PDP infrastructure; create work orders to correct any problems and follow through to completion.
  • Courier DIA objects for exhibition or study to other institutions. Prepare condition reports.
  • Answer inquiries from the general public and other institutions and conduct formal presentations related to the care and handling of paper objects.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.



  • Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, with a preferred concentration in drawing or printmaking, and knowledge of art history. Additional years of experience may be substituted for the university requirement.
  • 5 years of art museum experience with demonstrated advanced training in the care, handling and preservation of art on paper, including matting, hinging, framing, installation, transportation and storage of paper objects.
  • Familiarity and knowledge of hand papermaking techniques, present-day paper production methods, and knowledge of printing, drawing, and photography materials and techniques.


  • Key areas of knowledge and expertise include: familiarity with the professional standards of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works regarding exhibition and storage of art, familiarity with word processing software and with museum collections database software (e.g. TMS), ability to manage budgets, demonstrated skills using hand and power tools (mat cutter, drill, table saw, miter saw, jointer, compressor), familiarity with general art museum practices, including managing paper work, finding vendors of specialized/archival materials and ordering such materials, ability to instruct, train and supervise art handlers and technicians, excellence in measuring and math, neat and accurate handwriting/printing, and the ability to maintain high standards in the handling and presentation of art objects.
  • Occasional irregular work hours, travel and on-call availability.
  • Organizational skills
  • Proficiency with latest version of Microsoft Office applications.
  • Strong math skills.
  • Creativity
  • Patience
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Precision
  • Attention to detail
  • Self-starter
  • Ability to work alone, with awareness of decision-making limits
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to work with others
  • Ability to enforce conservation standards when artwork safety or condition is being threatened


Must be able to safely maneuver and handle fragile materials. Ability to manipulate hand and power tools with precision and accuracy to cut, install, and fabricate mounts for fragile works of art. Must be able to independently lift, carry, hold, and balance containers of fragile objects weighing up to 30 pounds. Must be able to access objects in storage using ladders or other assistive equipment. Visual acuity in order to perform precise manipulation of materials and objects. Position requires ability to communicate and exchange accurate information using various methods including in-person, telephone and email.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please do so online at Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Employment applications and/or resumes will not be accepted in person or by mail, e-mail, or facsimile.


For more information on how to apply, please visit here: 

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