What Does a Museum Conservator Do?
Updated: Apr 14
Museum conservators are responsible for the handling, preservation, and preventing the deterioration of museum objects such as art or artifacts. They also work to restore them to their original form.
Therefore, it is safe to say that they play an important role in preserving the glory and beauty of centuries-old artifacts and works. This way, they make them look as beautiful as now as they did back when they were made.
The job of a museum conservator is to preserve the art and as close to its original condition as possible.
However, their work is often categorized by the area they hold expertise in. Some might work to preserve and prepare a collection of documents and books, while others might restore and preserve valuable paintings.
For conservators who handle the objects in museums of natural science, a big part of their job is to create and develop accurate skeletal mounts for fossils and life-sized replicas of specimens.
90% of the part of the job is dedicated to what is called preventative conservation.
They work with controlling the light the temperature and humidity in the galleries so that they can keep these objects around for a long time even when they have controlled environments.
Things still get dusty. And the dust can have all sorts of acids and dirt, require a careful cleaning every week. Besides, there is a need to protect the collection from dust and dirt in the first place.
It requires a lot of education and training, whether it's painting or printmaking, or learning sculpture.
For example, even a person from a fine arts background needs to undergo some sort of training in chemistry.
The artwork is analyzed so that they can know how things are made chemically; how they aged and then they have to design treatment strategies that are based on this chemical analysis.