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Assistant Archivist [closed for applications]

Are you interested in working in a small but busy specialist archive repository? Does acquiring new collections appeal to you? Do you relish the challenge of appraising and cataloguing discreet archive collections? Are you able to think creatively about the collections in your care and committed to audience reach and user satisfaction? Do you enjoy the day-to-day practicalities involved in managing in-person and remote readers? Are you interested in British art history and culture?

The Assistant Archivist will join the Paul Mellon Centre (PMC) at a time of consolidation: formally established just over ten years ago with much of the essential groundwork laid, the archive is now a thriving repository with offers, acquisitions and reader engagement growing at a rapid pace. This position is situated within a small team of five information professionals who work closely together to embed professional best practice and deliver a high standard of service to internal and external audiences.

Who We Need

We are looking for someone who will support the Archivist, Records and Data Protection Manager to successfully manage the demands of a busy and growing repository.

You will assist with the everyday work of a small specialist archive including, in particular, reducing the cataloguing backlog and helping ensure that all archive collections held at PMC have been appraised, catalogued and are accessible to interested audiences. You will help assess offers and liaise with donors regarding the acquisition of new material. You will assist with the promotion of the archive collections, supporting the Centre’s commitment to audience reach and fulfilment. You will have specific responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Public Study Room and copying service. You will work to embed best practice across all areas with a view to securing Archive Accreditation.

This role would suit an experienced professional who embraces all aspects of core archival work, thrives on juggling competing demands but also relishes seeing projects through to completion. It requires someone who enjoys thinking creatively about the collections in their care, gains satisfaction from embedding best practice and who possesses attention to detail, enthusiasm and excellent communication skills.

Who We Are

The PMC is an educational charity that champions new ways of understanding British art history and culture. We publish, teach and carry out research, both in London at the Centre and through our online platforms. Our archives, library and lively events programme are open to researchers, students and the public. The Centre’s grants and fellowships enable institutions and individuals to pursue exhibitions, publications, events and scholarly projects. Through all areas of our work, we promote activities that enhance and expand knowledge about British art. The Centre was founded in 1970 by art collector and philanthropist Paul Mellon, and is part of Yale University and partner to the Yale Center for British Art.

The PMC holds and provides access to over forty archive collections relating to the study of British art and architectural history. Alongside its own Institutional Archive, these collections include the research papers of art historians; museum directors and curators; dealers; art critics; collectors; and other individuals working in the field of art history. Further information about the archives at the Centre is available on our website paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk/archives-and-library/archive-collections.

About the Role

Salary will be in the range of £35,000 to £40,000 per annum depending on experience.

This post is permanent and full time and the hours of work are 35 per week. Applicants will be expected to work on-site at the Paul Mellon Centre, Bedford Square, London WC1 (or remotely as circumstances demand). We are happy to talk about flexible working arrangements offered by the Centre.

Person Specification

Essential skills:

  • a postgraduate diploma or MA in Archives and Records Management
  • five years’ post-qualification professional experience working in archives
  • experience of public service activities
  • the ability to appraise, arrange and catalogue large complex archive collections in accordance with ISAD(G)
  • working knowledge of the GDPR, with particular reference to archives and record keeping
  • working knowledge of copyright law, within an archive and library environment
  • a high level of motivation, excellent organisational skills and the ability to establish priorities
  • engagement, enthusiasm and innovative thinking
  • excellent interpersonal and communication skills – including with regard to in-person events such as talks and tours
  • the ability to work flexibly and effectively as part of a team and independently
  • an interest in, and engagement with, new developments and initiatives in the field, including digital preservation concerns

Desirable skills:

  • experience of working in an academic, museum or specialist archive repository
  • experience of using Axiell CALM software
  • an enthusiasm for, or interest in, British art history

Application Process

Please apply using our web application form available via https://thepaulmelloncentre.hrpartner.io/jobs/assistant-archivist--3pzd0.

If you have any issues applying or have any queries with the web application form, please contact the HR team at [email protected].

Closing Date

The closing date for applications is 10am GMT, on Monday 29 April 2024


Interviews for the post are expected to be held week commencing Monday 13 May 2024.


Queries about the post should be addressed to the HR team at [email protected].