Collections Assistant, Museums
Grade 4: - £21,630 to £23,144 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 05-Sep-2022, 6:59:00 AM
When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.
The Department and role purpose
In January 1833 Bishop William van Mildert donated 160 volumes to found the University Library, located on Palace Green and in the same year Durham’s first university museum opened to the public. Today the University Library and Collections offers spaces, collections, expertise and services supporting education, research, the wider student experience and cultural and educational outreach. Collections and services operate across a wide estate of libraries, archives, museums, galleries and exhibition spaces, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Palace Green. Our nationally and internationally recognised collections span early books, archives and manuscripts, museum objects and art, print and electronic materials and include a repository of digitised materials, research outputs and research data. Our users encompass anyone engaging with our collections, services and facilities in person or remotely, this includes university staff, researchers from around the globe, students in higher education from Durham and other universities, school pupils and teachers, Durham’s local residents and tourists.
We are an ambitious and developing team with a focus on providing the best experience for our students, researchers and the wider community. We are valued partners working with students, professional services and academics across the University, and professionals and organisations regionally, nationally and internationally.
The University Library and Collections is made up of six sections: Collections; Customer Services; Education, Learning and Engagement; Research and Systems; Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions; and Finance and Administration. Staff work flexibly between the sections, enabled by seven cross-cutting groups, Collections, Education, Engagement, User Experience, Operations, Research, Staff Development and a Programme and Project Steering Group.
There are Collections Assistants roles working with ULC unique and distinctive collections within both the Collections team at Palace Green Library and the Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions team. They are each based within a particular collections area, with specialist duties, skills and knowledge relating to those collections, but when required will work together as a team on larger collections projects, such as relocations or audits
The Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions team, under the leadership of the Head of Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions, is responsible for world-class museum and art collections, supporting their care, curation, and discovery, as well as facilitating public and research access to those collections. Our spaces include the Oriental Museum, Palace Green Library (including the Museum of Archaeology) and Durham Castle Museum. We work with pre-school children, primary and secondary schools, undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers and the wider community, both within our venues and through our loans and outreach programmes, as well as increasingly through digital engagement.
The Archives and Special Collections at Palace Green Library comprise exceptionally rich and varied material, dating from early medieval to modern, and including manuscripts, archives, rare and open access books, maps, prints, photographs, born-digital and digitised material and some objects.
The Collections Assistant (Museums) post supports access to these important research collections, by
- Undertaking the safe movement of objects required for research, digitisation, teaching and engagement, ensuring good locations management
- Packing and arranging transportation of loans (working with curators, conservators and technical staff)
- Assisting researchers, students and volunteers engaging with collections, including provision of guidance on the safe and appropriate handling of a diverse range of object types
- Supporting the installation and de-installation of displays and exhibitions (including gallery rotations)
- Providing security oversight of research centre
- Undertaking basic level cataloguing of new acquisitions and upgrading of existing catalogue records (working with relevant specialist curators) and assisting colleagues in general collections management work
- Taking an active role in supporting research, teaching and engagement activities undertaken by the MGE and Learning & Engagement team members
- Participating in short-term working groups and project work
- Provide a responsive and proactive support service for stakeholders.
- Focus on checking stakeholder requirements to ensure the delivery of excellence with the frontline stakeholder experience
- Respond to service users answering and recording standard queries and bookings for activities and/or events.
- Contribute to the planning of team activities, work and deadlines to ensure the smooth running and timeliness of service.
- Solve day-to-day routine problems and source background information within the role.
- Record data and information accurately and provide reports as required to team members and more experienced staff, in particular in relation to pest- and environmental monitoring.
- Operate a booking and enquiry service and process requests finding solutions or escalating queries where necessary.
- Maintaining a flexible approach to accommodate the needs of team members and/or service users.
- Assist team members to organise, plan and prepare for events, meetings and activities.
- Liaise with internal and external users of collections suppliers, contractors and professional specialists to pass on information.
- Apply professional and regulatory procedures and processes and use of systems
- Liaise and collaborate with staff in other areas of the organisation to ensure a seamless, smooth and efficient service.
- Resolve queries and requests for information and advice and escalate more specialist and complex queries or issues to more experienced team members.
- Work with team members to ensure the timeliness and relevance of services.
- Apply recognised professional, and organisational service level standards to enhance collections care, collections security and the stakeholder experience.
- Provide guidance to service users relating to the use of and access to collections, exhibitions, resources and equipment.
- Liaise with internal and external suppliers and specialists with the organisation, planning and delivery of services, activities and events.
- Work with team members and others across the organisation to prepare for the delivery of teaching, research support, loans, exhibitions, activities and events
- Record, collate, analyse, store and report data and information on the level and uptake of research, rand other collections-related services (both on site and remote) and quality of experience.
- Compile, record, store and archive data and information (including catalogue records) to ensure the accuracy and safety of information.
- Any other reasonable duties.
Specific role requirements
The role is based at the Oriental Museum, but working at other University sites may also be required.
There may be a requirement for the post holder to work evenings, weekends and bank holidays, as business demands.
At Durham we recognise that our staff and students are our greatest asset and we want to support the health and wellbeing of all. Hybrid working supports this ethos and provides many benefits to our colleagues, including empowering people, where their role allows, to work in a manner which is more suitable for them, whilst encouraging our commitment to environmental sustainability.
Depending on the needs of the business and the job role, Durham University is piloting hybrid working for all Professional Services colleagues in the academic year 2021/2022, which may include the opportunity to work both on and off campus and to flex working hours. If appointed to the post, your line-manager will discuss the specific arrangements with you. Any hybrid arrangements are non-contractual and may change within the pilot and when the pilot ends.
Reward and Benefits
To support the delivery of the University's People Strategy to attract, retain and reward the very best, we offer a fantastic range of rewards and benefits to our staff, including:
- 27 days annual leave, plus 4 customary days and 8 bank holidays (pro-rata for part time) and the option to purchase additional leave;
- Automatic enrolment into a pension scheme;
- Corporate and local discounts;
- Wellbeing resources and discounted health benefits;
- Health discounts on sports and activities at Maiden Castle Health and Activity Centre;
- Reward and Recognition Schemes;
- Personal and career development;
- And SO much more, with further information available here
Recruiting to this post
In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification. In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.
Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.
Please note early applications are advised as the vacancy may close early due to the number of applications received.
How to apply
We prefer to receive applications online.
Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.
Information if you have a disability
The University welcomes applications from disabled people. We are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, adjustments will be made to support people within their role.
If you are unable to complete your application via our recruitment system, please get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you are required to submit
- A CV;
- A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out in the essential and desirable criteria;
- Completion a Word document, with examples of how you satisfy the essential criteria within the person specification of the job description. Please ensure you give detailed examples of how you meet these criteria.
Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.
For further information regarding this post, please contact; Judy Burg, Head of Collections: Judy.Burg@durham.ac.uk
Contact information for technical difficulties when submitting your application
If you encounter technical difficulties when using the online application form, we prefer you send enquiries by email. Please send your name along with a brief description of the problem you’re experiencing to email@example.com
We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.
At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work. We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
As a University we foster a collegiate community of extraordinary people aligned to the University’s values. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do. At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive, and in doing so, recruit the world’s best candidates from all backgrounds and identities. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.
Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
- Educated to degree level or equivalent experience.
- A high level of accuracy and attention to detail
- Evidence of personal development to maintain skills.
- Experience of working on the front line with service delivery, and the ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines without compromising on quality.
- Experience of working as part of a team in a customer focussed service to ensure the delivery of high quality services.
- Ability to manage own time effectively to assess priorities and meet deadlines.
- Experience of providing advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues.
- Ability to solve problems as part of a team and resolve straightforward issues.
- Ability to lift and carry items and boxes up to 25kg (within HSE guidelines)
- An demonstrable interest in museum collections.
- Relevant experience in a similar role / environment.
Job Family: Community, Participation and Engagement Services
OUR CHARACTERISTICS: We are a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting.
OUR VALUES: We are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.
Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.
The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.
Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.
It is expected that all staff within the University:
- Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
- Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
- Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.
Family key attributes
Roles in this family provide an excellent stakeholder experience for our diverse and supportive community.
Overall family purpose
- Provide excellent student support services, development and extra-curricular activities.
- Align and deliver programmes and activities to meet operational and strategic objectives to enhance the stakeholder experience.
- Respond to stakeholders at the point of service delivery, either in situ or remotely.
- Facilitate the development of excellent colleague and academic engagement.
- Provide a stakeholder focussed service designed to increase widening participation and diversity.
- Promote the Durham reputation by establishing and broadening national and international community links to enhance the cultural and economic viability of the City and region.
- Enhance the Durham wider student experience by developing extra-curricular activities.
- Contribute to and enhance active, inclusive and supportive communities of stakeholders.
- Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.
- Engage with suppliers, consultants and specialist professionals to deliver programmes and activities to enhance the stakeholder experience.
- Engage and encourage outreach and participation with external professionals, schools, alumni and donors.
- Engage and network with both internal and external stakeholders to facilitate knowledge exchange and impact through local, national and international communities.
Link to key strategic plan
- An economically and environmentally sustainable approach to delivering stakeholder focussed services across the University;
- A world-class student, alumni and donor experience;
- Focussed on the needs of all users working together to deliver front-line services as part of the Wider Student Experience;
- Learn from and match best practice in the Wider Student Experience around the world;
- Opening up our world-class sporting facilities to local clubs and athletes;
- Support and facilitate activities as part of the Widening Student Experience at Durham;
- A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
- Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.
DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.