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Museum Technician or Conservator

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What Do Museum Technician or Conservator Do?

Position Description Restore, maintain, or prepare objects in museum collections for storage, research, or exhibit. May work with specimens such as fossils, skeletal parts, or botanicals; or artifacts, textiles, or art. May identify and record objects or install and arrange them in exhibits. Includes book or document conservators.

Daily Life Of a Museum Technician or Conservator

  • Perform on-site field work which may involve interviewing people, inspecting and identifying artifacts, note-taking, viewing sites and collections, and repainting exhibition spaces.
  • Estimate cost of restoration work.
  • Classify and assign registration numbers to artifacts and supervise inventory control.
  • Specialize in particular materials or types of object, such as documents and books, paintings, decorative arts, textiles, metals, or architectural materials.
  • Clean objects, such as paper, textiles, wood, metal, glass, rock, pottery, and furniture, using cleansers, solvents, soap solutions, and polishes.
  • Plan and conduct research to develop and improve methods of restoring and preserving specimens.

Qualities of a Museum Technician or Conservator

These are the skills Museum Technicians and Conservators say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

  • Conservation Technician
  • Exhibit Preparator
  • Art Preparator
  • Exhibit Technician
  • Conservator

Job Opportunities for Museum Technicians and Conservators

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 11,800 jobs in the United States for Museum Technician or Conservator. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 12.7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,500 new jobs for Museum Technician or Conservator by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,400 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Museum Technicians and Conservators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Museum Technician or Conservator are Utah, Washington, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, Rhode Island, or North Dakota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Museum Technician or Conservator Make?

The typical yearly salary for Museum Technicians and Conservators is somewhere between $25,430 and $74,840.

Salary Ranges for Museum Technicians and Conservators

Museum Technicians and Conservators who work in District of Columbia, Maryland, or Connecticut, make the highest salaries.

How much do Museum Technicians and Conservators make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $41,260
Alaska $50,660
Arizona $38,950
Arkansas $35,650
California $48,120
Colorado $42,580
Connecticut $55,340
District of Columbia $68,460
Florida $41,600
Georgia $43,390
Hawaii $39,270
Illinois $45,210
Indiana $36,250
Iowa $45,520
Kansas $36,040
Kentucky $39,410
Louisiana $24,690
Maine $40,610
Maryland $66,300
Massachusetts $56,100
Michigan $36,030
Minnesota $42,750
Missouri $41,350
Nebraska $34,240
Nevada $36,240
New Jersey $57,510
New Mexico $38,690
New York $56,040
North Carolina $40,850
Ohio $41,940
Oklahoma $34,410
Oregon $44,350
Pennsylvania $42,700
South Carolina $32,820
South Dakota $31,550
Tennessee $43,940
Texas $44,090
Virginia $45,100
Washington $46,300
Wisconsin $37,480
Wyoming $39,280

Tools & Technologies Used by Museum Technicians and Conservators

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Museum Technicians and Conservators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro
  • Gallery Systems EmbARK
  • PastPerfect Software PastPerfect
  • Questor Systems ARGUS

Becoming a Museum Technician or Conservator

Are there Museum Technicians and Conservators education requirements?

Museum Technician or Conservator Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Museum Technician or Conservator Work Experience

Where Museum Technicians and Conservators Work

Museum Technician or Conservator Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Museum Technicians and Conservators work:

Museum Technician or Conservator Industries

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being a Museum Technician or Conservator may also be interested in:

Career changers with experience as a Museum Technician or Conservator sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: Jorge Royan via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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