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Conservators preserve and restore historical objects and buildings.


Arts, Crafts and design

Average annual salary

£24,000 to £60,000

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Entry Requirements:

You'll usually need a degree in conservation. If your degree is in another subject, you'll usually also need a postgraduate qualification in conservation.

You'll also need some work experience or some work-based training like an internship.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The Institute of Conservation (Icon) has more information about courses and internships.

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Required Skills:

You'll need:

  • the ability to clearly explain complex issues
  • a methodical and detailed approach
  • artistic, technological and scientific ability
  • business skills if you are self-employed
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What you’ll do:

Conservators look after historical objects or artefacts in a museum or private collection. They use a range of scientific methods, materials and equipment to preserve and restore them.

You could be working with paintings, books or furniture in a museum, art gallery or private house, or a property and grounds owned by a charity.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • preserving objects to stop deterioration
  • checking the condition of objects
  • restoring
  • making sure that conditions are right for display and storage
  • keeping written and photographic records
  • working in a team with other conservators
  • giving presentations to visitors, including school groups
  • setting up exhibitions and arranging safe transportation
  • giving advice on collections
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Starter: £24,000
Experienced: £30,000 to £35,000
Highly Experienced: £60,000

These figures are a guide.

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Working Hours:

35 to 40 hours per week

You'll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week.

You could be employed or self-employed. Employers may include art dealers, auction houses or private collectors.

If you're self-employed, you'll often manage your own time and the hours you do would depend on how much work you have.

You'll usually be based in a workshop, studio or laboratory, or on site. You could be outdoors if you're doing work like restoring stone masonry.

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Career Path:

With experience you could progress into management, although this will usually mean moving away from 'hands on' practical conservation work.

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