Current Opportunities

Director of Conservation

The Role:

The Director of Conservation is responsible for the care and treatment of the Menil's collection with
advanced knowledge of profession-wide ethics, principles, and methods used in the conservation, preservation, and restoration of cultural heritage.  The Director of Conservation occupies a vital role in institutional initiatives and research projects and provides strategic and administrative leadership for the department.

The Director of Conservation supervises a staff of trained conservators and related professionals for a broad range of activities, including conservation assessment and treatment of the collection, support for ambitious exhibition and loan programs, collections research projects, disaster planning and response, and environmental monitoring. 

As a senior leader within the museum's administration, the Director of Conservation works cooperatively with the Director and members of the Menil's Executive Team on institutional planning, policy development, and special initiatives.  The Director of Conservation actively represents the Menil to a broad range of external constituencies, including the conservation profession.

Primary Responsibilities: 

1. Manages the day-to-day operation of the Conservation Department.

  • Directs and monitors conservation treatments on objects in the Menil's collection performed by the museum's staff and, whenever appropriate, by contract conservators, to ensure compliance with accepted professional standards, including the AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice and the Museum's Collections Management policy. 
  • Ensures conservation treatments adhere to the highest safety and sustainability standards for both the artwork and personnel.
  • Updates and ensures department compliance with protocols regarding documentation related to the examination and treatment of works of art in the collection.
  • Works with department conservators and the Collections Management Department to update artwork handling guidelines and ensures regular training and refresher courses for appropriate staff.
  • Updates and monitors protocols for utilization of materials, chemicals, and equipment to protect the health and safety of Menil employees.
  • Hires, retains, and effectively supervises conservation staff, including interns, fellows, and contract conservators.
  • Performs job functions of a Senior Conservator in their area of expertise.
  • Travels (domestically and internationally) as a Menil courier.

2. Develops policies and oversees practices related to the care and safety of the collection and works on loan to meet or exceed recognized and accepted professional standards. 

  • Develops and monitors the implementation of annual and multi-year assessment and treatment plans in accordance with the Menil's strategic plan.
  • Works with department heads to develop and implement plans to increase the efficient operations of the Menil while ensuring and promoting the safety and integrity of the collections.
  • Works closely with the Menil staff to develop strategies for special exhibitions (both those organized by the Menil and other institutions) to ensure the safety and proper care of the collection and works of art on loan from other institutions and individuals.
  • Works closely and proactively on collection installations to ensure the safety and proper care of works of art displayed at the Menil or on loan to other institutions.
  • Develops plans for monitoring the condition of works of art in storage and on display.
  • Participates in emergency and disaster planning and serves as one of the Menil's Emergency Team Directors.  

3. Directs and participates in research related to the collection.

  • Plans and coordinates the scientific analysis of works of art in the collection or on loan.
  • Plans and directs research on individual works of art, larger technical art history projects, and treatment protocol development.
  • Participates, as needed, in the analysis and review of works of art being considered for acquisition, including the technical examinations and artist interviews.
  • Co-directs the Artists Documentation Program (ADP) in collaboration with the Associate Director for Conservation and Research at the Whitney Museum of American Art, including oversight of the program's interviewing, publishing and archival aspects as well as securing regular funding for the project.

4. Develops and manages departmental operating, project, and program budgets.

  • Defines appropriate budget items and maintains expenses within budgets allotted to the position.
  • Seeks funding opportunities to support conservation activities; writes and manages grants.  Collaborates with members of the Menil's Advancement  Department to educate donors regarding conservation priorities and needs.


1. M.A. from a recognized conservation training program, or the equivalent, with a minimum of ten years of experience as a practicing conservator. 
2. Demonstrated leadership experience at a senior level with high responsibility and accountability.
3. Comprehensive knowledge of conservation methodologies and the resources needed to support the care and treatment of the collection.
4. Experience motivating and leading experienced conservators and mentoring entry- and mid-level professionals in the field. 
5. A demonstrated history of publishing in conservation literature.
6. A sustained interest in working with and interviewing artists.
7. Advanced knowledge and demonstrated experience with conservation treatments of painting, paper, photographs, textiles, and/or three-dimensional objects.
8. Advanced knowledge of chemical and physical properties of conservation materials and deterioration processes.
9. Excellent written and oral communication skills in English; knowledge of a foreign language is a plus.
10. Ability to work with collection management databases; TMS is preferred.
11. Ability to read, analyze and interpret scientific and technical journals, construction documents, financial reports, and legal documents.
12. Ability to write reports and business correspondence, effectively present information, and respond to inquiries and requests from museum staff, outside organizations, and the general public.
13. Ability to generate and manage project and operational budgets.


The position comes with a comprehensive benefits package that includes paid vacation and sick time, medical and dental insurance, life insurance, AD&D, and LTD coverage.  Employees may also participate in the Menil's 401(k) plan and receive an employer contribution equivalent to 5% of wages earned after one year on the job.


To Apply:

Interested applicants are encouraged to submit a cover letter, resume, and two writing samples to: 

The Menil Collection is an Equal Opportunity Employer and seeks diversity in its workforce.  The Menil is committed to attracting, retaining, developing, and promoting the most qualified employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.


Salary Range: 
$125,000 - $170,000/annually

About This Job

  • The Menil Collection
  • Houston, TX
  • Category: Professional
  • Salary Range: $125,000 - $170,000/annually
  • Posted: August 11, 2022