An art handler, also sometimes called an art preparator, is a trained individual who works directly with objects in museums, art galleries and various other venues including private collectors, corporate art collections, public art collections and various other institutions. Art handlers work in coordination with registrars, collection managers, conservator-restorers, exhibition designers, and curators, among others, to ensure that objects are safely handled and cared for. Often they are responsible for packing and unpacking art, installing and deinstalling art in exhibitions, and moving art around the museum and storage spaces.
Another key role of art handlers and preparators is preparing objects for display in galleries. This may include sending objects out for conservation, framing and mounting objects, and labeling objects. Art handlers and preparators may also be responsible for working with the exhibition team to prepare the gallery spaces for the objects. They are also the individuals who physically install and deinstall the art work and artifacts in the galleries.
As a functioning part of the collection management and exhibitions team, art handlers and preparators can sometimes be responsible for photographing objects and writing condition reports. General collections care, such as monitoring environmental conditions and practicing preventive conservation in art storage spaces, are also priorities for art handlers and preparators.
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