Conservators are responsible for maintaining the long-term preservation of material culture. They do this by analyzing and assessing the condition of the material makeup of cultural property, planning collections care strategies, and carrying out conservation research, treatments, and programs. Conservators work in a variety of environments, which include museums, regional facilities, heritage institutions, libraries, universities, archives, laboratories, government agencies, and private conservation enterprises.
Conservators are generally required to have graduate degrees in conservation plus one or two years of postgraduate internship training. For an entry-level assistant conservator position, the recommended course of study is a master’s program in a specialized area of conservation (such as paintings or works on paper) from a recognized graduate conservation training program. Students interested in pursuing a career in conservation are advised to undertake a pre-program internship prior to embarking on a graduate level program in conservation.
More information on conservation training is available through the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC). Please see the AIC's website for a comprehensive overview of career options in conservation and information on training programs and related resources.