Conservator (Textiles), Textile Museum of Canada



REPORTS TO: Senior Curator & Manager of Collection

POSITION TYPE: A four-month (up to 21 hours/per week) part-time contract position.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS/SKILLS: Must be physically capable of lifting up to 35 lbs.; have experience and the ability to lift and handle art objects of various shapes and sizes.

SALARY: $28/hour

We are looking for an enthusiastic, skilled, and efficient textile conservator to help manage, prepare, and care for textiles arriving for our upcoming exhibition Double Vision.

The Conservator (Textile) will support the mandate of the Textile Museum of Canada by acting as Conservator for the Double Vision exhibition project centered on three ground-breaking artists from Nunavut—Jessie Oonark (1906 – 1985) and her daughters, Janet Kigusiuq (1926 – 2005) and Victoria Mamnguqsualuk (1930 – 2016)— which shines a light on a highly distinctive art form called nivingajuliat (wall hangings) that developed out of government-sponsored craft programs in the Arctic, beginning with the sewing program in Qamani`tuaq (Baker Lake) established in the 1960s. Double Vision is curated by Candice Hopkins and presented in partnership with the Toronto Biennial of Art.

The Conservator will manage the incoming receipt of loans and is responsible for: condition reporting all loans and records in the database, making recommendations for mounting and hanging works, stabilizing, and preparing mounts for objects as required, supporting the installation of the works, ensuring proper light levels are in place and making recommendations for appropriate gallery security to ensure the safety of the artworks.

Principles Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Write condition reports for all incoming Double Vision loans, documenting packing materials and accompanying mounting hardware.
  • Maintain accurate condition records and other object documentation using the Museum’s collection management system, Mimsy.
  • Work with lenders, Project Lead(s), and Head of Installation to develop appropriate hanging mechanisms and processes for mounting objects for display.
  • Assess textile objects from the Museum’s collections proposed for display in Double Vision for treatment, mount, and display requirements.
  • Help with object installation as needed.
  • Help with setting light levels for objects on display in museum galleries.
  • Supervise objects displayed in museum galleries, including conducting cleaning and security checks, and maintaining accurate records.
  • Monitor all environmental levels (light, humidity, security) in the museum galleries; keep up-to-date records.
  • Help with object de-installation of the previous exhibition, including outgoing condition reporting of loan material and preparation for exhibition tour.

Other Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Assist in the general administration of the department, including ordering materials and equipment, general laboratory duties and other work as necessary.
  • Undertake such other duties commensurate with the level and scope of the position that may be required from time to time, as agreed with your supervisor.
  • Work to further the goals and objectives of the Museum and participate actively in the life of the institution. Act respectfully, accountably, and generously towards other staff, volunteers, and the public.

Skills and Abilities:

  • A recognized conservation qualification or equivalent work experience in textile conservation.
  • Demonstrable experience of conservation treatment and mounting of textile objects in a museum environment.
  • Up to date knowledge of textile conservation materials, techniques, and histories.
  • Ability to work independently and make decisions with minimum supervision.
  • Demonstrable experience of keeping accurate records, including documenting conservation treatments, writing condition reports and object treatment assessments.
  • Professional expertise in moving and packing textile objects.
  • Excellent organization skills, ability to work to deadlines and manage own time.
  • Good communication skills, including the ability to explain techniques and give advice on conservation matters clearly and concisely in both written and spoken forms at all levels.
  • Competent use of museum databases (Mimsy or similar).
  • Experience with Indigenous community involvement. (Inuit, First Nations, Métis)

Core Competencies:

  • Works well with others and promotes collaboration across the Museum.
  • Thinks creatively and strives to deliver the best possible results.
  • Externally connected and embraces learning, insight, and analysis.
  • Fosters a culture of inclusion and a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Additional Information:

The Conservator is a part-time, flexible contract position not to exceed 320 hours over four-months. The position requires a commitment of up to 21 hours per week and availability for weekends and occasional evenings. This exhibition and the position are supported by The Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

How to Apply:

Qualified candidates should email their cover letter and resume as a single document attachment to by the end of the day on November 16, 2021. The email subject line should read <title of position applied for> <followed by applicant’s last name>. Kindly note that we will accept no phone calls. We thank all applicants for their interest but advise that only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

The Textile Museum of Canada maintains a Board of Trustees approved Anti-Racism, Access, and Equity Policy. Respect, accountability, and a courteous manner towards other staff, volunteers, and the public are requirements for all staff. We invite all candidates who meet the eligibility criteria to apply, however in keeping with the Museum’s equity goals; we encourage applications from candidates who have lived experience of disability, BIPOC candidates, and/or 2SLGBTQIAP+ candidates. Candidates are encouraged to self-identify in their cover letters.

About the Textile Museum of Canada:

Established in 1975, the Textile Museum of Canada has established itself as a vibrant cultural place promoting community engagement through our programs and services. As the only national museum in Canada exclusively dedicated to the study and presentation of textiles from cultures around the world, we occupy a unique position among other leading cultural institutions in the country. The universality of textiles is at the heart of our work. It provides the stimulus and opportunity to engage communities around us and thousands of national and international visitors. Through our artistic and educational programs, delivered in both physical and virtual forms, we build on a long history of connecting creativity, cultures, and human histories through the materials of everyday lives.