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Working at the Smithsonian

Conservator

  • Conservators are responsible for evaluating the condition of objects, and then treating and repairing them to prevent their deterioration. This has become a very technology driven field involving state of the art imaging, chemical analysis techniques and other analytical tools to assess the state of deterioration and determine conservation methods.
  • Historically many people have learned on the job. Today, a background in chemistry is highly desirable along with an artist's skill in a particular medium. Conservators usually have a specialty such as textiles, paintings, photos, wood, books, paper, etc.
  • Applicants with advanced degrees in conservation are highly desirable. While there are only a few places in this country to get a Master’s degree in conservation, there are many courses, seminars, symposia, internships and apprenticeships available to develop technical skills.

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