Museum Conservation

Welcome to the Museum Conservation Program

Programs offered:

B.F.A Program in Museum Conservation
Minor in Museum Conservation
Museum Studies Graduate Certificate


What is the Museum Conservation Program?

The Museum Conservation degree at NMSU seeks to prepare students in one of three ways:

  1. Student may complete a degree in Museum Conservation in order to work with art conservators in art galleries, museums, private collections and archaeological excavations with an understanding of conservation issues;
  2. Students may take courses in Museum Conservation to complement another degree (e.g., Anthropology, History, Biology, etc. including at the graduate level)
  3. After completing the Museum Conservation degree, some students may wish to apply to enter a graduate program to become an art conservator or continue in museum studies.

GRADUATE STUDENTS can also take the museum conservation courses at the graduate level as elective classes or as part of the MUSEUM STUDIES CERTIFICATE at NMSU, in order to learn curatorial work and collection managing with fundamentals in conservation and preservation.

What is
Art Conservation?

Art conservators attempt to protect material objects of all types from further degradation. This requires not only a knowledge of studio art and conservation techniques, but also of the chemical, biological and physical factors that cause works of art to deteriorate.

According to the University of Delaware:

“Art conservation is the field dedicated to preserving cultural property for future generations. Our cultural property is threatened by repeated exposure to a variety of detrimental factors including excessive light, temperature and humidity extremes, pests, pollutants, poor handling practices, natural disasters, and accidental damage. The survival of this heritage depends on the availability of educated and trained conservation professionals.

Conservators are professionals who are skilled in the scientific treatment and preservation of cultural artifacts. They have the specialized knowledge and skills in the arts, sciences, and other fields that enable them to undertake scientific studies on objects, stabilize the structure and reintegrate the appearance of deteriorated cultural artifacts, and establish an environment in which artifacts are best preserved. Conservators specialize in some particular material or group of objects such as paintings, art on paper, textiles, library and archival artifacts, photographs, archaeological or ethnographic materials, sculpture, furniture or decorative objects.

Our country’s museums, libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions, as well as individual collectors, rely on trained conservators to document, analyze, treat, and care for their collections. This work insures that these cultural resources are given the finest possible care and are available for the education, scholarship, advancement, and enrichment of future generations”.

BFA in Museum Conservation

Overview of Requirements

The BFA in Museum Conservation requires a total of 128 credits. In addition to the NMSU University General Education requirements (pp. 14-16, 2007-2008 NMSU Undergraduate Catalog) and the requirements of the college of Arts and Science (pp. 42-43), Museum Conservation majors must complete 79 required credits in:

Basic Sciences (Chemistry) (16 credits)
Museum Conservation (9 credits)
Studio Arts (15 credits)
Art History (18 credits)
Anthropology/History (15 credits)


Basic Science Requirements

(16 credits)

For students going to graduate school in art conservation (16cr.):
CHEM 111G, CHEM 112G(8cr) or CHEM 115, CHEM 116 (8cr.)
Plus: CHEM 313, CHEM314, CHEM315 (Lab) (8cr.)

For students NOT going to graduate school in art conservation (16cr.):
CHEM 111G, CHEM 112G,CHEM 211 (12 credits)
Plus: one from either (4cr.):
BIOL 211G/ BIOL 211GL Cellular & Organismal Biology & Laboratory (4cr)
EPWS 303 Economic Entomology (4cr.)

The core courses in MUSEUM CONSERVATION:

(9 credits, 3 courses; all required):

ART 401, Museum Conservation Techniques I
ART 402, Museum Conservation Techniques II
ART 403, Preventative Conservation/Collections Care

Students who wish to gain more hands-on experience can take ART 499,
Problems in Studio

All four of the above courses can also be taken for graduate credit at the 500-level.

Studio Art Requirements

15 credits (5 courses in STUDIO ART are required):

2 required courses (6cr.):

ART 250 – Introduction to Drawing and Painting (3cr.)
ART 260 –Introduction to Painting (3cr.)

Plus 3 electives (9cr.)

From either 200- level (or higher) Studio Art courses from different media areas

 (15 credits)

2 required courses, (6 cr.)

    • ANTH 315 Intro to Archæology (3 cr, required), and
    • One HISTORY course (3cr.) from among:
      • HIST 330V “Introduction to Religious Studies”; HIST 333 “Renaissance and Reformation”; HIST 334 “Art and Life in Renaissance Italy”; HIST 371 “Ancient Greece”; HIST 397 ”Introduction to Public History”; HIST 424 “History of Art, Thought and Literature”; HIST 438 “Antiquity and Modernity”; HIST 481 “Time Traveling Through New Mexico’s Past”, HIST 483 “Historic Preservation”; HIST 486 “Interpreting Historic Places for the Public”; HIST 484 “Historical Editing, Theory, and Practice”

Plus 3 electives from among (9 cr):

    • ANTH 334 Anthropology of Art Traditions (3 cr), ANTH 414 The Archæology of Religion (3 cr) ANTH 313 Ancient Mexico (3 cr, every FALL)), ANTH 316 Archaeology of the American Southwest (3 cr), ANTH 467 Archaeology of the American Southwest (3 cr), ANTH 318 Historical Archaeology (3 cr), , ANTH 485 Field Experience, ANTH 497 Special Topics (if archaeology) ANTH 378 Int-Lab Methods- Archaeology (3 cr, not offered every year)

(6 credits)
ANTH 345. Introduction to Museum Studies 3 cr.
ART 490 Museum Conservation Internship (3cr)

Museum Conservation Minor

An undergraduate minor in Museum Conservation requires the completion of 9 credits of the three 400-level museum conservation courses listed below, and  18 credits of the courses selected from one of the tracks listed below (Track 1, Track 2, or Track 3), for a total of 27 credits.

Museum Conservation courses:

ART 401 Museum Conservation Techniques I (3 cr) (Spring)
ART 402 Museum Conservation Techniques II (3 cr) (Fall)
ART 403 Preventive conservation – Collections Care (Directed Readings) (3cr)

Art Department –18 ELECTIVE Credits
ART 490 Museum Conservation Internship
ART 499 Problems in Studio
Art History (all time periods)
Studio Art (if the student decides to take all Studio Art courses it has to be from different media areas)

Anthropology department – 18 ELECTIVE credits:
ART 490 Museum Conservation Internship
ANTH 315 Intro to Archæology (3 cr),
ANTH 414 The Archæology of Religion (3 cr)
ANTH 313 Ancient Mexico (3 cr, every FALL)),
ANTH 316 Archaeology of the American Southwest (3 cr),
ANTH 318 Historical Archaeology (3 cr),
ANTH 334 Anthropology of Art Traditions (3 cr) ,
ANTH 485 Field Experience,
ANTH 378 Int-Lab Methods- Archaeology (3 cr, not offered every year)

History department – 18 ELECTIVE credits:
ART 490 Museum Conservation Internship
HIST 330V “Introduction to Religious Studies”
HIST 333 “Renaissance and Reformation”
HIST 334 “Art and Life in Renaissance Italy”
HIST 371 “Ancient Greece”
HIST 397 ”Introduction to Public History”
HIST 424 “History of Art, Thought and Literature”
HIST 438 “Antiquity and Modernity”
HIST 481 “Time Traveling Through New Mexico’s Past”
HIST 483 “Historic Preservation”
HIST 486 “Interpreting Historic Places for the Public”
HIST 484 “Historical Editing, Theory, and Practice”


Academic Departments Contributing to the Program: Anthropology, Art, History

Detailed Program of Study:
The Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies is a 3-semester (or one year + summer) program designed for individuals who want to enhance their understanding of museum work but do not need a master’s degree, or to be completed in conjunction with a Master’s degree in Public History, History, Art History, Anthropology, or Studio Art or other disciplines by permission. The Certificate in Museum Studies requires a separate application. Because certificates are stand alone qualifications and do not work like a minor, there is a strict ‘no rollover credit’ rule. To take the certificate concurrently with the MA, the student must apply for both from the start. If the student were to add on the certificate later in the course of his/her studies, the classes taken prior to his/her application will not count.


Core Curriculum (12 Credits):
ANTH 545 Introduction to Museology (3 cr)
ART 503 Preventative Conservation/Collections Care (3 cr)
HIST 586 Interpreting Historic Places for the Public (3 cr)
INTERNSHIP (credits from ANTH, ART, or HIST) (3 cr)

Controlled Electives (6 Credits)
2 courses chosen from the following:

ANTH 540 Cultural Resource Management
ANTH 542 Cultural Resource Management II
ANTH 547 Museum Field Methods
ANTH 548 Museums and Society
ART 501 Museum Conservation Techniques I
ART 502 Museum Conservation Techniques II
ART 579 Art Theory, Criticism, Historiography
ART 587 Exhibition Studies
HIST 579 Oral History
HIST 581 Time Travel Through New Mexico’s Past
HIST 583 Historic Preservation
HIST 594 Public History Seminar

Students Achievements

As part of the requirements for admittance in graduate programs, students have to work in internships at other institutions. This is the list of institutions where the students have attended summer courses or internships, studied for a semester, and/or taken a post-baccalaureate year, got a job or have been admitted in a graduate program. Graduate students also got jobs in several institutions. Just to name a few, these include:

2007 – Meghan Berver – got her Master in Museum Studies at The Cooperstown Graduate Program (CGP), (NY).

2007 Kendra Taylor- a year at SACI Studio Art Centers International – Florence, Tuscany (Italy).

2008-Jamila Hull – got a full-tuition scholarship for study abroad from the Siena School for the Liberal Arts (Italy). She was in Siena during the

2008 fall semester. She also got an internship at the Smithsonian Institution at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington D.C.. She worked at the conservation labs located in the Cultural Resource Center. Kelly McHugh was her conservation supervisor, (she was accepted as well for the Georgia O’Keefe Museum internship but had to decline due to same schedule with the Smithsonian internship. She will go to Santa Fe next summer.

2008 – Kathryn Venzor- worked for University of Pennsylvania, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology . Currently Eduaction Coordinator at Albuquerque Biopark

2010 – Capri Price- a summer to SACI, Florence (Italy) for a Joint Summer School experience. The other universities were Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Florida State University (FSU). 2010 – She worked for a conservation project at J.P.Taylor Monument in Mesilla, NM and at NMSU Kent Hall Museum. She took an online class “Archeology of Pompeii (Italy): Preservation and Archeology” by Oxford University (UK). 2011 – Georgia O’Keefe Museum, she got a job as technical conservator. Fall semester 2011: Internship with a Material Science/Conservation Science Lab in Portland University, (OR).  Currently in her second year of a Masters degree in Conservation Science in Portland University, (OR)

2010- Tiffany Santos (Holder) – Curator and Exhibit coordinator at Mississippi 4-H Museum (AL). She is currently the Curator at the Zhul Geological Collection at NMSU.

2010 – Josefina Maldonado – she got an Internship at the Library of Congress, in Washington D.C. Currently interning at El Paso Museum of History and The Magoffin Home. 2013- Interning a whole summer at the Conservation Department of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, (WY). She worked for a paintings conservator in Honolulu, Hawaii, for the summer.

2010 – Barbara Bogucki – got a job at the Mystic Seaport, (CT), for the summer.

2011 Hilary Dutcher – internship at the Amerind Foundation in Dragoon, (AZ).

2011- Peter Dean – after graduation worked at the National World War One Museum in Kansas City, (MO). Currently working at the Wickenburg Museum, (AZ)

2011 – Christina Garton – now works for Handwoven Magazine as an assistant editor.

2011 – Samantha Womack – Interned at the Archaeological Research Institute at Arizona State University. Researched and installed a Hohokam red-on-buff exhibit. She worked at the Institute of Historical Survey Foundation cataloguing and curating an exhibition on “Gaudy” Carnival Glass.

2011 – Annette Rosillo- worked at the Border Patrol Museum, El Paso (TX). Currently studying at the History Graduate Program at Sam Houston State University, in Huntsville, (TX).

2012 Dyanna Morkun – works at the Glen Foerd on the Delaware Historic Home (the last surviving riverfront estate in Philadelphia) as a Collections and Program Coordinator

2013 Lyndy Bush – Internship at the Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of Natural History (Botany Department). Restoring their 1,000 herbarium specimens that are dried on paper. They have water damage after hurricane Sandy and they are molding. She worked under a paper conservator. The Smithsonian will hire her for this job if they get a grant. She was also awarded $1,500 from the Stockman Scholarship. 2012 – Internship at the Museum of Nature and Science in Las Cruces restoring dinosaur tracks. Currently working with the large Japanese collection (over 3,000 items) donated to the city of Las Cruces. Cataloguing and organizing the collection.

2013 Whitney Jacobs –2 internships at 2 Los Angeles (CA) Museums: Anthropology Department of the San Bernardino County Museum (SBCM), and the Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage. She also attended a volunteer orientation at the Natural History Museum. In 2014 Whitney Jacobs graduated from the NMSU Museum Conservation Program in Fall 2013 and is one of two Americans to be accepted in the next cohort of the Erasmus Mundus Master’s Program (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students). She was one of only 25 non-European students accepted this year and the only one who won the scholarship. Jacobs will study for a Masters in Archaeological Materials Science for the Study and Conservation of Cultural Heritage Materials. The Erasmus Program, one of the most prestigious programs in the world, was created by the European Union (EU) in 1987 to foster educational exchanges within the EU. The Erasmus Mundus program is open to non-Europeans. Jacobs will spend two years in Europe while attending three universities: The Universidade de Évora (Portugal), Sapienza Universita di Roma (Rome, Italy) and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece). She also was accepted at the University of Lincoln, UK, for the MA Conservation of Historic Objects.

2013 Cassandra Canada – Summer Internship at the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum. Also she will attend in Baltimore, as an invitation from the Smithsonian, The Annual Meeting and Museum Expo by the American Alliance of Museums.

2013 Alonzo Garcia – was accepted to do an internship at the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum.

2013 Sydney Schaffer – paid internship with an art gallery associated with the SFMOMA in San Francisco, CA.

2013 Ereka Prevot – A whole year studying at the Leiden University in the Netherlands through the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). She will also be doing an internship in a museum there.

2013 Norma Hartell – is working at the Border Book Festival, Inc. in Las Cruces. She is currently focusing on learning book evaluation and care.

2013 Chantel Baker – working and doing an internship at the El Paso Museum of Art

2013 Diana Campuzano, also currently an intern at the Farm and Ranch Museum, Las Cruces, NM
Joanna Deardruff – Studying a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies, University of Bristol, England
Stephanie Hawkins – Studying at Arizona State Museum
Danny Stephens – working at the Magoffin Historic House, El Paso, as a curator
Kate Moorehead – working at Buffalo Gap Historic Village, Abilene, TX. As a curator.

Check the requirements in each department

Links of Interest

To learn more about the need for trained professionals to work in the area of museum conservation go to: Museum Artifacts In Danger Of Disintegrating

Join the “NMSU Museum Conservation Students” group on FACEBOOK !!!

Check the new blog “Emerging Conservation Professionals Network” which is a forum for professionals that just entered the field of conservation or for students trying to get to graduate schools in conservation.