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Job ID: 182101

The University of South Dakota

Date Posted Mar. 21, 2022
Title Conservator
University The University of South Dakota
Vermillion, SD, United States
Department National Music Museum
Application Deadline Open until Filled
Position Start Date Jul. 1, 2022
  • Professional Staff
  • Fine Arts - General
    Music - General
The National Music Museum (NMM) at the University of South Dakota invites applications for a Conservator, a permanent, twelve-month position to commence July 1, 2022. The successful candidate, working in close collaboration with the NMM’s curatorial staff, will conduct technical examinations and assess the condition of musical instruments and other artifacts in the Museum’s collections. The conservator will maintain a continuous preventive conservation program, including performing and supervising environmental monitoring, integrated pest management, and object housing/rehousing. Working within a policy of minimum intervention, the Conservator will execute conservation treatments to stabilize the condition of objects and undertake restoration, when desirable, with continuous record keeping. The Conservator will teach in the Museum’s graduate program in the History of Musical Instruments when the program restarts in Fall 2023, participating in the development and execution of the curriculum and assisting with the supervision of Graduate Assistants and Interns working on Conservation projects. Conservator will work with an exhibition design team to prepare instruments for exhibit, including the supervision of professional mount making. Top priority for the NMM is the preparation and mounting of approximately 700 instruments for the reopening of permanent galleries. The Conservator will also be responsible for arranging, equipping, and maintaining a new Conservation Lab in the expanded museum complex, as well arranging a smaller satellite Lab in the Center for Preservation and Research. The Conservator may also have opportunity to publish, present, and actively participate in professional organizations, especially pertaining to advances in preservation and conservation.

Terminal or Masters degree in conservation, musical instrument restoration, or closely related field required. A minimum of seven years of conservation experience required, with at least three years post-degree preferred. Excellent communication skills required. Two years in a supervisory role desired. Teaching experience preferred. Previous working knowledge of musical instrument materials and technology is strongly preferred. Experience in using collection management software is essential.

Salary commensurate with experience.

Applications accepted online only at Submit a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae, and a digital portfolio containing three treatment reports of diverse media, including assessment, proposal, and execution of projects (with photo documentation). Questions about the online submission process can be directed to:
Monica Tiahrt, College of Fine Arts
Dean’s Office, USD
The National Music Museum is a partnership between the University of South Dakota and the 501©(3) National Music Museum, Inc. not-for-profit organization. Housed in the historic and expanded Carnegie Library building on the campus of USD, and the new Center for Preservation and Research facility, the NMM is home to more than 15,000 American, European, and non-Western instruments, from virtually all cultures and historic periods. As well as being a prominent cultural attraction for visitors from around the world, the NMM is also a leading institution for organological research and hosts national/international conferences. The NMM’s resources also include a specialized library and extensive archives, with special emphasis on the American music industry. NMM faculty/staff are leading, well-published scholars in their fields. Graduates of the Masters program in the History of Musical Instruments hold positions with other major musical instrument collections, museums, and libraries, both in the U.S.A. and abroad.

Located in southeast South Dakota, USD is the flagship liberal arts institution for the State of South Dakota (enrollment 10,000+) and is composed of the College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, Schools of Business, Education, Law, Medicine, and Graduate School.
More Information about the National Music Museum is available at:

  • USD is committed to creating a dynamic workplace focused on opportunities for all, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, gender identity or any other factor protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws.

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Contact Information

  • Monica Tiahrt Office of the Dean
    College of Fine Arts
    The University of South Dakota
    414 East Clark St
    Vermillion, SD 57069
  • 605-658-3445


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