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Museum Technician or Conservator

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What Does it Take to Be a Museum Technician or Conservator?

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

  • 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.
  • Perform on-site field work which may involve interviewing people, inspecting and identifying artifacts, note-taking, viewing sites and collections, and repainting exhibition spaces.
  • Build, repair, and install wooden steps, scaffolds, and walkways to gain access to or permit improved view of exhibited equipment.
  • Recommend preservation procedures, such as control of temperature and humidity, to curatorial and building staff.
  • 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.
  • Preserve or direct preservation of objects, using plaster, resin, sealants, hardeners, and shellac.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Museum Technician or Conservator?

Below is a list of the skills most Museum Technicians and Conservators say are important on the job.

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.

  • Fine Arts Packer
  • Lace and Textiles Restorer
  • Paper Conservator
  • Conservator
  • Textile Conservator

Is There Going to be Demand for Museum Technicians and Conservators?

There were about 11,800 jobs for Museum Technician or Conservator in 2016 (in the United States). 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. There will be an estimated 1,400 positions for Museum Technician or Conservator per year.

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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.

Museum Technician or Conservator Average Salary

Museum Technicians and Conservators make between $25,430 and $74,840 a year.

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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 different U.S. states?

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

How to Become a Museum Technician or Conservator

Learn what Museum Technician or Conservator education requirements there are.

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Museum Technician or Conservator?

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Where Museum Technicians and Conservators Are Employed

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The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

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Similar Careers

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

Are you already one of the many Museum Technician or Conservator in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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