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Art Restoration: Education and Training Program Information

Art restorers require some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and career statistics to see if this is the right career for you.

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The field of art restoration requires a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as art history, studio art, or archeology. Internships and work experience are beneficial for those entering the field, and there are a limited number of graduate and certificate programs in art restoration available.

Essential Information

Art restoration involves careful reconstruction of damaged or deteriorated pieces of art, with the aim of bringing them closer to their original states. While the process of restoration is different from conservation, restoration is considered part of conservation work. A training program in art conservation or preservation will usually cover art restoration techniques. A bachelor's degree in studio art, anthropology, art history or a similar discipline is necessary to begin this type of career. Related internships may exist for students.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; graduate programs available
Recommendations Internship or training in art conservation/preservation
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% (for museum technicians & conservators)
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $40,340 (for museum technicians & conservators)

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Education

Degree Options

To become an art restorer or conservator, an individual typically first earns a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as art history, studio art, anthropology, archaeology or chemistry. Since art restoration is a highly specialized field, aspiring art restorers may benefit from taking on relevant internships and jobs to supplement undergraduate study. Very few schools in the United States offer a specific bachelor's degree program in conservation studies; however, those that do usually provide field work and internship opportunities as part of the program. These programs prepare students to apply for graduate school in conservation studies.

A limited number of art conservation graduate programs exist in the United States. These programs generally offer a master's or doctoral degree program through the departments of art, history or other disciplines. While a graduate program offers the most comprehensive training in art conservation, certificate programs are also available.

Curriculum

Course topics specific to art restoration include the restoration of books, building restoration in a particular city, masonry restoration, window restoration and restoring historic wooden structures. Students can expect to take classes on general conservation techniques and theory and may be able to specialize in specific materials or art forms, such as photography or textiles.

Training

Graduate programs in art conservation typically require some combination of fieldwork and internships with relevant organizations. While an art restorer most commonly works in a museum, opportunities are also available at libraries, universities and large laboratories or with private contractors.

Additional career training is available in the form of workshops, refresher courses or more highly specialized study in art restoration techniques or materials. Art restoration duties may be included within a another job title's tasks, such as a museum curator's; therefore, it can be helpful to enroll in general museum studies courses on topics such as preservation theory and art collection maintenance. Training is available through organizations related to museum studies or summer field schools.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

A 5% growth in museum technician and conservator employment is expected over the 2014-2024 decade, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The May 2015 median wage for these workers was $40,340, according to the same agency.

Art restoration is a highly specialized field, and requires a bachelor's degree and work experience, typically through internships or a graduate program's fieldwork. Art restoration professionals work in museums, libraries, laboratories, or for private clients. Job opportunities for those working in this field are predicted to grow at a slower-than-average rate through 2024.

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