What do Museum Technicians and Conservators do?

Restore, maintain, or prepare objects in museum collections for storage, research, or exhibit. May work with specimens such as fossils, skeletal parts, or botanicals; or artifacts, textiles, or art. May identify and record objects or install and arrange them in exhibits. Includes book or document conservators.

  • Clean objects, such as paper, textiles, wood, metal, glass, rock, pottery, and furniture, using cleansers, solvents, soap solutions, and polishes.
  • Determine whether objects need repair and choose the safest and most effective method of repair.
  • Install, arrange, assemble, and prepare artifacts for exhibition, ensuring the artifacts' safety, reporting their status and condition, and identifying and correcting any problems with the set-up.
  • Direct and supervise curatorial, technical, and student staff in the handling, mounting, care, and storage of art objects.
  • Perform tests and examinations to establish storage and conservation requirements, policies, and procedures.
  • Prepare artifacts for storage and shipping.
  • Photograph objects for documentation.
  • Coordinate exhibit installations, assisting with design, constructing displays, dioramas, display cases, and models, and ensuring the availability of necessary materials.
  • Notify superior when restoration of artifacts requires outside experts.
  • Lead tours and teach educational courses to students and the general public.
  • Supervise and work with volunteers.
  • Specialize in particular materials or types of object, such as documents and books, paintings, decorative arts, textiles, metals, or architectural materials.
  • Repair, restore and reassemble artifacts, designing and fabricating missing or broken parts, to restore them to their original appearance and prevent deterioration.
  • Prepare reports on the operation of conservation laboratories, documenting the condition of artifacts, treatment options, and the methods of preservation and repair used.
  • Recommend preservation procedures, such as control of temperature and humidity, to curatorial and building staff.
  • Study object documentation or conduct standard chemical and physical tests to ascertain the object's age, composition, original appearance, need for treatment or restoration, and appropriate preservation method.
  • Classify and assign registration numbers to artifacts, and supervise inventory control.
  • Estimate cost of restoration work.
  • Plan and conduct research to develop and improve methods of restoring and preserving specimens.
  • Preserve or direct preservation of objects, using plaster, resin, sealants, hardeners, and shellac.
  • Deliver artwork on courier trips.
  • Perform on-site field work which may involve interviewing people, inspecting and identifying artifacts, note-taking, viewing sites and collections, and repainting exhibition spaces.
  • Construct skeletal mounts of fossils, replicas of archaeological artifacts, or duplicate specimens, using a variety of materials and hand tools.
  • Build, repair, and install wooden steps, scaffolds, and walkways to gain access to or permit improved view of exhibited equipment.
  • Cut and weld metal sections in reconstruction or renovation of exterior structural sections and accessories of exhibits.

Related Jobs (Museum Technicians and Conservators)

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Necessary Skills

  • Writing
  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Speaking
  • Monitoring
  • Critical Thinking

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