What Do Museum Technicians and Conservators Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Museum Technicians and Conservators

Museum Technicians and Conservators 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.

Salary
$49990
Becoming One
Hard
Education
Master's degree
Job Satisfaction
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Personality
Interest Match



Job Description

Job Description

Museum Technicians and Conservators 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. They also 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.

Other tasks include:

  • Repair, restore, and reassemble artifacts, designing and fabricating missing or broken parts, to restore them to their original appearance and prevent deterioration.
  • Classify and assign registration numbers to artifacts and supervise inventory control.
  • 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.
  • 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.

We asked Museum Technicians and Conservators how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

73%

How meaningful is this job

73%


73% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 73% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Museum Technicians and Conservators specialize in particular materials or types of object, such as documents and books, paintings, decorative arts, textiles, metals, or architectural materials. They repair, restore, and reassemble artifacts, designing and fabricating missing or broken parts, to restore them to their original appearance and prevent deterioration.

A typical day for a Museum Technician and Conservator will also include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Enter information about museum collections into computer databases.
  • Determine whether objects need repair and choose the safest and most effective method of repair.
  • Construct skeletal mounts of fossils, replicas of archaeological artifacts, or duplicate specimens, using a variety of materials and hand tools.

We asked some Museum Technicians and Conservators a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job? 57% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 44% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 54% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 15% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 1% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 22% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Museum Technicians and Conservators also construct skeletal mounts of fossils, replicas of archaeological artifacts, or duplicate specimens, using a variety of materials and hand tools. They may also direct and supervise curatorial, technical, and student staff in the handling, mounting, care, and storage of art objects.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Museum Technicians and Conservators Classify and assign registration numbers to artifacts and supervise inventory control. They might also Plan and conduct research to develop and improve methods of restoring and preserving specimens.

In addition, they Prepare artifacts for storage and shipping.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Cut and weld metal sections in reconstruction or renovation of exterior structural sections and accessories of exhibits.

To some Museum Technicians and Conservators, it is also their responsibility to Supervise and work with volunteers.


Working life

Working hours

Less than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Museum Technician and Conservator, you can expect to work less than 40 hours per week.

Do Museum Technicians and Conservators work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
62%


Once a month
19%


Do Museum Technicians and Conservators work outdoors?

Once a year
40%


Never
39%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Builders and The Artists

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

You can read more about these career personality types here.



Learn more about Museum Technicians and Conservators

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Related to Museum Technicians and Conservators Job Description

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Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/education-training-and-library/curators-museum-technicians-and-conservators.htm
http://www.archives.gov/
http://www.arcsinfo.org/
http://www.conservation-us.org/


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