What does a Museum Technician and Conservator do?

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.

Jobs Roles

  • 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.
  • Coordinate exhibit installations, assisting with design, constructing displays, dioramas, display cases, and models, and ensuring the availability of necessary materials.
  • Determine whether objects need repair and choose the safest and most effective method of repair.
  • Clean objects, such as paper, textiles, wood, metal, glass, rock, pottery, and furniture, using cleansers, solvents, soap solutions, and polishes.
  • Prepare artifacts for storage and shipping.
  • Supervise and work with volunteers.
  • Specialize in particular materials or types of object, such as documents and books, paintings, decorative arts, textiles, metals, or architectural materials.
  • Recommend preservation procedures, such as control of temperature and humidity, to curatorial and building staff.
  • Classify and assign registration numbers to artifacts and supervise inventory control.
  • Perform on-site field work which may involve interviewing people, inspecting and identifying artifacts, note-taking, viewing sites and collections, and repainting exhibition spaces.
  • Repair, restore and reassemble artifacts, designing and fabricating missing or broken parts, to restore them to their original appearance and prevent deterioration.
  • Prepare reports on the operation of conservation laboratories, documenting the condition of artifacts, treatment options, and the methods of preservation and repair used.
  • 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.
  • Cut and weld metal sections in reconstruction or renovation of exterior structural sections and accessories of exhibits.
  • Perform tests and examinations to establish storage and conservation requirements, policies, and procedures.
  • Plan and conduct research to develop and improve methods of restoring and preserving specimens.
  • Notify superior when restoration of artifacts requires outside experts.
  • Estimate cost of restoration work.
  • Preserve or direct preservation of objects, using plaster, resin, sealants, hardeners, and shellac.
  • Build, repair, and install wooden steps, scaffolds, and walkways to gain access to or permit improved view of exhibited equipment.
  • Construct skeletal mounts of fossils, replicas of archaeological artifacts, or duplicate specimens, using a variety of materials and hand tools.
  • Direct and supervise curatorial, technical, and student staff in the handling, mounting, care, and storage of art objects.
  • Photograph objects for documentation.
  • Lead tours and teach educational courses to students and the general public.
  • Deliver artwork on courier trips.
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