What Does an Art Conservator Do?

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11827

Some conservationists work to preserve the glories of our environment. Others work to maintain culture heritages. But what about conserving great art? What does that entail, and is it for you?


History, Visual Arts

Fine Arts
learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Watch this movie clip.

  • How much of the damage inflicted by Mr. Bean on this poor painting could possibly be undone?

Nothing lasts forever.

It is sad to think of it, but some of the greatest pieces of art have been lost to the cruelties of time. Fortunately, there are dedicated professionals whose job it is to rescue works of art and give them a few more years of life.

Watch a video about the job that art conservators do. As you watch, write information to answer the following questions.

  • What types of artwork did the conservators rescue?
  • What techniques did they use to restore the works of art?
  • What did science have to do with it?

  • What do you think are some of the specific kinds of damage that happen to works of art over time?
  • What skills and knowledge do you probably need to know in order to become an art conservator?
  • What do you think would be fun about this job? What would be challenging about it?

Art conservators work quietly and behind the scenes to make sure the art in a gallery or museum is ready for show time.

In the Got It? section, learn about the different areas of conservation and some of the specific skills conservators need to develop.

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