The curriculum of the first year provides students with an overview of the conservation field and its varied specialties: the history of art and artifact technology, the essential physical and chemical properties of materials, mechanisms of deterioration, the conservation treatment of cultural property, and the fundamentals of preventive conservation. At the end of the first year, students choose their major specialization. Specializations include furniture, library and archives, objects, paintings, paper, photographic materials, and textiles. Students in all specialties can also declare one additional concentration, such as preventive conservation.
In their second year, students focus on their specialty of choice with the objective of continuing to develop: basic hand skills, a thorough ability to examine and document the condition of cultural property, problem solving and ethical treatment decision making, and an understanding of the care and preservation of specialty objects.
The entire third year, or internship year, is spent under the supervision and mentoring of a conservation professional(s) at one or more host institution(s) or private laboratories, where students should function as cooperative and productive staff members. The fundamental objectives of this phase are to broaden students' exposure to specialty object problems and treatments, refine hand skills, build confidence in object assessment and decision making, improve report-writing skills, and develop responsible professionalism.
The Library and Archives Conservation Education (LACE) Consortium was founded to support the education of library conservators through the development of a shared, inter-institutional curriculum in library-related topics which enhances the individual curriculums at each of the participating art conservation programs. More information about the LACE Consortium and curriculum is available here.