Thinking about becoming a Conservator?
Conservation is a fascinating and rewarding career, combining elements of both the sciences and the arts. Conservators need well-developed fine motor skills, an eye for detail, an instinct for the big picture, creative problem-solving skills and patience.
Some conservators spend most of their time at the bench, repairing and cleaning works of art or other cultural artefacts. Others manage preventive conservation programs or work on exhibitions.
Chemistry is a pre-requisite and you will also study conservation ethics, materials technology and deterioration, collection management principles, environmental issues and hands-on conservation skills.
A professional qualification is offered by the University of Melbourne as a two-year Masters by Coursework. Students are able to specialise in paintings, objects or paper conservation. Contact the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation for further information.
The University of Canberra offers the Bachelor of Arts (Culture and Heritage) which is an undergraduate program. The course structure involves extended training sessions within heritage institutions, under the guidance of professional conservators. The University of Canberra also offers the Graduate Certificate in Heritage Materials Conservation providing an opportunity to gain practical skills and explore their supporting theory to those who do not wish or are unable to commit to a Masters degree
If you are interested in formal study, it can be a good idea to volunteer in a conservation lab or to gain some work experience before enrolling in a conservation course. People enter conservation after studying art history, archaeology, fine arts, chemistry, physics or various trades.
Conservators work closely with roles such as conservation technician, registrar, collection manager, curator and facilities manager.
The Australian National University course Physical Conservation of Historic Heritage Places addresses historic heritage places and objects and the physical conservation problems faced by heritage practitioners.
The University of Sydney also provides for those interested in built heritage and the techniques, approaches and methodologies required to work as a heritage consultant, in their Heritage Conservation as Masters, Diploma or Graduate Certificate.
If you are looking for industry recognition of your training and skills, please apply for AICCM Professional Membership.