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Subject: Salaries


From: Peter Lundskow <plundskow>
Date: Friday, April 11, 2003
I read the posting from the anonymous young professional with much
interest (Conservation DistList Instance: 16:60 Thursday, April 10,
2003). While I agree with many of the points they bring up I take
exception to others. It is true that at almost every level of the
profession conservators are not very well compensated and often are
not completely valued by their institutions or as a national
resource in general. The person laments that there are only entry
level jobs with salaries in the $1,000-2000 a month range, that
conservation technician positions offer more job security, better
benefits, etc. and finally that established conservators should take
on the responsibility to demand a decent wage for those starting

There have been several entry level conservator positions at state
museums/historical societies in the past several years that have
ranged in the $2000-2500+ a month.  I have personally never heard of
a technicians' position that has more job security, etc. than a
conservator.  In fact when layoffs happen it is most always the
technicians that are the first to go. The issue has also been
brought up in the past that technicians are also a very undervalued
and under-respected profession but that is another discussion.  I
would be glad to point to specific examples if anyone is interested
but will not take up the space now. I believe that established
conservators try hard to get entry level positions funded at livable
wages but they are very often constrained by their institutions.  Is
it also not the responsibility of the graduating conservator to ask
for what they really need to live on by not applying to such

I will in closing state an current example from my own institution.
A few months ago we posted a position for conservator with a
starting wage of $2500 a month, good benefits, and state employment
job security (see Conservation DistList archives).  We would have
been more than happy to except applications from any current or
recent graduate of any of the master's programs.  We received none.
I do not know why this was the case, locale, perceived
provincialism? This is to show the writer that jobs with the
requirements they claim to search for do exist even in a sluggish
economy.  Incidentally, we have reposted the position and continue
to accept applications through the month of May.

Peter Lundskow
Chief Conservator
Indiana State Museum
Indianapolis, IN

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:61
                 Distributed: Wednesday, April 16, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-16-61-005
Received on Friday, 11 April, 2003

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