Employment Opportunities – Lead Preparator


Founded in 1964 and located along the beautiful downtown waterfront of St. Petersburg, Florida, the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg (MFA) is a collecting museum annually serving more than 120,000 residents and visitors to the Tampa Bay area. The MFA is proud to present the largest comprehensive art collection in the state of Florida, spanning 5,000 years of civilization in about 20,000 objects from antiquity to today. Highlights include masterpieces from Vigée Lebrun, Corot, Monet, Morisot, Lafarge, Inness, Tiffany, O’Keeffe, De Kooning, Rauschenberg, Wiley, and others; a sculpture garden; important holdings of ancient, African, and Mesoamerican art; and one of the largest and most respected photography collections in the Southeastern United States.

In a growing city with multiple museums and a thriving cultural life, the MFA provides the broad context into which all the other local arts organizations fit. The MFA presents a wide variety of art experiences across the spectrum of time and culture, from expansive blockbusters to provocative contemporary exhibitions to more focused shows illuminating the depth and beauty of the museum’s growing collection. With 17,000 square feet in collections galleries—which were recently renovated and reinstalled—and 7700 square feet for temporary exhibitions, the MFA brings art to life as no other museum in the Tampa Bay area can. In addition to its robust exhibition program, the MFA engages its community through exciting public programs and events and serves our students through youth programs and a partnership with the Pinellas County School System. About 6,000 public school students attend the MFA each year as part of their 6th-grade social studies curriculum.


Position: Lead Preparator
Reports to: Registrar
Department: Curatorial
Job Code: Full-time/On-site
FLSA Status: Non-Exempt


The Lead Preparator is a vital member of the Museum of Fine Arts’ (MFA) Curatorial Department. This position is responsible for the in-house design, fabrication, and installation of collection and loan objects at the MFA. They also oversees the lighting of the galleries, the preparation of these spaces for installation and de-installation, and work with the museum’s Registrar, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions and other members of the Curatorial department to ensure the safe handling, transportation and installation of artwork at the MFA.


  •  MFA office hours are 9 am-5:30 pm Monday- Friday
  • Weekend, outside and evening work as needed
  •  All work hours are fulfilled onsite


ESSENTIal duties and responsibilities

• Installs and de-installs Collection and loan objects

• Helps safely house Collection and loan objects, working with the MFA Registrar, Preparator and other members of the Curatorial department

• Works with the Preparator to assist with packing and unpacking collection and loan objects and preparing artworks for installation and de-installation

• Maintains accurate member and volunteer records and reports, while fostering data integrity and database quality

• Works with MFA Curatorial staff to design exhibitions; is responsible for fabrication, matting, framing, and mount work needed for the safe display of Collection and loan objects (including both traveling and in-house organized projects)

• Works with and maintains relationships with outside vendors that support the production of exhibitions at the Museum

• Works with the Preparator and Registrar on maintaining in-house supplies and equipment that support the production of exhibitions at the Museum

• Performs other duties as required


qualifications, skills and abilities required

Education/ Experience Required

•  Technical degree with Bachelor’s degree preferred

• A minimum of 5 years’ or more experience working in art museums or galleries, with specific art museum training preferred

• Candidates must have a valid FL driver’s license

Skills and Abilities Required

• Experience working with a wide variety of objects in different media, including their safe preparation, handling, installation and packing/shipping

• Demonstrated workshop and/or construction experience, including safe use of and familiarity with fabrication equipment, including but not limited to table saws, band saws, routers and sanders

• Has a clear understanding of best practices in art museums, especially in the context of an American Alliance of Museums-accredited institution

• Able to work under pressure and meet deadlines while maintaining a positive attitude and providing exemplary customer service

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to effectively communicate with internal and external customers

• Able to work independently and carry out assignments to completion within parameters of instructions given, prescribed routines and standard accepted practices

• Lift certification and/or OSHA certification preferred but not required

• Demonstrated design experience with programs such as SketchUP, AutoCAD, and/or Rhino

Physical Requirements

• Able to stand and walk for extended periods of time (up to 8 hours) on a daily basis

• Able to bend, crouch, stoop, reach, push and hang museum exhibits frequently

• Able to safely and successfully grasp, handle, and lift art pieces frequently

• Able to lift and carry up to 50 lbs. on a daily basis

• Able to safely and successfully ascend or descend ladders and utilize lifts or other necessary equipment for the installation of exhibitions

• Able to safely and successfully work within a workshop setting to design, fabricate and build exhibition furniture

• Must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19

• Able to safely and successfully perform the essential job functions consistent with ADA, FMLA and other federal, state, and local standards, including meeting qualitative and/or quantitative productivity standards

• Able to maintain regular, punctual attendance consistent with ADA, FMLA and other federal, state, and local standards

This job description indicates in general terms, the type and level of work performed, as well as the typical responsibilities of this position. Management reserves the right to modify, change, add or rescind the work assignments of different positions and to make reasonable accommodations so that qualified employees can perform the essential functions of the job. Nothing in this position description changes the at-will employment relationship between Museum of Fine Arts and its employees.

To Apply

Not sure you meet 100% of our qualifications? Research shows that men apply for jobs when they meet an average of 60% of the criteria. Yet, women and other people who are systematically marginalized tend to only apply if they meet every requirement. If you believe that you could excel in this role, we encourage you to apply.

We are dedicated to considering a broad array of candidates, including those with diverse workplace experiences and backgrounds. Whether you’re new to arts and culture administration, returning to work after a gap in employment, simply looking to transition, or take the next step in your career path, we will be glad to have you on our radar. Please use your cover letter to tell us about your interest in the arts and culture space and what you hope to bring to this role.

Please address resume, letter of interest, and salary requirements to the Human Resources Department at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, and email to: HR@MFAstpete.org with Lead Preparator in the subject line or mail to the following address:

Human Resources
Museum of Fine Arts
255 Beach Drive N.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-3498

No phone calls please.

To download the Lead Preparator PDF document please click here.

View all job opportunities at the Museum Of Fine Arts.