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Job Title: Preparator                                                         
Department: Collections
Division: Exhibits & Collections                                                  
Reports To: Director of Collections                                                                                              

About Us: The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago is the largest and most interactive science museum in the Western Hemisphere. Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) exposes guests of all ages to awe-inspiring exhibitions that spark curiosity and bring science to life. MSI’s mission – to inspire the inventive genius in everyone – is realized through its world-class exhibitions and engaging guest experiences.

We offer a creative, collaborative, and innovative environment for our employees. Our employees get great perks such as: benefits starting day one of your employment, free admission to MSI for family and friends, free admission to other museums, free parking in MSI’s garage and more!

The Job: The Preparator works closely with other members of the Collections Department to provide care and oversight of the Museum’s Collection of 40,000 artifacts. As part of the Exhibits and Collections Division, the Preparator supports both temporary and permanent exhibition projects and works with the Exhibit Techs and the Facilities Department on projects that involve artifacts on display.  

The Preparator is a very important member of our Collections Department. In this role, you would be responsible for the installation, care, storage and packing of the Museum’s Collection and artifacts on loan to the Museum.  Works with museum-wide staff as well as artifact lenders and consultants to ensure the safety and security of artifacts on exhibition. This may include constructing mounts for artifacts, matting and framing of works on paper, and exhibit layout.

Essential duties and responsibilities:

  • Install and de-install a wide range of artifacts in temporary and permanent exhibits
  • Clean and monitor the condition of artifacts on display
  • Prep artifacts for display. As needed this may include matting, framing, mount making or coordinating with outside vendors
  • Unpack incoming artifacts and pack artifacts for shipping
  • Plan and coordinate with exhibition teams, including designers and project managers to ensure that all installation projects are accomplished on time
  • Maintain a supply of materials and tools for the maintenance and installation of artifacts
  • Responsible for the execution of the Juried Art Exhibition including exhibition layout, working with the juror and artists, and de-installation and return of the artworks
  • Coordinate with Museum-wide staff on projects that involve the Collection
  • Provide local transport of artifacts and related materials using the Museum van


  • Minimum 2 years experience handling and installing artifacts in a museum or gallery
  • Ability to handling artifacts in a wide range of media – from delicate paper artifacts to large-scale industrial artifacts
  • Professional packing and shipping experience
  • Ability to work under the pressure of deadlines and on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Ability to work independently and prioritize projects, with interruptions for time-sensitive  tasks
  • Ability to communicate effectively and maintain accurate records
  • Ability to read and understand exhibit display drawings – floor plans, elevations, etc.
  • Creative thinker and problem solver who can make sound decisions under pressure
  • Detail oriented

The Museum of Science and Industry is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, which includes providing equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

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