Paid Intern - SAM Emerging Museum Professional Conservation Intern

4 days left

Seattle Art Museum
Seattle, Washington, US
Apr 28, 2021
May 19, 2021
Climate Change
Employment Type
Salary Type
Seattle Art Museum Emerging Museum Professionals Internships

We recognize that successfully serving our visitors and providing the caliber of museum experience they have come to expect from us requires the teamwork of professionals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Historical barriers to underrepresented groups is a concern for museums across the United States, resulting in a field that is neither equitable nor culturally representative of our society. We are committed to cultivating a diverse workplace that continually promotes opportunities for all. Seattle Art Museum Emerging Museum Professionals Internships aim to increase diversity in the museum field by providing financial support and hands-on experience to young professionals from a variety of backgrounds preparing for museum careers. Candidates who are members of groups that are historically underrepresented in the museum profession are welcome to apply to the Seattle Art Museum Emerging Museum Professionals Internships. These internships are made possible through the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Seattle Art Museum Emerging Museum Professionals Internship opportunities include:
  • Conservation Internship: paid hourly, 35 hours per week for 18 months, full benefits (health insurance, transportation subsidy and SAM membership).
  • Internships are expected to begin on or about July 1, 2021. The expectation at this time is for the internships to be in-person and on-site to the extent possible, subject to pandemic restrictions.

Applicants must:
  • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident eligible to work in the United States (permanent residents are non-citizens authorized to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis, also known as "green card" holders). Those with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) status valid through the internship period are also eligible.
  • Be a member of a group underrepresented in careers related to art conservation, curatorial practice, museums, and visual arts organizations. One resource for information about underrepresentation in the museum field can be found here
  • Be committed to a career in the fields of conservation or curatorial practice and possess a demonstrated desire to continued education to further that goal. Interested candidates should review the specific academic requirements in each internship job description.

All application materials must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on May 21, 2021. Applications are to include the following items:
  • SAM Internship Application: Submit application for a specific internship through the SAM Careers page
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae: Current resumes are required for all applicants.
  • Cover Letter to Include Personal Statement: Include a personal statement of no more than 500 words (two typed pages, double-spaced). The personal statement should address both of the following points:
    • The Seattle Art Museum Emerging Museum Professionals Internships encourage greater diversity in professions related to the museum field. What interests you most about this program? As part of your response, please elaborate on how representing diverse perspectives is important to you.
    • Please describe aspects of your past academic and/or job experience that you feel are most relevant to this application, as well as your specific interest in pursuing the field of art conservation or curatorial practice.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation from academic or professional references should be emailed directly to, with the applicant name noted in the Subject line.

  • SAM is dedicated to racial equity and strives for employees, volunteers, and interns who are passionate, qualified, and offer diverse perspectives. SAM prioritizes racial equity in the workplace because we know that people of color are the most impacted when it comes to inequities. We are particularly interested in engaging with historically under-represented groups in the museum field as we strive to be inclusive and equitable. SAM is responsive to cultural communities and experiences, and our strategic plan goals address the role art plays in empowering social justice and structural change to promote equity in our society.

    Overview: The conservation intern is a member of the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) conservation team. This internship, funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, focuses on the reinstallation of SAM's American galleries.

    A core objective of the internship is to further racial equity and diversity objectives within SAM and in the broader professional field by providing a paid internship for candidates from historically underserved communities. The opportunity for educational advancement is an important part of the position. The internship will provide the candidate with a wide range of museum and conservation experiences that may help to prepare the intern to apply for entry to a graduate conservation program, but it offers no guarantee of acceptance onto such a program.

    Focusing primarily, but not solely, on the American gallery reinstall, the intern works on a broad range

    of conservation and preservation activities within the museum. These may include the preventive

    conservation of collections, monitoring and maintenance of display and storage environments, and

    examination, documentation and conservation treatment of works of art. One of the unique

    opportunities of the internship is that the intern will gain experience working on collection objects

    under the supervision of a staff conservator and in close consultation with other museum stakeholders.

    Such conservation treatment projects may include work on paintings, sculptures or other collection

    objects. If circumstances permit, the intern may conduct research into works of art from SAM's

    collections, and they may share findings with SAM and other audiences.

    FLSA STATUS: Non-exempt

    STAFF MENTORS: Jane Lang Davis Chief Conservator

    COMPENSATION: $16.69 hourly; 35 hours per week for 18 months

  • Assess and document the condition of works of art; photograph objects and enter written and photographic (digital) documentation into TMS database, with particular focus on the art on the American gallery reinstall exhibit checklist. Survey work will be overseen by conservation and collections staff.
  • Perform and document treatments of works of art under direct supervision from conservation staff and in consultation with project curators. Conservation work will primarily be focused on the American gallery reinstall checklist, but conservation of other works may be possible, depending on circumstances. Depending on current departmental priorities, treatment may include stabilization or other treatment of larger groups of objects, assistance with group treatments (e.g. at the Olympic Sculpture Park (OSP)) or more in-depth, comprehensive treatments of fewer works of art. The range and nature of practical treatment will vary, depending on the current schedule.
  • Research materials, techniques and the history/provenance of particular works of art when appropriate. Consult with project curators and other stakeholders throughout process.
  • Assist with framing adjustments and preparation of archival display materials with conservator, curator and archival technician.
  • Test, document and plan exhibition display materials.
  • Assist with general studio activities such as cleaning individual work area and shared work areas after use. Identify necessary supplies and work with coordinator to procure them.
  • Share findings and outcomes of work with colleagues at SAM and, if possible, with general and professional audiences through public presentations or other means.
  • Attend and take part in department meetings and other activities.
  • Assist with and take part in workshops, classes and educational programs as possible.
  • Expected time commitment: 35 hours per week; schedule is flexible within Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm office hours.

  • QUALIFICATIONS, KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES REQUIRED: (Necessary training in art handling, conservation methods, use of database and other conservation protocols will be provided during the internship).
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
    • Proficiency in general computer use and database entry (TMS).
    • Ability to utilize digital image software (Adobe Photoshop).
    • Knowledge of materials and techniques related to artistic production and the collection.
    • Art historical knowledge and an interest in museum matters.
    • Experience/aptitude in assessing condition and documentation of works of art and ability to generate report documentation.
    • Highly developed hand skills and good judgement.
    • Ability to work efficiently and prioritize tasks.
    • Sufficient scientific knowledge for undertaking basic examination and analysis of art objects.
    • Ability to work both independently on projects and as a team member for department priority tasks and group projects.
    • Adherence to the code of ethics governing the American Association of Museums and the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.
    • To represent the Museum with a high level of integrity and professionalism.
    • To adhere to Museum policies and support management decisions in a positive, professional manner.
    • Abide by the Standards for Museum Volunteers/Interns as outlined in the Volunteer/Intern Packet.

    • Bachelor's degree in art history or humanities or equivalent experience.
    • Current applicant or interest in applying to an art conservation graduate training program.


    During the current pandemic, working conditions are primarily working on assigned tasks and consulting regularly with supervisor from home. Assuming that conditions improve by the start of the internship, the intern will be expected to work on-site at SAM, in the Neukom Conservation Studio, in SAM galleries and storage areas. Since collection storage is located both downtown and at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the intern may also work at the SAAM conservation studio, SAAM galleries or SAAM storage areas. The intern may also assist with team conservation projects at OSP or at off-site locations.

    Under normal circumstances, working areas are primarily inside, in a climate-controlled environment with light background noise. The Conservation Intern should be prepared to work with conservation and artists' materials, and she/he may be required to use appropriate personal protective equipment when working with toxic or hazardous art or collections materials. Infrequent outside work may be necessary (e.g. during conservation of art at the Olympic Sculpture Park). The employee may expect moderate exposure to solvent fumes that are being used in a controlled environment in the conservation studio.


    Computer Fax Machine Copier
    E-Mail Telephone Voice Mail
    Conservation Supplies (including pigments, solvents, and other potentially toxic materials)

    Art Supplies Monitoring Devices Microscope

    Digital SLR camera General Office Supplies UV lamps

    Sharp hand tools Limited power tools


    Sitting/Standing/Walking: Approximately 50% of time is spent seated while working at a desk. Balance of time (approximately 50%) is spent standing or moving around the work area.

    Speaking/Hearing: Clear diction and acute hearing are necessary for effective communication with donors, members, the public, and co-workers.

    Lifting/Carrying/Pushing/Pulling: The ability to lift and carry up to twenty (20) pounds is necessary for lifting works of art and other items.

    Vision: Corrected vision close to 20/20 is necessary to effectively perform conservation work and use the computer screens.

    Stooping/Kneeling: The ability to stoop and kneel is necessary for accessing files and stored supplies.

    Reaching/Handling: Good manual dexterity is necessary for computer keyboard use and for retrieving and working with appropriate paperwork, equipment, and supplies.

    Centering equity, diversity, and inclusion as an organization, and as individuals, Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is committed to ensuring that all employees and volunteers enjoy a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming workplace. SAM is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, honorably discharged veteran or military status, retaliation or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. .

    To request reasonable accommodations for the application or interview process, please contact the Human Resources Office at (206)654-3188 or

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