Conservators and Curators

(NOC 5112)

in All Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport

Conservators restore and conserve artifacts belonging to museums, galleries and owners of cultural property. They research, interpret, organize, and maintain collections for museums and art galleries. They also preserve and restore cultural and historical artifacts and artistic works with the goal of preserving each item for future generations. Curators recommend the acquisition of museum artifacts and gallery works of art and research their artistic history. Conservators and curators are employed in museums, art galleries and universities. Conservators may be self-employed.

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 Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 735 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2016

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 73% 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 Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport

Hourly Pay

$10.81

Minimum

$16.00

Median

$31.00

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. They research, interpret, organize, and maintain collections for museums and art galleries. They also preserve and restore cultural and historical artifacts and artistic works with the goal of preserving each item for future generations. Curators recommend the acquisition of museum artifacts and gallery works of art and research their artistic history. Conservators and curators are employed in museums, art galleries and universities. Conservators may be self-employed.

Job duties

Conservators perform some or all of the following duties:

  • 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 on display and storage of museum and gallery artifacts to ensure proper maintenance and preservation.
  • Research new conservation and restoration techniques.
  • Provide consultation to museums, art galleries or private individuals.
  • Supervise conservation technicians and other museum technicians.

Curators perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Recommend the acquisition 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 the storage of collections and the setting up of displays and exhibitions.
  • Oversee the conservation, display and circulation of collections.
  • Supervise curatorial assistants and other museum technicians. // Conservators and curators may specialize in a particular type of collection or material, such as furniture, weapons, books, paintings and musical instruments.

Sample job titles

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

Skills

To work in this field, 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

90

employed in 2016

86.4%

employed full-time

11.1%

self employed

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

median age

Compared to: All Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport

11,000

employed in 2016

59.4%

employed full-time

33.3%

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%

Northern

8.0%

Cape Breton

8.0%

Annapolis Valley

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

66.7%

Information, Culture & Recreation

11.1%

Educational Services

11.1%

Other Services

11.1%

Public Administration

What is the age of Employment?

50.0%

35-44

50.0%

55-64

Compared to: All Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport

43.8%

35-44

35.4%

45-54

12.5%

25-34

8.3%

55-64

4.2%

65+

Top levels of education

40.9%

Doctorate

N/A
36.4%

Bachelor's degree

N/A
9.1%

College certificate or diploma

N/A

Compared to: All Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport

27.5%

Bachelor's degree

$19,705 median annual income
26.2%

High school

$7,127 median annual income
20.3%

College certificate or diploma

$20,158 median annual income
10.2%

Less than high school

$2,298 median annual income
8.0%

Master's degree

N/A

Education & training

Anthropology - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the systematic study of human beings, their antecedents and related primates, and their cultural behaviour and institutions, in comparative perspective. These programs include courses in biological/physical anthropology, primatology, human paleontology and prehistoric archeology, hominid evolution, anthropological linguistics, ethnography, ethnology, ethnohistory, sociocultural anthropology, psychological anthropology, research methods, and applications to areas such as medicine, forensic pathology, museum studies, and international affairs.

Institutions providing this program

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Art history, criticism and conservation

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the study of the historical development of art as a social and intellectual phenomenon, the analysis of works of art, and art conservation. These programs 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

5163 Duke Street

Halifax, NS B3J 3J6

(902) 444-9600

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Art/art studies - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses 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

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

NSCAD University

5163 Duke Street

Halifax, NS B3J 3J6

(902) 444-9600

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Cultural anthropology

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the study of culture and the relationship of culture to other aspects of social life. These programs include courses in cultural anthropology, anthropological theory, ethnography, linguistics, and quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Fine/studio arts - General

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to generally function as creative artists in the visual and plastic media. These programs 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

5163 Duke Street

Halifax, NS B3J 3J6

(902) 444-9600

History - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the general study and interpretation of the past, including the gathering, recording, synthesizing and criticizing of evidence and theories about past events. These programs include courses in historiography; historical research methods; studies of specific periods, issues and cultures; and applications to areas such as historic preservation, public policy, and records administration.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

(902) 457-6117

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

History - Other

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program not listed above that relates to History.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
PO Box 2262
Halifax, NS B3J 3C8
Tel: (902) 424-5280
Fax: (902) 424-7359
Nova Scotia Museum
1747 Summer Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3A6
Tel: (902) 424-7353
Canadian Museums Association
280 Metcalfe Street, Suite 400
Ottawa, ON K2P 1R7
Tel: (613) 567-0099
Fax: (613) 233-5438

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.