Establishing a Conservation Practice

March 30 - April 27, 2017
Facilitator:  Sarah Lowengard
FAIC Online

Establishing a Conservation Practice is a four-week, online course designed to meet the needs of conservators who wish to own or manage a professional conservation business.  In this course, participants will encounter readings, case studies, worksheets, presentations, and exercises to begin thinking and planning for success.  Online discussion forums allow participants to draw on the combined experience of other participants, the course facilitator, and select outside experts.  All you need is a PC or Mac computer with Internet access, and a reasonably up-to-date browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Chrome) to participate.

Dates & Registration

The course will begin on Thursday, March 30 and continue, with new activities and discussions each week, through Thursday, April 27.  Course materials will remain available to participants for two weeks after the course ends.

The fee for this course is $200 for AIC members, $300 for non-members.  Early bird rate for AIC members is $120, $180 for non-members. Early bird registration ends March 15. Participants will be accepted in order of receipt of paid registration.  Enrollment is limited, so early registration is advised.

Register for this course by clicking here: AIC/FAIC Store - Events
If you experience difficulties please contact Online registration requires you to create a log-in (or to use one that you already have for our site) with a name and email address before you may purchase an event registration. No information aside from the username and email address is required to create a profile, but you will need a billing address to complete registration.

FAIC's registration policies for professional development programs can be found here.

Course Schedule

      Week 1            Defining a Practice            
      Week 2            Establishing a Practice
      Week 3            The Finances of a Practice
      Week 4            Organizing a practice

 In this course, participants will learn to:

  • Recognize the advantages and drawbacks of private practice
  • Identify and define the documents that provide short and long term business guidance
  • Understand the advantages and drawbacks of various business structures, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation
  • Understand the role of legal, accounting, finance, marketing, employment, and other expertise in business management and maintenance
  • Use model documents and spreadsheets to plan your business
  • Locate additional resources on the internet and elsewhere to assist in setting up a private practice
International participants, please note:  This course is designed for conservators seeking to begin a private practice in the United States.  Because legal and taxation environments vary from one country to another, some material (perhaps 20%) will not be applicable outside the U.S.

Time Requirements

Participants should expect to spend at least six hours per week on the course – roughly the equivalent of attending a full-day workshop each week. Participants will use this time to complete exercises, and to read and respond to the work of others in the course. Participants choose when, according to their own schedule--at noon during lunch break, in the evening with a cup of tea, or at 6 in the morning in their favorite jammies (Note: Although the timing of participation is flexible, we have found that participants have difficulty keeping up with the course during extended trips).

Is Distance Learning Right for Me?

We all learn in different ways.  Click here to take our interactive quiz to see if this type of course is a good match for your learning style.

About the Facilitator

Sarah Lowengard, Ph.D., has more than twenty years’ teaching experience in both formal university classrooms and informal education programs.  She has developed, taught, or led courses, workshops, and tutorials in art conservation, collections care, history, academic research and materials analysis.  A private-practice art conservator since 1979, she initiated the Conservation Course Syllabus Web pages for Conservation OnLine and served on the AIC Education and Training Committee.


Course Content: Sarah Lowengard
Original Instructional Design: Roberta Westwood

Project Management: Eric Pourchot
Contributors and Reviewers: Jeff Brechlin, Susan Burke, Bob Cocchiaro, Elizabeth Goins, Colin Turner, Katharine A. Untch, Glenn Wharton
This course was created with funding from the Getty Foundation. It is presented with funding from the FAIC Endowment for Professional Development, which is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and by gifts from members and friends of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.  Courses are made possible with the assistance of many AIC members, but no AIC membership dues were used to create or present this course.


Contact: Sarah Saetren
FAIC Education Associate
(202) 661-8071

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