Art Conservators – 3 Things to Look For in a Qualified Art Conservator


Art conservators, in essence, preserve the past for future generations. When you’re dealing with pieces that may be hundreds or thousands of years old, it’s important that the expert is skilled and knowledgeable.

To that end, following are three things to look for in a qualified art conservator. For, you literally can’t replace the history lost when a piece of art (jewelry, document, etc.) is mishandled.

Art Conservator Education Requirements: To become an art conservator, you need a four-year degree in a discipline like science, fine arts, anthropology, textile design, etc.

Beyond the degree requirements, art conservators are expected to have general knowledge of museum practices and operations. Hence, they usually intern, consult with and/or apprentice at a museum either while they’re in school or after.

Many reputable art conservators go on to complete advanced degrees in such disciplines as anthropology, art history, museum science, etc.

Art Conservator Experience: Before you entrust your valuables to an art conservator, one of the most critical areas to assess is the depth and breadth of their experience. Usually, art conservators begin to gain experience while in school, interning at museums, for example.

Beyond this, they go on to work for private and governmental bodies, eg, universities, art galleries, historical societies, etc.

A note about experience: While number of years in the discipline is certainly important, less experienced (in years) art conservators can be just as knowledgeable. To assess this, you want to look for continuity and progression in their career, in addition to number of years.

Most art conservators have a passion for their work. It is usually a passion that has burned for many years. You will be able to assess this by how well they know their particular niche, which brings us to our next thing to look for . . .

Art Conservator Niche Experience: Art conservators are usually niche experts, eg, they specialize in one area of conservation. There are a wide variety of niche, ie, textiles, photographs, paper, metals.

When you’re looking for an art conservator, take care to select one who specializes in preserving your specific type of collection.

Art Conservator Passion: The Undocumented Trait That Tells the Story

As stated to above, art conservators have a passion for their work. This is perhaps the number one trait that doesn’t come with documentation, but tells the true story of the real value.

Passionate art conservators tend to take a methodical approach to their work. They enjoy caring for, preserving, researching and unraveling the mysteries that time has left behind. Whether it’s a 2,000-year-old piece of pottery or 10,000-year-old mummied remains, a passionate conservator will take the ultimate care in preserving, caring for and evaluating it.

Source by Judith A. Tartt