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MUSEUM MANAGEMENT


CONSERVATOR TRACK

Essential Competencies

Introduction: Conservators provide technical advise and assistance in preservation of museum collections. A conservator may do hands-on treatment of objects as well as assist in establishing a preventive conservation program.

Following is a list of the competencies and the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to perform in this particular discipline at the Entry, Developmental, and Full Performance levels. The competencies are in boldface print and are followed by a brief definition. The definitions are then followed by a list of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to be effective at each level. The competencies and KSAs of the previous level(s) are also required at the next higher level.

ENTRY LEVEL - Conservator (GS-1001); Museum Specialist (GS-1016)

Description: The Entry Level conservator will work under the supervision of a professional conservator at a higher grade. Work will include treatment of objects, participation in collection condition surveys, and implementation of a preventive conservation program. These positions may be located in parks or centers.

I. Professional Discipline

Assists in the implementation of a conservation program within the museum management program.

Knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of materials, including effects of environmental factors and causes of damage and deterioration.

Knowledge of history of museums in general and NPS museums, and the basic principles and practices applicable to all the disciplines of natural and cultural resources represented in NPS collections.

Knowledge of the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice of the American Institute of Conservation.

II. Preservation Law, Philosophy, and Practice

Assists staff in management of cultural and natural resources.

Knowledge of the mission and objectives of the NPS.

Knowledge of historic preservation and natural resource stewardship, history, and philosophy.

Knowledge of NPS cultural and natural resource management policies and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards.

Knowledge of NPS cultural and natural resource inventories and their utility in the management of cultural and natural resources.

III. Conservation Research

Performs research on cultural or natural resource collections.

Ability to conduct literature searches and compare technical literature.

Knowledge of conservation and scientific literature and online databases.

IV. Collections Preservation and Protection

Assists staff in the preservation and protection of museum collections.

Ability to apply the professional body of knowledge of conservation in performing a variety of conservation treatments and preservation strategies to museum objects and/or specimens.

Ability to conduct museum collections preservation and conservation survey.

A. Preventive Conservation

Provides guidance on the preservation of museum collections.

Ability to assist with a comprehensive, long-term preservation program for museum collections including environmental monitoring and control, Integrated Pest Management, collection storage, and preservation requirements for exhibitions and shipping.

B. Conservation Treatments

Assists in the treatment of museum objects.

Ability to perform basic conservation treatments with sensitivity at the Entry Level.

C. Conservation Documentation

Conducts standard photographic and written documentation procedures for conservation of museum collections.

Ability to produce accurate and professional documentation of conservation work including condition of museum objects, recommendations for treatment, and treatment reports.

V. Program and Project Management

Assists in the implementation of a conservation program.

Ability to plan, organize, and coordinate conservation treatments.

Ability to coordinate operations of a laboratory through maintenance of supplies and equipment.

Ability to coordinate activities of technicians and volunteers.

VI. Writing and Communication

Provides written documentation on treatments, preventive conservation, and research activities.

Ability to prepare treatment reports, planning docuemtns, survey reports, and other written documents.

Ability to prepare and deliver effective talks on basic conservation and preservation information to NPS collection managers, colleagures, other professionals, and the public.

VII. Training

Teaches and trains museum staff, other NPS staff, and non-NPS staff.

Ability to train collection management staff in basic conservation principles and practices at the technician level.

DEVELOPMENTAL-LEVEL - Conservator (GS-1001); Museum Specialist (GS-1016)

Description: The conservator at the Developmental Level is a specialist in the preservation of one or more material or object types (e.g., paper, objects, plant materials). At this level conservators will independently undertake collection condition surveys and develop conservation programs for their fields of expertise. Research related to conservation and preservation of materials in their fields of expertise will be an essential part of the job. These positions may be located at parks or centers.

I. Professional Discipline

Implements a conservation program within the museum management program.

Knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of materials, including effects of environmental factors and causes of damage and deterioration.

Knowledge of the history of museums in general and NPS museums, and the basic principles and practices applicable to all the disciplines of natural and cultural resources represented in NPS collections.

II. Preservation Law, Philosophy, and Practice

Participates in management of cultural and natural resources.

Knowledge of the mission and objectives of the NPS.

Knowledge of historic preservation and natural resource stewardship, history, and philosophy.

Knowledge of NPS cultural and natural resource management policies and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards.

Knowledge of NPS cultural and natural resource inventories and their utility in the management of cultural and natural resources.

III. Conservation Research

Conducts research in conservation treatment methodology or technical studies.

Knowledge of scientific research methodology.

Ability to conduct applied research in conservation or provide analytical services.

IV. Collections Preservation and Protection

Assists senior level conservators in the preservation and protection of museum collections.

Ability to perform a variety of conservation treatments and preservation strategies to museum objects and/or specimens.

Ability to conduct museum collections preservation and conservation surveys.

A. Preventive Conservation

Assists in the development of preservation programs for museum collections.

Ability to implement a comprehensive, long-term preservation program for museum collections including environmental monitoring and control, Integrated Pest Management, collections storage, and preservation requirements for exhibition and shipping.

B. Conservation Treatments

Treats museum objects according to professional standards.

Ability to make independent judgements regarding the level of conservation to be performed on individual items.

Ability to perform conservation treatments according to experience and education.

C. Conservation Documentation

Establishes and conducts standard photographic and written documentation procedures for conservation of museum collections.

Ability to produce professional documentation of conservation work, including condition of museum objects, recommendations for treatment, and treatment reports.

V. Program and Project Management

Develops conservation and preventive conservation programs.

Ability to plan, design, and implement assigned programs and projects independently and to identify and conduct other required work. Results are considered technically authoritative and are normally accepted without signification changes.

Knowledge of basic supervisory practices, including personnel management policies and procedures, and skill in motivating a supervised staff.

Ability to manage components of a comprehensive conservation program, including exhibits, collecitons management, archives management, and collections preservation.

Knowledge of NPS planning and programming activities and of potential sources of funding for conservation programs.

Ability to implement a comprehensive program with a long-term strategy to accomplish the conservation of a museum collection.

VI. Writing and Communication

Prepares treatment reports, planning documents, survey reports, and other written documents. Writes reports and other technical documents in field of expertise.

Ability to produce articles for peer reviewed professional conservation journals as well as other technical reports on treatments, trends, and the conservation program as a whole.

Ability to prepare and deliver effective talks on conservation topics and preservation issues to a primarily professional audience.

VII. Training

Directs the training of staff.

Ability to train other conservators in specialized conservation techniques.

FULL PERFORMANCE LEVEL - Conservator (GS-1001); Museum Specialist (GS-1016)

Description: The conservator at the Full Performance Level will develop and manage a conservation program at parks or centers. This will include the direction and performance of advanced and complex treatments on museum objects; management of a conservation laboratory; or advanced research in materials specialization. These positions may be at parks, centers, or system support offices. In centers and support offices, they will provide assistance to parks in establishing preservation programs.

I. Professional Discipline

Develops and implements a broad-based, multi-faceted conservation program.

Knowledge of conservation principles and techniques, including laboratory operations, administration, and exhibition.

Knowledge of the policies, standards, guidelines, and management principles established by the NPS and by the conservation profession, nationally and internationally, to govern the operation and development of museum and conservation programs.

Knowledge of the philosophy, accepted standards, and procedures for conserving natural and cultural museum objects and archival collecitons, including maintenance, exhibition, use, storage and preservation of museum materials, museum security, and environmental controls.

II. Preservation Law, Philosophy, and Practice

Participates in the management and preservation of park natural and cultural resources.

Ability to recognize the interrelationship of all resource management disciplines such as museum services, archeology, cultural landscapes, building preservation, ethnography, natural resource stewardship, and maintenance, and work within this divisional/disciplinary framework towards the joint accomplishment of cultural and natural resource projects and goals.

III. Conservation Research

Conducts research into conservation of museum objects.

Ability to conduct research in conservation treatment or materials preservation/ deterioration.

IV. Collections Preservation and Protection

Establishes and directs a preservation and protection program for the conservation of museum objects.

A. Preventive Conservation

Establishes a program for the preservation of museum collections.

Ability to assess and quantify conservation needs and develop strategies to address those needs.

Ability to develop and direct a comprehensive, long-term preservation program for museum collections including environmental monitoring and control, Integrated Pest Management, collections storage, and preservation requirements for exhibition and shipping.

B. Conservation Treatments

Establishes conservation procedures, directs and supervises performance of conservation treatments on museum collections, and supervises such treatments by others.

Ability to apply the professional body of knowledge of conservation in performing a wide variety of conservation treatments on various types of museum objects and/or specimens.

Ability to perform advanced and complex treatments on museum objects according to materials specialization.

C. Conservation Documentation

Establishes and oversees standard photographic and written documentation procedures for conservation of museum collections.

Ability to direct the production, as well as directly write, professional documentation of conservation work including condition of museum objects, recommendations for treatment, treatment reports, and analytical data.

V. Program and Project Management

Establishes and directs a comprehensive conservation program including a conservation laboratory.

Ability to manage a conservation lab and supervise its technical staff and projects.

Thorough working knowledge of the NPS budget process and financial systems and the ability to manage expenditures of funds in a correct and efficient manner.

Extensive knowledge of project management, particularly the integration of museum projects with other disciplines.

Knowledge of the full range of NPS planning and programming activities and of potential sources of funding for curatorial activities and object/archival/documentary preservation.

Ability to manage a comprehensive museum program, including exhibits, collections management, archives management, collections preservation, collections development, etc.

Ability to write specifications for contracting purposes; and to serve as the Contracting Officer's Technical Representative for conservation projects.

VI. Writing and Communication

Communicates on a variety of conservation topics.

Knowledge of copyright law and other laws pertaining to publication.

KNowledge of the publication process for written materials.

Ability to effectively communicate orally at briefings, professional conferences, training activities, and other forums to a primarily professional audience and program managers.

VII. Training

Trains other conservators, technicians, and interns in conservation practices. Establishes curricula for the training of staff in preventive conservation and simple treatments.

Ability to train staff in specialized materials conservation.

Ability to organize and conduct training through formal courses, on-the-job training, etc.

National Park Service
Training and Development Division
Essential Competencies
muscons.htm

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