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Subject: Salaries

Salaries

From: Ramona Duncan-Huse <rduncan>
Date: Thursday, April 17, 2003
I have been employed by a mid-sized institution as a conservator for
23 years.  I can say it has been very difficult to get pre-program
or graduate students to consider internships in Midwest conservation
labs.  Over the past 20 years we have had two interns who went on to
graduate programs in conservation and only one (thank you Texas!) to
complete their final year in our lab.  Last year we advertised for a
permanent full-time Conservator position with a starting salary of
$38,500.00 with midpoint at $45,000.00.  The requirements for the
position were 3 years experience and a desire to treat the
collection--the position stated no other greater responsibilities
that would take them out of the lab.  The cost of living is more
reasonable here, so the salary seemed fine.  We received two calls
from our posting and two worthy resumes.  This situation is only
bolstered by my colleague's statement from the Indiana State Museum
who has a position open with few interested professionals.

The responsibility to preserve our collections goes across the
board, does it not?  I mean, we are taught that no matter the value
of the item we as conservators regard the item as distinct and treat
our collections in accordance with professional AIC guidelines.  Why
would it mean more to any conservator whether they treat an
antiquity or a 20th century circus broadside?  Art or archives?  But
for many, it does mean more.  There can be so much value placed upon
where a person works in this field (and what they work on) that many
conservators could confuse their own value with their institution
and its collections.

That can extend to senior conservators as well as their young
mentored ones. Sadly, this can actually be promoted in the graduate
programs as well. If a young professional conservator wants to grow
both professionally and personally, they might consider caring for a
collection that has not been protected all of its created life.  In
my state alone there are over 700 not-for-profit institutions that
have collections.  Slowly these museums, historical societies and
libraries are receiving federal funds for conservation projects.
They will receive more; and it could be possible that as other
(private) granting foundations become more open (minded) to funding
the culture represented by Midwest institutions, funds will become
even more available.  The cost to live in large east and west coast
cities can be expensive, but they do not represent the only
opportunity in this field.

Ramona Duncan-Huse
Director of Conservation
Indiana Historical Society
450 West Ohio Street
Indianapolis IN 46202
317-234-0093


                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:63
                 Distributed: Wednesday, April 23, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-16-63-004
                                  ***
Received on Thursday, 17 April, 2003

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