Preservation/Conservation Graduate Assistantship

The Preservation/Conservation Assistantship is a work-study position created in September 2014. The purpose of this position is to better conserve the collection at the W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections while offering a student from the Queen’s University Art Conservation Graduate Program the opportunity to better their professional conservation skills.

The duties associated with this role involve preservation of the collection through environmental monitoring, pest management, consulting on safe exhibition, writing condition reports, assisting with digitization, and identifying and mitigating any risks to library material. The Preservation/Conservation Assistant is also required to assess individual objects in regards to their physical and chemical stability, and recommend and carry out conservation treatment as needed. She/he will work on a large conservation project sometimes with the help of an undergraduate student assistant. Additionally, the Preservation/Conservation assistant will maintain the cleanliness, organization and supplies of the conservation work lab.

Duration and Remuneration

The Preservation/Conservation Assistant will report to the Head of W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections and the Library Services Co-ordinator. She/he will be required to work an average of 10 hours per week however, it is well understood that this position is held by a student and therefore, some shifts may need to be rearranged or cancelled to accommodate academic requirements. Regular hours are to be decided and agreed upon at the beginning of each term.


The Preservation/Conservation Graduate Assistant is selected by competition. Only second-year students in Queen’s University Master of Art Conservation program are eligible to apply. Additionally, you must be eligible for and enrolled in the University's Work Study Program. To complete the Work Study Program application, see the Student Awards - Work Study Program page.

Application Process

A call for applications will be sent out mid-March.

Candidates must submit a résumé and statement (max 1,000 words) outlining the skills or talents the candidate would bring to the department. The statement should also indicate how this position will help forward the candidate’s professional aspirations. Contact information for one or two references who can speak to the candidate’s academic and career aspirations should also be submitted. Please send all materials to

Past Preservation/Conservation Graduate Assistants

Alexandra (Ally) Zmijowskyj 2018-2019

Ally created and carried out a procedure for the rehousing of printed ephemera from the Robertson Davies Collection. During her assistantship she worked on unframing, treating and rehousing playbills and tinsel prints from this collection. Additionally, Ally completed a full rebinding of a 19th century family bible that was donated to our collection at the beginning of 2019. This treatment included repairing pages, reinforcing signatures, sewing, consolidating leather and creating a new support for the spine with Japanese paper. Ally completed the Master of Art Conservation Program specializing in paper conservation in 2019.

Sarah Duffy 2017-2018

Sarah worked largely on collection maintenance; repairing, stabilizing and rehousing material as needed. This involved, but was not limited to, removing  labels, repairing tears and flattening maps. She also completed a condition review and rehousing plan for the Schulich Historical Financial Documents Collection. Sarah also continued working on the Posters and Broadsides collection; reorganizing and rehousing the items. Focusing on paper conservation, she completed the Master of Art Conservation Program in 2018.

Emilie Demers 2016-2017

Emilie worked extensively with our Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection stabilizing the books and preparing material for exhibition including a 1479 letter on parchment with a large wax seal. She rehoused our medieval manuscript leaves and early printed leaves collections making them more accessible and better preserved. Additionally, she repaired, treated and completed assessments of several books in the Lorne Pierce Canadiana and rare book collections including Sir Sandford Fleming’s wheat samples book. Emilie also continued the reorganization and rehousing of our Posters & Broadsides collection. She completed the Master of Art Conservation Program with a focus on paper conservation in 2017.

Emily Cloutier 2015-2016

Emily coordinated the reorganization and rehousing of our extensive Posters & Broadsides collection. She prepared our Young Ladies’ Journal supplements for digitization by flattening and stabilizing each supplement. Additionally, she assisted in the move of a rare book collection and treated a number of other items including moldy books. She provided preservation and exhibition recommendations as well. Emily completed the Master of Art Conservation Program in 2016 with a focus on paper, photographic materials and new media conservation.

Lauren Buttle 2014-2015

As our first assistant, Lauren set up our lab and digitization space, wrote the assistant handbook, and developed templates to document conservation treatment. Additionally, she helped develop and write the Library’s Disaster Recovery Plan. Lauren treated and conserved many of our flat materials including: maps, Vanity Fair caricatures and portraits, and the Canadian Sheet Music Collection. She completed the Master of Art Conservation Program with a focus on paper conservation in 2015.

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