Monday, November 22, 2010

10 Tips for Becoming a Conservator

Tip #2: Join professional organizations

The purpose of a professional organization is to uphold standards of practice, and to provide educational and networking opportunities to its members. Most organizations charge for membership, but as a student you can usually pay a reduced fee, and it is well worth it for the benefits that you receive in return.

The largest organization for conservation in the United States is the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works . AIC publishes the Code of Ethics and Guidelines of Practice that all practicing conservators in the U.S. adhere to. Once you become a member, you will receive a directory of all members, a newsletter six times per year, and access to all of the online resources that AIC has to offer. Student membership is $65 for the calendar year, not including specialty groups.

Your local conservation guild is another group to take advantage of. Besides holding meetings, workshops and lectures, guilds tend to organize many tours and social events throughout the year—offering a great opportunity to meet other conservators. Fellow guild members can answer your general conservation questions, and relationships with other conservators will prove useful in the future when you’re looking for a job or when you’re in need of collaboration on a project. Regional organizations are listed on the website for the Conservators in Private Practice Specialty Group of AIC. Membership can range anywhere from $5 to $35 for students.

There are, of course, many more organizations on the international level, but I suggest starting locally so you don’t get too overwhelmed with newsletters and emails at first! Here’s a short list of conservation and related groups if you want to see what they have to offer:

International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation

International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art

Canadian Conservation Institute

The Institute of Conservation

International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

American Association of Museums

College Art Association


Unknown said...

Another good point Heather ~

When I first started joining organizations I also joined the International Sculpture Center (ISC) because I am particularly interested in sculptures -

It is interesting how often organizations that are not directed to conservators discuss conservation, there was an entire conservation issue in their magazine.

I have really enjoyed working with regional organizations and AIC and the more involved you can become in these organizations the more you get out of your membership. Don't be shy volunteering for projects or positions, it pays back!

jchurch said...

Great points, Heather. I am really looking foward to the next eight!

When I was in school I did not join AIC because I thought I could not afford it and I could read the JAIC at the library. I regret not getting involved while I was still in school, AIC offers so many opportunities that I should have taken advantage of.

Rose is right the more you are involved in organizations the more you get out of them