Romoe Conservators Network

Job description of a conservator: job profile and education

The job description of a conservator is affected by protection of cultural assets to preserve historical evidence and therefore irrecoverable originals for subsequent generations.

The activities of a conservator consist of a critical and methodically scientific altercation relative to artistic and cultural assets. It is therefore important to weigh the consequences of any intervention at an early stage. This approach is always to be assumed to conservative and restoration measures.[1]
The job description has changed so that the traces of transcience of an object are respected and consequently primarily the preserve is transmitted to the conservator.
On the basis of interpreting test results of an object there has to be prepared a conservative or rather restoration concept. The measures taken are documented in order to assure traceability in the future. Development of responsible restoration methods from now on is complemented by numerous scientific analysis which requires an interdisciplinary cooperation. But not only in the field of natural sciences requires cooperation – also in the field of historic preservation, art history and architecture.[2a]

(Preventive) conservation and restoration - An explanation

The preservative has the task to stop the further decay of art and cultural property. In addition to the implementation of measures directly on the object there are preventive measures, such as monitoring of the object substance as well as controlling of surrounding influences.[3]
In particular, the field of preventive conservation is concerned with such methods. These include conditions to be created to prevent damage in advance and the further decay of the arts and cultural heritage like the regulation of air and light.
The restoration includes the direct action on the art and cultural assets, to bring a better readability by respecting aesthetic, historical and material properties.


The originally technical and artistic profession has evolved into a scientifically based discipline, which is not at least due to the regular university education in the last 25 years. The restoration study offers among other things content of teaching in the fields of art history, chemistry, physics and microbiology. The lesson of historical techniques and materials as well as conservation and restoration in theory and practice require technical skills and artistic intuition.[2a]
To receive an academic education as a conservator it requires a one-or multi-year study-related internship in a qualitatively appropriate restoration workshop.
The application for the study normally requires confirmation of internship plus a general qualification for university entrance. Furthermore, it demands an artistic portfolio whose requirements vary from university to university in different ways. After screening and selection of suitable candidates will be held an aptitude test. This requires knowledge of art history, natural science, conservation and restoration. Similarly, the artistic skills are reviewed.[2b]

The job of a conservator is not protected. Thus, there are various training opportunities.
The Association of Restorers e. V. ( ) supports the level of education at university level. Hence it exist in addition to studying at a university also a training at a Bavarian academy to “state-certified restaurator“ ( ) as well as to “certified restorer in crafts” ( ) based on a previous, craft training.[4]

In Germany, the restoration of study is taught at nine universities:
In addition to the German-speaking area are listed below the respective universities in Austria and Switzerland:
The program offers different opportunities for specialization which vary depending on the university. It is among other things, paintings, defined set of wood, furniture, book / paper, textile, mural painting, stone, metal, glass, ethnographic / archaeological objects, technical assets as well as film, photo and data mediums.

In Dresden, Munich and Stuttgart is also the possibility of promotion.
So far the study were completed by a regular study time of 8 semester with the title “Dipl.-Rest. (FH)/(Uni)” (Master). Since 2010 the international recognized degrees of higher education Bachelor and Master are introduced at German universities to improve the compatibility of German university degrees and to make Europeen study opportunities more flexible. During the conversion process the final degrees Diplom, Bachelor and Master are offered in parallel.

University of applied sciences and arts of Hildesheim is the first university that offer the Bachelor of preventive conservation as well as Master of conservation and restauration since winter semester 2004/05. [2b]

Silvia Hellwig M.A.
Restorer of defined wood objects and paintings.

Jenny Rothe


  1. Besch, Ulrike, München 2002
    Restauratoren Taschenbuch 2002, S. 16.
  2. Verband der Restauratoren e.V., Bonn 2006, Zugriff: 26.10.2009,
  3. European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers' Organisations, Brüssel 2007, Zugriff: 26.10.2009
  4. Agentur für Arbeit, Nürnberg 2006, Zugriff: 26.10.2009,

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