From AICCM: “Conservators aim to minimise change to collection material, to protect items from the adverse effects of climate and chemical deterioration, and to safeguard our heritage not only for here and now but for generations to come.


Conservation activities include preservation, restoration, examination, documentation, research, advice, treatment, preventive conservation, training and education.”

It is customary for conservators to be designated according to their area of specialisation, e.g. objects, textiles, paintings, paper, monuments, etc.

Qualifications and personal attributes

It is not currently possible to study conservation as a specific undergraduate degree in Australia. Most people come to conservation after studying art history, archaeology, fine arts, chemistry, physics or various trades at under-graduate level. Conservation is a true combination of arts and sciences, with chemistry usually being a pre-requisite.

A number of Australian universities offer post-graduate courses in conservation.

Internships and voluntary work in conservation labs in Australia and/or overseas are strongly recommended. Internships, or other job placement opportunities, are usually part of the study program.

Conservators need well-developed fine motor skills, an eye for detail, an instinct for the big picture, creative problem-solving skills and patience.

Other information

The Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials (AICCM) is the principal professional association for all practising conservators in Australia. AICCM liaises with international organisations and with national organisations such as the Australian Library and Information Association, the Australian Society of Archivists and Museums Australia. AICCM also offers members accreditation, professional development and publications.

Salary summary

Conservator:                    $46,000 - $70,000
Senior conservator:         $67,000 - $82,000

Case studies and more from the web