Salary and Outlook
According to the US Department of Labor, there are 13,500 people employed as museum technicians and conservators in
the United States.
The median annual salary is $45,700.
Entry level employees earn approximately $27,730 per year and senior employees earn approximately $79,590
Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.
- Deliver artwork on courier trips.
- Build, repair, and install wooden steps, scaffolds, and walkways to gain access to or permit improved view of exhibited equipment.
- Estimate cost of restoration work.
- Study object documentation or conduct standard chemical and physical tests to ascertain the object's age, composition, original appearance, need for treatment or restoration, and appropriate preservation method.
- Prepare reports on the operation of conservation laboratories, documenting the condition of artifacts, treatment options, and the methods of preservation and repair used.
- Specialize in particular materials or types of object, such as documents and books, paintings, decorative arts, textiles, metals, or architectural materials.
- Perform tests and examinations to establish storage and conservation requirements, policies, and procedures.
- Direct and supervise curatorial, technical, and student staff in the handling, mounting, care, and storage of art objects.
- Construct skeletal mounts of fossils, replicas of archaeological artifacts, or duplicate specimens, using a variety of materials and hand tools.
- Coordinate exhibit installations, assisting with design, constructing displays, dioramas, display cases, and models, and ensuring the availability of necessary materials.
- Preserve or direct preservation of objects, using plaster, resin, sealants, hardeners, and shellac.
- Plan and conduct research to develop and improve methods of restoring and preserving specimens.
- Lead tours and teach educational courses to students and the general public.
- Classify and assign registration numbers to artifacts and supervise inventory control.
- Cut and weld metal sections in reconstruction or renovation of exterior structural sections and accessories of exhibits.
- Install, arrange, assemble, and prepare artifacts for exhibition, ensuring the artifacts' safety, reporting their status and condition, and identifying and correcting any problems with the set up.
- Repair, restore, and reassemble artifacts, designing and fabricating missing or broken parts, to restore them to their original appearance and prevent deterioration.
- Clean objects, such as paper, textiles, wood, metal, glass, rock, pottery, and furniture, using cleansers, solvents, soap solutions, and polishes.
- Photograph objects for documentation.
- Determine whether objects need repair and choose the safest and most effective method of repair.
- Prepare artifacts for storage and shipping.
- Enter information about museum collections into computer databases.
- Recommend preservation procedures, such as control of temperature and humidity, to curatorial and building staff.
- Notify superior when restoration of artifacts requires outside experts.
- Supervise and work with volunteers.
- Perform on-site field work which may involve interviewing people, inspecting and identifying artifacts, note-taking, viewing sites and collections, and repainting exhibition spaces.