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Collections Assistant

Posted: 17 Jun 2021 Closes: 24 Jun 2021
London Negotiable
Fixed term & Full time R-000497_1623945661

Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library that aims to challenge how we all think and feel about health. Through exhibitions, collections, live programming, digital, broadcast and publishing, we create opportunities for people to think deeply about the links between science, medicine, life and art. The ongoing inventories of our early printed books and visual material collections, for Museum Accreditation, are part of this mission.

We are looking for a Collections Assistant for a fixed term period for a key support role on our existing inventories (begun March 2019) of early printed books, ephemera and visual materials, as we work towards full Museum Accreditation. Passion for early printed books (pre-1851) and visual materials will be an advantage alongside an ability to document material in a logical and analytical way, and an interest in basic conservation and preservation work.

Where in Wellcome will I be working?

You will be working as part of an Inventory team of four based within the Collections Information team which is part of Wellcome Collection.

The Collections Information team is key to ensuring our information about the collections is kept up to date through cataloguing, documentation and engagement. As part of this, the inventory plays a vital role in re-discovering and documenting our collections through both an audit of catalogued items and an inventory of uncatalogued material.

This role will give you the chance to improve your skills with rare materials, data input and reconciliation, working in our collection stores, at your desk and, at times, in the Conservation studio. Due to current circumstances (around COVID-19) there may also be some homeworking.

What will I be doing?

As one of two Collections Assistants, you will play a key support role within the team contributing to the discoverability and accessibility of Wellcome's collections. You will work across both the early printed book and visual material inventories and be in charge of inventorying early printed books (in various languages), ephemera, prints, drawings, photographs and paintings.

You will be expected to manage your own work, but this will be overseen by both the Librarian - Printed Rare Materials, and the Collections Auditor as well as your line manager. Part of the role also involves dedicated time working with the Collections Care team undertaking tasks in Conservation, including the storage, housing, cleaning and condition checking of library materials as directed.

You will model Wellcome's principles and be able to work in a creative and co-operative environment where team members are confident to work collectively or autonomously. As part of the wider Collections Information team you will share knowledge of inventoried collections through presentations and blogs, and take part in team initiatives such as prioritisation of material for cataloguing, and documentation of materials with an inclusive and accessible approach.

Is this job for me?

This is a fixed term role until April 2022. Although the main processes of the inventory are already underway, it will require a flexible approach and a willingness to work in an agile and iterative way. We are looking for someone who can step into this role with confidence. Ideally you will have an undergraduate degree or equivalent practical experience in an area relevant to inventorying or listing collection materials.

We are looking for:

  • Experience of inventory documentation, cataloguing, listing or indexing work, preferably in a museum, library or archive setting
  • Experience of handling unique or rare cultural heritage materials
  • Proficiency in using spreadsheets to sort and manage data, including text
  • Database skills: proven experience of data entry or editing, with capacity to apply this experience to data editing of MARC21 encoded library data
  • Demonstrable ability to assimilate, understand and retain complex knowledge quickly and thoroughly.
  • Evident capacity to work accurately and with attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently, manage time effectively, prioritise workload and meet deadlines
  • Strong team-working skills
  • Pragmatic and flexible approach
  • Good research skills, and strong written and oral communication skills
  • Proactive and able to use initiative
  • An interest in a career as a library, archive, or museum professional

Please click here to see the full job description

If you are interested in the role, make sure when submitting your application / CV, you also attach your covering letter addressing your motivations and relevant skills for this role.

Salary: Circa £25,000

Closing date: Monday 28 June 2021

This is currently a fixed term opportunity until 30 April 2022

Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of everything we do

Diversity and Inclusion is a priority at Wellcome. We are committed to cultivating a fair and healthy environment, where everyone can be themselves and thrive. We are happy to discuss flexible working options for all roles. We work to ensure that our recruitment processes are as inclusive as possible to everyone. This includes making adjustments for people who have a disability or long-term condition. If you would like us to make adjustments during the application process, please contact us at

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