Study Room Assistant

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Friday, January 5, 2024


AI Feitler Center/Academic Initiatives

About the Department

As the fine arts museum of the University of Chicago, the Smart Museum of Art is a site for rigorous inquiry and exchange that encourages the examination of complex issues through the lens of art objects and artistic practice. Through strong scholarly and community collaborations and a welcoming approach to its exhibitions, collections, publications, research and teaching, and public programs, the Smart Museum plays a dynamic role in expanding artistic canons, rethinking received histories, introducing new perspectives, and engaging diverse communities—locally, nationally, and internationally. The Smart Museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2024.

Job Summary

The Smart Museum’s study room is a critical site for making the Museum’s wide-ranging collection of 16,000+ artworks accessible for teaching, learning, and research (approx. 150 class visits per year). Reporting to the Associate Director and Curator of Academic Engagement within the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry, the Study Room Assistant (SRA) has a special focus on supporting ongoing activities in the study room and collaborates with the Feitler Center’s staff and student interns, together with the Museum’s Curatorial, Registration, and Preparation teams in engaging with the collection. The SRA offers broad support to the operational and programmatic activities of the study room and partakes in ongoing projects focused on enhancing pathways to the collection.

This is an 80% FT, benefits eligible position. This position has a limited term that is scheduled to be a one-year appointment.


  • Adheres to the best standards of art handling; pulls works on paper, paintings, sculptures, scrolls, etc. in advance of class and research visits to the study room. Sets up and takes down objects for each visit. Tracks locations during art movement. Returns artwork to home locations in a timely manner.
  • Assists in evaluating object study requests, assessing whether an object can be safely brought into the study room and managing logistics for challenging works that may require 2+ people to retrieve.
  • Maintains impeccable organization and orderliness in working with objects.
  • Contributes to ongoing special projects, such as collections photography, collections inventory, database clean-up, and digital accessibility initiatives.
  • Helps maintain the overall cleanliness and organization of the Museum’s artwork storage rooms.
  • Participates in collections preservation, access, and strategic re-homing projects.
  • Facilitates occasional study room appointments and contributes to special programs with the collection.
  • Assists with scheduling and calendaring study room booking requests. Assists with record-keeping around collections use and study room activity.
  • Supports assessment and evaluation of study room experiences.
  • Aggregates and organizes existing research on objects in advance of study room sessions.
  • With a moderate level of guidance from others, supports implementation of procedures to ensure compliance with museum policies.
  • Assists with maintenance of storage areas, collection records and databases with a moderate level of guidance and direction.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include vocational training, apprenticeships or the equivalent experience in related field (not typically required to have a four-year degree).

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 2-5 years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • 1-3 years art handling experience in a museum or fine arts setting.

Preferred Competencies

  • Knowledge of best practices in the fields of art handling, preparation, registration, collections care, and security.
  • Demonstrated organizational and analytical skills.
  • Effectively navigate highly sensitive and secure spaces.
  • Strong communication skills and work collaboratively with others in a team environment.
  • Conscientious, self-motivated, resourceful, flexible, and punctual.
  • Meticulous attention to detail and safety.

Working Conditions

  • Moves art and objects of different sizes between the study room and storage within the museum.
  • This is a part-time position of approximately 30 hours per week.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter (preferred)
  • References Contact Information (3)(preferred)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Museum & Arts

Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: http://securityreport.uchicago.edu. Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.