Become a Conservator

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.

In Australia several tertiary courses are avialable: the University of Melbourne offers a Masters program and the University of Canberra provides an undergraduate degree. People come to conservation after studying art history, archaeology, fine arts, chemistry, physics or various trades. 

Additionally, for those interested in heritage and the built environment two course are available; The University of Sydney offers Heritage Conservation as Masters, Diploma or Graduate Certificate, and the Australian National University offers the Physical Conservation of Historic Heritage Places. 

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.