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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


10 May 2017 555 Book icon 4 mins Share

Study heritage conservation or curatorial studies abroad – for the love of art!

Want to go back to the past and see where we come from? Want to preserve the past in the present? Then a degree in curatorial studies/heritage conservation/museum studies is apt for you.

10 May 2017 555 Book icon 4 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


Share this article
Study heritage conservation/ museum studies abroad

The only image that comes to my mind while writing this article is from a movie called 'Jurassic Park' where a group of scientists preserved a dinosaur's DNA inside a mosquito using amber. 

Similarly, there are people called art conservators or heritage conservators who work towards preserving nature, or lost nature, and retrieving our glorious past to give a new meaning to the lost remains. But not many people, sadly, value artefacts or remains and bother to find what we have left behind. 

Negligence is the main reason behind slow death of our heritage, reducing it to just a shadow. With the increasing pollution and population levels, this situation is hard to control.

Have a closer look around in your own city or while travelling and you'll find plenty of examples of people ruining beautiful places in our country. Have you ever been to Pondicherry beach? If yes, you must have seen a bill board there with these words – ‘Pondicherry isn't the same when you litter’. Countless times I’ve seen people (can’t blame animals of course!) littering right next to the ad. Sad! This happens in every city.

Curatorial studies/heritage conservation/museum studies has remained an underrated field of study in India because many people consider it to be a dull or not as ‘job-oriented’ as an MBBS or Engineering degree. 

But don’t you think - if we don’t preserve our heritage, what will be left for the tourists to see in our country, and how will our GDP grow? What will happen to our travel and tourism industry?

However, as long as we have the awareness and willingness to preserve our heritage, we have something to show and talk about to our future generations!

Who should study heritage conservation/curatorial studies?

Curatorial studies/ heritage conservation/ museum studies or could have other names – which could be also a combination of either of them – deals with the study of identification, collection (say curating specimens or artefacts), interpretation, preservation and management of the past. This includes collection of fossils or objects in monuments, historic buildings, cultural landscapes or underwater cultural heritage as well as in museums.

Museum conservators deal with old books, paintings, clothing, furniture and artefacts and preserve these. This is a difficult and time-consuming field day in and day out for the art curators.

If you want to work towards preserving the aesthetic, cultural and economic value of our cultural heritage, then this is the right degree for you. You can contact us to help you with your admissions.

Where to study heritage conservation/museum studies?

Some of the popular places to attain a degree in art conservation or museum studies are as follows:

1. The University of Sydney, Australia – offers masters in Museum and Heritage Studies. Check the other programmes in museum studies that are offered by the University of Sydney.

2. University of North Alabama – offers an MA in Public History.

3. Victoria University, Wellington – offers masters in museum and heritage studies.

4. The University of Queensland, Australia – offers Masters of Museum Studies.

5. Texas State University, the USA – offers an MA in public history. The graduate programme teaches students basics of historic tourism, public history, preservation museums and public education.

6. Fleming College, Canada – offers Graduate Certificate in Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management.

7. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) – offers an MA degree in Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials. This programme is jointly awarded with the Getty Institute.

8. University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands – offers an MA in heritage studies that has five specialisations, such as museum studies, archival sciences, museum curator, heritage and memory studies and preservation and presentation of moving image. The duration of the programme is for 1 or 2 years and the course fee for international students is nearly Euros 15,000.

Find a complete list of universities abroad offering masters in Museum Studies. Also, find bachelors in Museum Studies abroad.

9. Tulane University, USA – offers undergraduate and graduate programmes in preservation studies. Masters in preservation studies at Tulane is approx. for 1.5 years and costs nearly USD 32,000 per year.

10. Courtauld Institute of Art, the UK – offers some unique courses including MA in Buddhist Art and MA in Conservation of Wall Painting. The duration of the course is 3 years and the course fee is nearly GBP 19,000 per year for international students. 

What the future holds – stats speak!

With a degree in any of the above fields, you can work as a heritage inspector, conservation officer, laboratory technician, programme coordinator, fossil recovery technician, museum and heritage park curator and so on.

Do you know, the famous writer Vladimir Nabokov used to collect butterflies and study them. Later he started finding unique species and naming them. 

You can also work at an NGO such as RARE in the USA. The average salary of an art curator working in RARE is nearly USD 50,000 to 90,000. But, of course, you need years of experience to get a job at RARE.  

Federal government is one of the highest-paying employers of art conservationists. Some of the locations where art conservators are highly paid are Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Alaska whereas Kentucky, South Dakota and Montana are lowest-paid locations.

Museum conservators get paid nearly USD 40,000 per year or USD 20 on an hourly basis. However, this could also go up to nearly USD 60,000 per year or USD 33 on an hourly basis.

What the US BLS says?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, conservators will see a rising demand by 2020 – a growth of 7 per cent. Also, there would be a rising public interest in history, science and technology. A foreign language skill would be a bonus for a person looking to eke out a living as an art curator.

Isn’t it wonderful how art conservators or curators preserve the past in the present, thus giving life to things that we can appreciate better for years.

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