What is conservation?
Conservation encompasses actions taken toward the long-term preservation of cultural property. Conservation activities include examination, documentation, treatment, and preventative care, supported by research and education.
What is a conservator?
Conservators are professionals who work to physically save our cultural property from the ravages of time, the threats of pollution, and the devastation brought by natural disasters. A conservator may be trained at a conservation graduate training program or by lengthy apprenticeship with experienced senior colleagues. Working in museums, other cultural institutions, research labs, and in private practice, conservators combine unique skills gained through ongoing study and advanced training in art history, science, studio art, and related disciplines to care for and preserve our tangible history. Because of the increasingly technical nature of modern conservation, conservators usually specialize in a particular type of object, such as: paintings, works of art on paper, rare books, photographs, electronic media, textiles, furniture, archaeological and ethnographic materials, sculpture, architectural elements, or decorative arts.
Note that other countries may use the term "restorer" in place of "conservator." For example, the French word for curator is conservateur, and a conservator may be called a restaurateur.
(See more in our Frequently Asked Questions page)