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Career profile Museum Technician

Also known as Art Preparator, Conservation Technician, Conservator, Exhibit Technician, Museum Registrar, Museum Technician, Objects Conservator, Paintings Conservator, Paper Conservator, Preparator

Museum Technician

Also known as Art Preparator, Conservation Technician, Conservator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Artistic
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$27,730 - $79,590 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Fine Arts
  • Public Safety and Security
  • History and Archeology
Core tasks
  • Install, arrange, assemble, and prepare artifacts for exhibition, ensuring the artifacts' safety, reporting their status and condition, and identifying and correcting any problems with the set up.
  • Classify and assign registration numbers to artifacts and supervise inventory control.
  • Repair, restore, and reassemble artifacts, designing and fabricating missing or broken parts, to restore them to their original appearance and prevent deterioration.
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What does a Museum Technician do?

Museum Technicians restore, maintain, or prepare objects in museum collections for storage, research, or exhibit.

In addition, Museum Technicians

  • may work with specimens such as fossils, skeletal parts, or botanicals; or artifacts, textiles, or art,
  • may identify and record objects or install and arrange them in exhibits,
  • includes book or document conservators.

What kind of tasks does a Museum Technician perform regularly?

Museum Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Install, arrange, assemble, and prepare artifacts for exhibition, ensuring the artifacts' safety, reporting their status and condition, and identifying and correcting any problems with the set up.
  • Repair, restore, and reassemble artifacts, designing and fabricating missing or broken parts, to restore them to their original appearance and prevent deterioration.
  • Clean objects, such as paper, textiles, wood, metal, glass, rock, pottery, and furniture, using cleansers, solvents, soap solutions, and polishes.
  • Photograph objects for documentation.
  • Determine whether objects need repair and choose the safest and most effective method of repair.
  • Prepare artifacts for storage and shipping.
  • Enter information about museum collections into computer databases.
  • Recommend preservation procedures, such as control of temperature and humidity, to curatorial and building staff.
  • Notify superior when restoration of artifacts requires outside experts.
  • Supervise and work with volunteers.
  • Perform on-site field work which may involve interviewing people, inspecting and identifying artifacts, note-taking, viewing sites and collections, and repainting exhibition spaces.
  • Lead tours and teach educational courses to students and the general public.

The above responsibilities are specific to Museum Technicians. More generally, Museum Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is a Museum Technician salary?

The median salary for a Museum Technician is $45,710, and the average salary is $49,990. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Museum Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Museum Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Museum Technicians earn less than $27,730 per year, 25% earn less than $34,910, 75% earn less than $60,830, and 90% earn less than $79,590.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Museum Technicians is expected to change by 20.7%, and there should be roughly 1,900 open positions for Museum Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$27,730 - $79,590
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Museum Technicians?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Museum Technician are usually higher in their Realistic and Artistic interests.

Museum Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Museum Technicians typically have moderate Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Museum Technician tend to value Achievement, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Museum Technicians moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Museum Technicians moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Museum Technicians moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Museum Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and cooperation.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Museum Technicians, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Museum Technicians need?

Many Museum Technicians will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Museum Technicians usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Museum Technicians

  • 1.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 6.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 9.1% completed some college coursework
  • 4.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 36.1% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 36.3% earned a Master's degree
  • 6.8% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Museum Technicians

Museum Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as fine arts, public safety and security, or history and archeology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Museum Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
History and Archeology
Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Important Abilities needed by Museum Technicians

Museum Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Museum Technicians need abilities such as oral expression, near vision, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Museum Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Critical Skills needed by Museum Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Museum Technicians frequently use skills like active listening, reading comprehension, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Museum Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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