The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology is a research unit on the University of California, Berkeley campus that administers public programs, research, and instructional use of a collection of approximately 3.8 million archeological and ethnographic objects from around the world. Also included in the collections is supporting documentation, including an estimated 500,000 photographic, film, and sound records accumulated since the museum’s founding in 1901. The museum, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, engages in external loans for research and exhibition, develops exhibitions and public programs in the museum’s gallery, conducts conservation research and treatment, provides access to its collections for research and teaching, and cares for and maintains its vast collections.
- Based on a thorough knowledge of professional standards for the care of ethnographic, archeological, and archival museum collections, and in conjunction with other collections staff, implement systems for tracking and documenting the use of objects for research and exhibition.
- Organize and physically protect objects in proper storage environments and housing; use and teach safe methods for handling and movement of objects; work with other collections staff to implement an integrated pest management system for specified areas; regularly inspect facilities for problems and possible security breaches; coordinate with other museum staff for use of shared spaces.
- Special attention must be paid to stabilizing museum objects in storage due to the likely potential for seismic activity in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Utilize manual and digital record-keeping systems for collections inventory, documentation of movement, scheduling and tracking access to the collections, and current object location.
Access to Collections
- In collaboration with museum staff, facilitate and oversee external and internal access to the collections on campus and at off-site collections storage. Schedule and facilitate access to collections for researchers, UC Berkeley faculty and students, and other specialty groups as needed.
- Ensure that visits are integrated into museum databases; coordinate handling and movement of objects for teaching, exhibition, and research, consult with collections, registration, conservation, and other relevant staff as needed.
- Implement collections access policy and procedures in conjunction with Senior Museum Scientists.
- Ensure all visitors to collections storage areas are advised on museum security and safety policies and procedures.
- Assist with training all student workers, volunteers, and guests, such as faculty, students, and researchers, in the proper handling of objects observing to see that handling procedures are followed.
- Prepare appropriate study areas where objects can be safely examined and researchers are monitored.
- Pull objects for and assist with the installation and de-installation of exhibits in collaboration with museum colleagues.
- Pull and reshelve objects requested for loan. In consultation with Senior Museum Scientists and relevant museum staff, advise on the suitability of loan, exhibition, and object use.
- Assist with object packing and transportation as needed.
Administration and Professional Development
- Maintain and update collections management databases and hard copy files.
- Other administrative tasks may include: setting annual goals and objectives, organizing workflow to meet goals, prioritizing daily operational activities, coordinating access for and monitoring facilities work in museum spaces, crisis management, assisting with the preparation of grant proposals, attending and participating in meetings and committees and work cooperatively with other museum staff, and schedule and document research visits.
- Engage in professional development activities to increase knowledge and skills, such as attending professional meetings and conferences.
- Keep current with standard practices by reviewing literature in the field and by networking with peers at other institutions.
- As budget and priorities allow, hire and train student workers and recruit interns and volunteers to assist with the multitude of tasks involved in collections management.
- Supervise their work to ensure quality control.
- As skills increase, allow for increasing levels of responsibility. Informally evaluate performance and provide mentorship and appropriate feedback including constructive criticism.