Director of Preservation and Planning | Marfa, TX

Posted By: Brittany Petrilli Classified Job Listing,
The Chinati Foundation 

Job Title: Director of Preservation and Planning 

Department: Preservation and Planning 

Reports to: Director of the museum 



The Director of Preservation and Planning ensures the cultural integrity of the built environment and the land at Chinati relative to Donald Judd’s work and vision. Judd realized some of his most significant architectural projects at Chinati; he also established a conservation ethos. The Director of Preservation and Planning supervises the Facilities Manager and crew in the daily and seasonal maintenance of the museum. In 2017, Chinati embarked on an ambitious master plan to address growing institutional needs, increased visitorship, and land conservation, as well as repairs, upgrades, and accessibility. The Director of Preservation and Planning will assess and guide Chinati in the process of managing these projects and others to sensitively maintain and improve the property. The Director of Preservation and Planning is part of a leadership team that works closely with the Director and the Board to identify and ensure the distinctive character and clarity of Chinati. The Director of Preservation and Planning reports to the Director and is considered an essential employee, i.e. 24-hours on-call with the ability to be on site during external emergencies, such as weather events.  


The ideal candidate is motivated to design, implement, and communicate the goals of preservation within a unique museum environment, in which art, architecture, and the land are inextricably linked. They are skilled at planning, managing, and executing complex projects, involving institutional colleagues, outside consultants and contractors, municipal partners and external overseers. They are flexible, hands-on problem-solvers with excellent communication skills and a certain affinity for remote environments.  



  • Leads a preservation program to sustain the existing forms, integrity, materiality, landscape, and the land at Chinati as established by Donald Judd  
  • Manages the facilities department by supervising and working closely with the Facilities Manager and grounds crew (currently three people in all): ensures day-to-day operations and maintenance, sets department priorities, develops and maintains department budget 
  • Plans and manages all buildings and grounds initiatives, including guiding the schematic and design development; managing construction documents, cost estimates, bidding, negotiating, and construction administration provided by professionals; identifying and retaining outside contractors with the Director on a case-by-case basis  
  • Understands ADA Standards for Accessible Design and Building Codes to ensure that these are implemented for environmental safety and accessibility 
  • Understands and learns about new practices to protect the land, to bring it to an even healthier state, and prepare against the damaging impact of climate change in the context of Chinati’s mission 
  • Manages and understands issues surrounding view sheds that are an essential part of experiencing the art at Chinati by monitoring adjacencies of private properties and real estate offerings and developing potential partnerships with land trusts and conservancies 
  • Maintains active communication with all departments, directing or assisting with varying types of special projects (including special exhibitions and programs) or improvement programs for buildings, grounds, collections, and visitor experience  
  • With senior staff and board, sets goals and priorities that support the Master Plan and align with Chinati’s vision, ethos, and history 
  • Serves as the staff liaison for the Board committee on facilities, viewsheds, and adjacencies 


Skills and qualifications:  

  • Advanced degree in historic preservation and planning, architecture, engineering, land conservation or related discipline, or equivalent work experience required. Advanced degree preferred 
  • Minimum of five (5) years of progressive responsibility and experience managing facilities complex and/or leading design and construction of capital construction and/or major renovation projects  
  • Sensitive to a museum environment, in which art, architecture, and land are inextricably linked 
  • Experienced liaison with a wide range of professionals, including artists, architects, structural engineers, land preservationists, landscape architects, civil engineers, conservators, and municipal partners 
  • Ability to plan, execute, monitor, and report on budgets, including hard and soft costs 
  • Ability to coordinate and manage outside contracts, bid documents, and associated deadlines with vendors and subcontractors  
  • Ability to read architectural and construction plans 
  • Strong organizational, interpersonal, finance, communication, and planning skills  
  • An effective and motivating manager of facilities staff and grounds crew  
  • Must have excellent written and verbal communication skills  
  • Strong ability with MS Office tools – Word, Excel, and Outlook. Basic drafting skills, proficiency with AUTO CAD software and Adobe Creative Suite 
  • Ability to be 24-hours on call and take charge in the event of an emergency 
  • Must have a valid driver’s license; some travel is required  
  • Carpentry, electrical, and construction skills, a plus  
  • Ability to communicate in Spanish (verbal and written) at a basic level. Candidates without competency in Spanish will be considered, but may be asked to acquire language proficiency on the job. 


This is a full-time position based in Marfa, TX. The Chinati Foundation provides a comprehensive benefits package. Salary is regularly assessed to ensure we remain competitive.  You are paid within a salary range of $65,000 to $75,000 that commensurate with experience, range of managerial responsibilities, size of the museum, and geographic location. 

To apply: 

Submit a cover letter and resume via email (subject: DIRECTOR OF PRESERVATION AND PLANNING) to 

EOE statement: 

The Chinati Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, national origin, ethnic origin, citizenship status, disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law in its employment policies. In addition, Chinati will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. 


The Chinati Foundation is a museum created by the American artist Donald Judd in far West Texas. At Chinati, large-scale works of art by 13 artists are permanently sited in relation to architecture and the land. The museum complex of 340 acres and 34 building is located primarily on a former military base surrounded by desert grasslands, with several additional sites in the historic town of Marfa. The stewardship of Judd’s vision and supporting the visitor experience are paramount. Applicants should consider the remote location and unique culture of an art town in a border community in the high Chihuahuan desert. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.