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Thread: Preparator Job Description -- an on going battle

  1. #1
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    Preparator Job Description -- an on going battle

    I know this conversation has been brought up before, but I found this very interesting. Here is the preparator job description as posted in MPMA's 2011 salary survey.

    Technician/Preparator: Installation of exhibits under supervision of curatorial personnel; movement of exhibition materials; preparation of materials for shipping Typical qualifications: Manual skills related to duties.

    This is a good example of a vague interpretation but also illustrates an institutional disconnect in understanding the value of the skills and knowledge required to do this work properly. Also, it really does exemplify the necessity for a site like Paccin, not only as a vessel for professionalism but also a tremendous resource for those who's job is laden with ambiguity and under-appreciation.
    If interested in reading MPMA's other job descriptions: http://www.mpma.net/MPMAsSalarySurvey.htm , click on instructions for taking the survey.

  2. #2
    PACCIN Advisory Committee Member T. Ashley McGrew's Avatar
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    I feel real sorry for any institution that hires someone who reflects the job description that you just shared. Of course I suppose anyone with so little insight into the museum profession deserves what they get - Preparators as manual labor, Registrars as just clerical help etc....
    I haven't worked for any museums like that but I know people who have. Their damage rates reflected in their approach too.

    What is kind of funny though, is that when I worked for a University Museum in the Mountain Plains region the duties were insanely varied and extremely demanding - involving literally all aspects of object care. As a result I have been well prepared for other jobs both in museums and in the commercial sector. I guess it all just depends on the institution and the individuals there who make the decisions.
    T. Ashley McGrew
    PACCIN Advisory Committee member

  3. #3
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    I have worked in a museum where administrators thought it would save money if they used volunteers and docents to install shows. Needless to say that my pay as a preparator was pitiful and moral throughout the museum was extremely low. I now work at a museum that believes in staff development and recognizes the importance of working with a professional staff. It is a small institution and consequently I need to know many different skills but when you are appreciated you will rise to the task.

  4. #4
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    "This is a good example of a vague interpretation but also illustrates an institutional disconnect in understanding the value of the skills and knowledge required to do this work properly."

    Oh, my...bells and whistles are going off here along with a huge DITTO THAT and SO TRUE signs flashing!...especially the disconnect part. I've seen it many, many times. Sad.
    =P=

  5. #5
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    So, Stew...
    It's been nearly two years since you posted your "I get respect" entry. Howzit now?
    =P=

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