Course Overview - Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects (PP) MA
The MA in Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects (Professional Practice) combines specialist conservation skills with theoretical knowledge and a year-long placement. You will develop the skills to research, analyse, preserve and care for historic and archaeological objects, and safeguard them for future generations.
This practical course is designed for those interested in a career as a conservator of historical objects, or in the fields of artefact research or collections care. While we draw students from a wide range of academic backgrounds, they share a numbe...
The MA in Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects (Professional Practice) combines specialist conservation skills with theoretical knowledge and a year-long placement. You will develop the skills to research, analyse, preserve and care for historic and archaeological objects, and safeguard them for future generations.<br/><br/>This practical course is designed for those interested in a career as a conservator of historical objects, or in the fields of artefact research or collections care. While we draw students from a wide range of academic backgrounds, they share a number of essential traits, those of manual dexterity, a knowledge of chemistry and the desire and commitment to work with museum objects.<br/><br/>Taught by qualified conservators, you will learn about conservation skills, artefact studies, methods of conservation, and how to care for collections. One day you might be looking into the ethics of conservation, the next you could be learning about chemical compositions used in the preservation of different materials.<br/><br/>You will spend the final year on placement. The placement year is normally spent developing your skills in a conservation laboratory at a major museum. Previous industrial partners have included the Museum of London, the National Museum of Wales and the York Archaeological Trust.<br/><br/>As a conservation student you will have access to many of the Department’s state-of-the-art facilities, these include a photographic studio, internationally renowned research laboratories in DNA, conservation, isotope analysis, and environmental archaeology, luminescence dating as well as unique collections of artefacts.<br/><br/>**Course Structure**<br/><br/>**Core modules:**<br/><br/>**Conservation Theory and Method** provides the knowledge to professionally plan the conservation of archaeological and museum objects. You will develop an understanding of the evolution of conservation, its organisation, present day aims and methods used. You will also consider how ethical factors influence the approach to work.<br/><br/>**Conservation Skills** is a practical module that gives you the opportunity to work on archaeological objects and carry out a range of laboratory, fieldwork, documentation, cleaning, adhesion and replication activities. You will learn to examine and successfully treat archaeological objects and to document the impacts of their interventions in preparation for later practical coursework.<br/><br/>**Artefact Studies** provides an understanding of the theory, practice and status of artefact studies, with a particular focus on museum collections and archives. You will learn about the physical properties and the traditional production and use of materials and products and also develop skills in handling, analysing, interpreting and recording objects by examining and comparing collections from different periods and cultures.<br/><br/>**Care of Collections (Conservation)** introduces the concept of preventative conservation and the issues involved with caring for collections. It provides a detailed understanding of the environmental factors that cause deterioration and presents ways they can be monitored and tackled.<br/><br/>**Conservation Practice** requires you to conserve three or more complex objects made of a range of materials. You will gain experience in making decisions about the conservation treatment of objects, undertaking research, hands on cleaning, stabilisation and restoration work, and recording details of your work. You will also develop an understanding of prioritising and organising your work, securing materials, facilities and working with curators.<br/><br/>The 10-month **Professional Practice Placement** is a valuable opportunity to develop your skills in a professional conservation environment and to experience firsthand the responsibilities and day-to-day pressures of a working environment. Alongside your conservation skills you will begin to develop the organisation, judgement and management skills required for a career in the sector.