Major Resource Kit

Art Conservation

Art conservation is the field dedicated to preserving cultural property for future generations. Our cultural property is threatened by repeated exposure to a variety of detrimental factors, including excessive light, temperature, and humidity extremes, pests, pollutants, poor handling practices, natural disasters, and accidental damage. The survival of this heritage depends on the availability of educated and trained conservation and collection management professionals.

Conservators are skilled in the scientific treatment and preservation of cultural artifacts. They have the specialized knowledge and skills in the arts, sciences, and other fields that enable them to undertake scientific studies, stabilize the structure and reintegrate the appearance of deteriorated cultural artifacts, and establish an environment in which artifacts are best preserved.

Professional conservators gain their status through graduate degrees, and specializing in a particular material or group of objects such as paintings, art on paper, textiles, library and archival artifacts, photographs, archaeological or ethnographic materials, sculpture, furniture or decorative objects. Our country’s museums, libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions, as well as individual collectors, rely on trained conservators to document, analyze, treat, and care for their collections. This work insures that these cultural resources are given the finest possible care and are available for the education, scholarship, advancement, and enrichment of future generations.

Art Conservation as an undergraduate major sharpens a student's understanding of preventive conservation, and the examination and documentation of artifacts. Manual dexterity or hand skills are improved through both conservation and art studio courses. Science and chemistry in particular is emphasized and provides the basis for understanding deterioration and implications for treatment. The preparation offered through the department's curriculum and the in-depth internships and research training opportunities are invaluable in preparing students for conservation graduate school or for related museum and library fields. Job opportunities for Bachelor of Arts graduates in art conservation are similar to those available to other liberal arts majors. A number of Art conservation graduates continue their education in order to obtain professional jobs in the field, while others undertake advanced training to enter other museum and arts- or anthropology-related careers. Interested students may contact Dr. Vicki Cassman, 303 Old College, or call (302) 831-8092.

Sample Job Titles

Bachelor's Degree/Entry Level
Further Education/Experience Often Required

Check the US Dept. of Labor Statistics on related careers and projections.

Enhancing Employability

Some Employers of Art Conservation Majors

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