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Sculpture Conservator

Reconstruct damaged sculptures.

What does a Sculpture Conservator do?

Sculpture Conservators take care of, treat, and preserve sculptures. Your job as a Sculpture Conservator is a marriage of art and science-you’re skilled at capturing the feel of the original piece, making an expert analysis of the sculpture’s condition, and applying scientific techniques to restore it to excellent condition.

Being a Sculpture Conservator requires, first of all, that you have a genuine desire to preserve works of art. Additionally, you must know what factors cause these pieces to fall into disrepair, and what techniques are applied to restore them and prevent further damage. Needless to say, you must be an expert on the various materials used in sculpture, like metal, terracotta, plaster, and wood, as well as the chemical compounds used to restore them.

You also do some art research and writing, especially if you get involved in education programs on art conservation. But for the most part, you’re concerned with treating and restoring sculptures. You conduct your work mostly in the laboratory of a particular institution, or with a small number of firms that offer sculpture restoration services.

Your job begins when sculptures in need of restoration are brought in and catalogued. The work you perform will require heavy documentation using photographs, drawings, and writing. Then you do the actual restoration process, keeping in mind client preferences-different clients want their sculptures restored in different ways. However, your ultimate goal is to restore the sculpture to the best condition possible, utilizing all of the methods, specialized tools, and materials at your disposal.