Students sharpen their skills at NMSU's museum conservation program, one of two in the country
NMSU offers students opportunities to develop unique skill sets that prepare them for advanced studies. One such program is the Museum Conservation Program, which trains students for graduate work to become art conservators.
Students gain practical experience while restoring bronze statues, religious retablos and other works of fine art. Silvia Marinas-Feliner, director of the program since 2002, said the program has had a 10-year record of steady growth, attracting out-of-state and international students from Japan and China.
Demand for the program began in 2005 after a survey, completed by Heritage Preservation and the Institute of Museum and Library, reported that an estimated 4.8 billion artifacts at 30,000 institutions across the country where in need of immediate restoration assistance.
"Damage is occurring at institutions of all sizes, but it is worse at small-town museums and historical societies," Marinas-Feliner said. "Most of our national heritage is in small museums that aren't well funded nor professionally run. Therefore, there is a great need for art conservators as well as people working in museums who are trained in museum conservation."