Unit Group

5112 Conservators and curators

Conservators restore and conserve artifacts belonging to museums, galleries and owners of cultural property. Curators recommend the acquisition of museum artifacts and gallery works of art and research their artistic history. Conservators and curators are employed in museums, art galleries and universities. Conservators may be self-employed.

Example Titles

art gallery conservator
assistant curator
conservator – art objects
conservator – museum
historical artifact conservator
natural history museum curator

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Main duties

Conservators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Examine artifacts, determine their condition, suggest methods for treating them and recommend preventive conservation techniques to their owners
  • Restore and conserve paintings, photographs, sculptures, furniture, pottery and other museum and art gallery artifacts
  • Provide advice on display and storage of museum and gallery artifacts to ensure proper maintenance and preservation
  • Research new conservation and restoration techniques
  • Provide consultation to museums, art galleries or private individuals
  • Supervise conservation technicians and other museum technicians.

  • Curators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Recommend the acquisition of paintings, photographs, sculptures, documents and other museum and art gallery artifacts
  • Research origins and artistic history of artifacts
  • Develop storylines and themes and organize displays and exhibitions
  • Co-ordinate the storage of collections and the setting up of displays and exhibitions
  • Oversee the conservation, display and circulation of collections
  • Supervise curatorial assistants and other museum technicians.

  • Conservators and curators may specialize in a particular type of collection or material, such as furniture, weapons, books, paintings and musical instruments.

    Employment requirements

    • Conservators require a master's degree in art conservation
      Completion of a three-year college program in conservation technology and several years of experience in conservation work.
    • Curators require a master's or bachelor's degree in museology, art history or a field related to their specific area of work.

    Additional information

    • Progression to museum or art gallery management positions is possible with experience.

    Classified elsewhere

    • Curatorial assistants (in 5212 Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries )
    • Museum designers (in 5243 Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers )
    • Museum educators (in 1123 Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations )
    • Restaurateurs in food services (in 0631 Restaurant and food service managers )

    Classification Structure - 5