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Job: Costume Mount Maker


From the Chicago History Museum

Custome Mount Maker- Full-Time- Temporary

As Chicago’s oldest cultural institution, the Chicago History Museum is the proud custodian of over 23 million objects ranging from presidential artifacts to 60’s couture. Located in this world-class city at the south end of Lincoln Park, this position offers the right candidate an opportunity to share Chicago’s stories with our audiences and visitors. We invite qualified candidates to apply. This is temporary assignment position with Advance Resources Staffing Agency. 

 Performs work associated with the mounting of costumes and costume accessories primarily in preparation for exhibition and documentary and/or catalog photography. Working under the direction and guidance of conservators and in consultation with curators and the costume collection manager, the Costume Mounting Assistant prepares custom mounts for costumes by modifying/altering existing mounts such as mannequins and dress forms, through the use of padding and undergarments, to create appropriate silhouettes and shapes for each ensemble; creates other custom mounts as needed; and dresses/mounts textile/costume materials as appropriate to create an accurate end product. Coordinates with and assists collections and/or exhibitions staff (and other staff as necessary) with installation, deinstallation and maintenance of mounted objects. Coordinates with collections staff for photography.  

 

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:

  • Design, develop and fabricate custom mounts for historic and contemporary costumes, accessories, and/or textiles, including the modification/alteration of mannequins and/or dress forms, and the use of padding and undergarments/understructures to create appropriate shapes and silhouettes for each costume ensemble. 

  • Mount and dress mannequins and/or mount textiles in consultation with curator(s) and conservator(s).

  • Design and fabricate and/or source historically accurate display accessories (e.g. wigs, gloves, etc.), costume understructures, undergarments, and/or props for historic and contemporary costumes and/or textiles as needed 

  • Assist with tracking the movement of costume collection materials for exhibition, conservation, and photography, and help transport dressed mannequins/forms

  • Assist Costume Collection Manager with tracking the movement of assigned mannequins, mounts, accessories, understructures and/or props 

  • Responsible for creating and maintaining dressing sheets for each ensemble detailing mounting information, dressing/undressing instructions, condition and handling notes, and photographic documentation of dressing procedures.

  • Maintain and update the mannequin database

  • Assist with the examination of objects for condition and prepares written and photographic condition documentation

  • Assist with costume installation, deinstallation and maintenance duties for exhibitions and/or events

  • Assist with preparing/packing costumes for storage as needed

  • Maintain organization, security, and cleanliness of on-site work space and storage facilities. 

  • Photograph and document work.   

  • Contribute to and promote a positive culture at CHM by demonstrating the following values in their interactions with colleagues, external partners, and all audiences and through the products developed and services delivered

  • Create a team spirit and enhance communication within the Collections Department so that staff members will work collaboratively and in a supportive manner across departmental and functional area boundaries

 

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • BA in Fashion History, Design, Costume Studies, Conservation or related field with knowledge of costume history, both historic and contemporary, and knowledge of the materials and techniques used in conservation and mounting of costumes and textiles. 

  • At least one year of hands-on experience handling and mounting historic and contemporary costume, accessories and/or textiles in a professional situation

  • Proven ability and hands-on experience creating and/or modifying mounts for costumes and/or textiles

  • Proficiency in sewing, patternmaking and garment construction skills

  • Familiarity with museum collection management best practices for costume and textile materials

  • Familiarity with digital photography 

  • Demonstrated ability with computer skills, including Microsoft Word, Access, Excel, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and collections database systems, etc. 

  • Ability to lift and/or move up to 50 lbs. 

  • Ability to use hand tools and artist’s and craft materials

  • Strong organizational skills and interpersonal skills

  •  Ability to meet deadlines, work independently as well as on a team 

  • Good writing skills and speaking skills

 

This job description is not intended to be an express or implied contract between CHM and any employee. CHM employees are employees at will. CHM reserves the right to change or assign other duties to this position as necessary to meet changing business needs. CHM is an equal opportunity employer.