Art Restorer: Job Description, Degrees & Salary

Art restorers are conservators who ensure that people today and in future generations can enjoy art the way the artist intended. Read further to learn more about the duties, education and employment possibilities for this career. Schools offering Museum Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Art restorers are conservators. Using the skills of both an artist and a scientist they ensure a work of art can be enjoyed for centuries. The chart below shows the education requirements, job duties, and salary of art restorers.

Degree Required Master's degree
Key Responsibilities Physically stabilize art in the material they specialize in; restore art to original appearance
Job Growth (2016-2026) 12% (museum technicians and conservators)*
Median Salary (May 2018) $43,020 (museum technicians and conservators)*

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are The Job Duties Of An Art Restorer?

Art restorers are conservators who are responsible for returning works of art to the artist's original vision. As a result, a large part of their duties involves the physical stabilization of art through various treatments and restorative touch ups. Art restorers also document everything they have done to a work of art in case it needs to be removed or redone in the future. Art restorers who are in charge of a department have the additional responsibilities of a manager, such as assigning tasks and overseeing the work of others.

What Are The Educational Requirements Of An Art Restorer?

Art restorers are usually expected to have a master's degree. Master's degree programs tend to last between two and four years. During these programs, art restorers will learn the scientific and artistic skills necessary to restore works of art.

Where Do Art Restorers Work?

Art restorers are largely employed by museums, historical sites, governments, higher education institutions, and art restoration companies. Where one works depends largely on the material of specialization. One who works with textiles may find work restoring clothing owned by a museum while one who specializes in paintings may work for a gallery. Some art restorers open their own businesses and restore art owned by private clients.

What Personal Traits Do Art Restorers Need To Have?

To work effectively as an art restorer one needs to have exceptional judgment. Decisions made by art restorers not only determine how art is enjoyed centuries in the future, but if the art is around to be enjoyed at all. If an art restorer makes the wrong decision they could damage a piece irreparably or accelerate the rate of decay. Also, an art restorer must have a keen eye. Missed damage may impair the aesthetic of the piece being restored and, if not stabilized, be a source of future decay. Additionally, art restorers must have a steady hand. Rough handling will spell the end for many works of art, and art restorers, as people who handle art that could be centuries old, need to be extremely careful. The slightest slip could destroy a piece.

What Are Some Similar Careers?

Similar careers to art restorer include curator and artist. Curators are the administrators in charge of entire collections. The collections overseen by a curator may include scientific specimens, historical artifacts, or works of art. There is a large overlap between the skillsets of art restorers and artists. However, artists, unlike art restorers, work to create entirely new works of art.

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