Conservators and Curators

(NOC 5112)

in All Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport

Conservators restore and conserve artifacts belonging to museums, galleries, and owners of cultural property. Curators recommend the purchase of museum artifacts and gallery works of art and research their artistic history. Conservators and curators work in museums, art galleries, and universities. Conservators may be self-employed. Conservators and curators may specialize in a collection or material like furniture, weapons, books, paintings, and musical instruments.

Job Outlook

Undetermined

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  • Estimate change in employment not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate openings due to growth and retirements not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for this occupation.

Compared to: All Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport

  • Estimate 60 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 765 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Conservators and Curators most commonly work full-time hours. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 72% of Conservators and Curators who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $38,915. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

N/A

Minimum

N/A

Median

N/A

Maximum

Annual Pay

N/A

Minimum

$32,766

Median

N/A

Maximum

Compared to: All Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport

Hourly Pay

$12.55

Minimum

$24.73

Median

$36.29

Maximum

Annual Pay

$945

Minimum

$11,712

Median

$60,447

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Conservators restore and conserve artifacts belonging to museums, galleries, and owners of cultural property. Curators recommend the purchase of museum artifacts and gallery works of art and research their artistic history. Conservators and curators work in museums, art galleries, and universities. Conservators may be self-employed. Conservators and curators may specialize in a collection or material like furniture, weapons, books, paintings, and musical instruments.

Job duties

Conservators:

  • Examine artifacts, determine their condition, suggest methods for treating them and recommend preventive conservation techniques to their owners.
  • Restore and conserve paintings, photographs, sculptures, furniture, pottery and other museum and art gallery artifacts.
  • Provide advice museum and gallery artifacts display and storage to ensure proper maintenance and preservation.
  • Research new conservation and restoration techniques.
  • Consult with museums, art galleries, or private individuals.
  • Supervise conservation technicians and other museum technicians.

Curators:

  • Recommend the purchase of paintings, photographs, sculptures, documents and other museum and art gallery artifacts.
  • Research origins and artistic history of artifacts.
  • Develop storylines and themes and organize displays and exhibitions.
  • Coordinate collection storage and setting up displays and exhibitions.
  • Oversee collection conservation, display, and circulation.
  • Supervise curatorial assistants and other museum technicians.

Sample job titles

  • art gallery conservator
  • art gallery curator
  • assistant curator
  • assistant museum curator
  • curator
  • library curator
  • museum conservator
  • museum curator

Skills

You need excellent administrative, research, organizational, writing, and planning skills, as well as intellectual curiosity. You should have supervisory skills and the ability to work with people of all ages, including other staff. Knowledge of computer systems, literature, and current information sources is also important. Conservationists require a good understanding of chemistry. Being able to speak and write French would be an asset in some positions.

Job requirements

  • Conservators require a master's degree in art conservation or completion of a three-year college program in conservation technology and several years of experience in conservation work.
  • Curators require a master's or bachelor's degree in museology, art history or a field related to their specific area of work.

Other considerations

Progression to museum or art gallery management positions is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

125

employed in 2016

84.0%

employed full-time

20.0%

self employed

68.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
32%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
49.9

median age

Compared to: All Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport

11,000

employed in 2016

53.3%

employed full-time

29.3%

self employed

55.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
44.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
38.2

median age

Where will I likely work?

48.0%

Halifax

20.0%

Southern

16.0%

North Shore

8.0%

Cape Breton

8.0%

Annapolis Valley

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

66.7%

Arts, entertainment and recreation

11.1%

Public administration

11.1%

Educational services

11.1%

Other services (except public administration)

What is the age of Employment?

31.0%

55-64

23.0%

45-54

19.0%

35-44

19.0%

25-34

8.0%

65+

Compared to: All Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport

29.7%

15-24

15.9%

35-44

15.7%

45-54

15.4%

25-34

14.9%

55-64

Top levels of education

41.7%

Bachelor

$27,942 median annual income
37.5%

Master

$33,763 median annual income
12.5%

College Diploma

N/A
8.3%

High school

N/A

Compared to: All Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport

26.4%

Bachelor

$17,829 median annual income
24.9%

High school

$7,552 median annual income
19.5%

College Diploma

$22,120 median annual income
13.7%

Less than high school

$2,922 median annual income
7.9%

Master

$36,173 median annual income

Education & training

Art

College or University Program

These programs focus on the introductory study and appreciation of the visual arts. These programs include courses in art, photography, and other visual communications media.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

Wolfville, NS

NSCAD University

Halifax, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Art History, Criticism and Conservation

College or University Program

These programs focus on the study of the historical development of art as a social and intellectual phenomenon, the analysis of works of art, and art conservation. They include courses in the theory of art, art history research methods, connoisseurship, the preservation and conservation of works of art, and the study of specific periods, cultures, styles, and themes.

Institutions providing this program

NSCAD University

Halifax, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Fine Arts

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs prepare students to generally function as creative artists in the visual and plastic media. They include courses in the traditional fine arts media (drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, CAD/CAM) and/or modern media (ceramics, textiles, intermedia, photography, digital images), theory of art, colour theory, composition and perspective, anatomy, the techniques and procedures for maintaining equipment and managing a studio, and art portfolio marketing.

Institutions providing this program

NSCAD University

Halifax, NS

History

College or University Program

These programs focus on the general study and interpretation of the past, including gathering, recording, synthesizing and criticizing of evidence and theories about past events. They include courses in historiography, historical research methods, studies of specific periods, issues and cultures, and applications to areas like historic preservation, public policy, and records administration.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

Wolfville, NS

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Mount Saint Vincent University

Halifax, NS

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Saint Mary's University

Halifax, NS

Cape Breton University

Sydney, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Museum
Various, NS
Canadian Museums Association
Ottawa, ON

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.