A conservator is a person who works to preserve the physical state of our cultural heritage. In other words, we work with cultural objects, and buildings in order to save them from the ravages of time.
Conservators generally hold an advanced degree in the subject, specializing in one specific area due to the technical complexity of the field. Examples of different areas include: paintings, photographs, textiles, books and paper, wood and furniture, metals, modern art, and glass, ceramic and stone.
Conservation not only requires a knowledge of art and science, but one also needs to possess some sort of technical skills as it’s a very hands-on job that requires a lot of book knowledge.
A conservator is responsible for the research, documentation and proper treatment of an object. The main goal is to stabilize it, but we also want to make it recognizable and beautiful for the public to keep its understanding and appreciation of it. There’s always this tension between conservation and restoration, but essentially a conservator must decide how much repairing versus how much preserving is to be done.
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The Conservator- Restorer: A Definition of the Profession - ICOM-CC International Council of Musuems- Commttee for Conservation
Mountain States Art Conservation: What is Art Conservation?