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Craft restorers at work

The restorer deals with the conservation and restoration as well as the scientific and technological recording of art and cultural assets. According to the various training directions, a general distinction is made between restorers who specialize in materials science (e.g. for paper , wall painting or textiles ) or according to art genres (e.g. for ethnological or handicraft objects). The restorer is either self-employed as a freelancer or in the public sector, e.g. B. at a museum or a monument authority . The English and French term "restaurateur" is misleading. She stands for the innkeeper .

Job title

The job title "restorer" is, except for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern not protected by law and Saxony-Anhalt, in the other German states. Therefore, freelance work is in principle possible without a proven professional qualification and is widespread in the field of repairing furniture or collector's items (e.g. toy restoration , doll doctor ). The professional title conservator , which is common in Great Britain and the United States , is also increasingly used in German-speaking countries. Internationally, the term conservator-restorer is common. The European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers' Organization (ECCO) recommends it .

job profile

Restorer's tool kit (Museum of Funeral Customs, Springfield, Illinois, 2006)

The activity of the restorer is primarily dedicated to the preservation of art and cultural assets. This work is characterized by respect for the original and its history. All working methods used must be gentle, reversible and comprehensible.

The German word “restorer” is based on the model of the Italian restauratore . The first scientific foundation comes from the founder and long-time director of the Istituto superiore per la conservazione ed il restauro in Rome, Cesare Brandi , whose theory of restoration is also available in German. It is not part of the restorer's professional ethics to pretend to be original.

Preventive conservation allows the creation of environmental conditions that prevent damage to art objects, culturally and historically valuable objects or architectural monuments and slow down natural signs of decay. This is mainly done by controlling the room climate (temperature, humidity and light radiation). In order to preserve works of art, it is essential to comply with these conditions: during their transport and during and after their conservation or restoration.

Conservation includes purely preserving measures to secure the traditional substance. Conservation interventions in the work are aimed at stabilizing the condition and stopping or at least slowing down further deterioration. The focus is on the material properties of the object. In general, conservation measures that serve the pure preservation of an object always have priority over restoration measures.

Restoration interventions are only carried out on the object when conservation measures do not work or only do so insufficiently. A restoration is to be understood as direct action on the cultural property with the aim of making it easier to read. Its aesthetic, historical and physical properties are respected as far as possible. Restoring means possibly making additions or reconstructions. The scope and nature of these measures will be determined by the result of a previous study of the substantial and historical inventory. Basically, the restorer should change the original as little as possible. The restoration measures are to be carried out very carefully and must be subordinate to the historical object. All measures carried out should also be reversible, ie they should be traceable again. In addition to a high level of art-historical knowledge and material science , as well as a precise knowledge of historical craft techniques, interpretative skills and empathy are important components, especially in the area of ​​adding missing spots on the art object .

Accordingly, the hybrid position of the restorer between craftsman and artist , which is due to the historical development of the profession, is shifting more and more into the technical-scientific field. This development is taken into account with the term conservation and restoration science.


There are several options for training to become a restorer. In German-speaking countries, studies at technical colleges, academies and universities have established themselves, some of which cooperate with non-university institutions. In addition, especially in Germany, there is the opportunity to train as a "restorer in the craft". There is also a specialist academic training in Germany with a degree as a state-certified restorer .


Graduated restorer and restorer BA / MA

The degree of diploma restorer or diploma restorer (FH) can be obtained since 1974 (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden, HfBK Dresden) or 1977 (Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart, ABK Stuttgart) via a one-year pre-study internship and study at a university , Academy or university of applied sciences . It is now possible to study at nine locations in German-speaking countries: Berlin, Dresden, Erfurt, Hildesheim, Cologne, Mainz, Munich, Potsdam, Stuttgart, Vienna, Bern, Le-Chaux-de-Fondes and Riggisberg.

In the course of the Bologna process , the two-stage degree was introduced, in which the academic degree of a bachelor's degree is first acquired and then a master's degree is completed. The only exception is the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (HfBK) in Dresden, which has retained the diploma.

Depending on the type of training (Bachelor or Master), the course lasts between three and six years. At the two art academies in Dresden and Stuttgart, as well as at the Technical University of Munich, there is also the opportunity to do a doctorate in conservation / restoration as a Dr. phil. or to the Dr. rer. nat.

The admission requirements for studying differ depending on the university. In order to apply for a degree, in addition to the (technical) higher education entrance qualification, proof of a preparatory internship is required, the duration of which can vary depending on the university (usually at least twelve months). The subject-related pre-study internship can take place in a museum, in the preservation of monuments or with freelance restorers. It is important that the way of working there corresponds to today's ethical principles of restoration. Most training centers also require an aptitude test and, in some cases, the submission of a portfolio with which artistic empathy and an understanding of the humanities and natural sciences are demonstrated.

The course has a strong scientific component and includes the acquisition of subject-related knowledge as well as elements from related disciplines. The curriculum includes, for example, conservation and restoration in theory and practice, the history and ethics of restoration, methodology and documentation of conservation and restoration measures as well as materials science and art history, but also scientific research methods from the fields of microbiology, chemistry and physics.

When entering the course, students usually specialize in a certain subject, i. H. on a material or object group. Sometimes a combination of two specializations is also common. The compositions and names of the disciplines vary depending on the university. However, there are essentially the following disciplines:

  • Archaeological heritage and excavation technology
  • Ethnographic objects / folklore and ethnology
  • Film / photo / data carrier
  • Paintings and polychrome sculptures
  • Glass / mosaic
  • Graphics, archive and library material / paper / book
  • Ceramics
  • Handicraft objects
  • metal
  • Modern materials
  • Furniture and wooden objects
  • Musical instruments
  • Preventive conservation
  • stone
  • Technical cultural asset
  • Textile
  • Wall painting and architectural surfaces / colors

In Germany, the Association of Restorers (VDR) represents the interests of academically trained restorers. In Austria, the Austrian Association of Restorers (ÖRV) is the lobby group. In Switzerland, the Swiss Association for Conservation and Restoration (SKR) advocates the interests of restorers.

Restorer in the craft

Restorer in the craft is a recognized advanced training qualification for master craftsmen. He was appointed by the main committee for culture of the Central Association of German Crafts. V. based on a study by the German Center for Crafts and Monument Preservation Johannesberg Fulda e. V. (insolvency in 2001, today: Propstei Johannesberg gGmbH) in 1992. The additional job title, which is awarded after further training with a final examination, may only be used in connection with the respective craft. The association Restaurator im Handwerk e. V. represents the interests of restorers in the trade .

As a result of the European Year of Monument Protection in 1975, the craft sector reacted to the challenges associated with monument protection and preservation. Because the implementation of the objectives of monument protection in the practice of monument preservation lies to a large extent in the hands of craftsmen. However, they are increasingly confronted with tasks and framework conditions that differ significantly from those of their original professional training.

Training in the craft is regulated by the craft regulations, amendment January 1, 2004. In order to obtain further training and further education as a restorer in the field of craft, an apprenticeship must first be completed. With the appropriate qualifications, a master craftsman's degree can then be acquired in a total of 41 trades. Building on this professional qualification, there is the option of attending a further training course lasting several months , which, if successfully completed, leads to the professional title of Certified Restorer in Carpentry in addition to the master's title . Corresponding further training and qualification measures to become a certified restorer in the craft are also available for other trades in the craft.

With the adoption of the "Special legal provisions for the advanced training examination for restorers in the craft" in 1984 by the German Chamber of Crafts, the craft, in coordination with the official monument preservation, created the basis for the professional qualification that extends beyond the craft occupation to tasks and activities qualified in the preservation of monuments. Corresponding courses of study and series of seminars have been and are being carried out in the specialized centers of the “Working Group of Advanced Training Centers in Crafts and Heritage Preservation (ARGE)”. In 1992, the Central Association of German Crafts (ZDH) adopted the official job description and job characteristics of the restorer in the craft .

The job profile defines the restorer in the craft as follows: It is an additional qualification through in-depth knowledge and skills in the artisanal preservation of monuments, which is inconceivable without solid training in the craft. The restorer in the craft has learned to recognize the historical statement and artistic peculiarity of a monument and its parts and is guided in his work by the respect for the original substance as a historical testimony and the performance of his professional ancestors.

The restorer in the craft knows about the uniqueness of each monument and prefers individual craft solutions for each individual restoration measure. In his decisions, he takes the principles of reversibility into account and knows how to use his manual skills for repair measures that serve to preserve the original substances.

"The restorer in the craft remains a member of a craft profession." For his work at the monument, he learned to deal with scientific concepts and reports. Therefore, the restorer accepts the limits of his knowledge and skills in the craft and, if necessary, consults other specialists. The constant exchange of experiences as well as the trusting cooperation with everyone involved in the preservation of monuments are part of his everyday work.

Crafts in monument preservation

The trades relevant to monument preservation are:

Educational institutions

Universities, technical colleges

  • Berlin University of Technology and Economics : The “Conservation / Restoration and Excavation Technology ” course has four main focuses: Archaeological-historical cultural assets, audio-visual and photographic cultural assets, modern materials and technical cultural assets and excavation technology.
  • University of Applied Sciences - Erfurt : courses in archaeological cultural assets a. Handicrafts, architecture and Room setting, painted surfaces and furnishings, glass painting, etc. Glass windows, plastic sculptures, etc. Architecture made of stone.
  • HAWK Hochschule Hildesheim / Holzminden / Göttingen : Degree courses in Conservation and Restoration (BA) and Conservation and Restoration Science (MA) with a focus on books and paper, mounted wooden objects and paintings, furniture and wooden objects, stone and ceramics, wall painting / architectural surface (location Hildesheim) . Degree in Materials Science in Construction and Restoration (Ma.Sc., Holzminden location)
  • University of Applied Sciences - Cologne : Fields of study: restoration and conservation of paintings and sculptures, objects made of wood and materials of the modern age, written material, graphics and book illumination, wall paintings and objects made of stone, textiles and objects made of leather.
  • University of Applied Sciences - Potsdam : study areas conservation and restoration of wall paintings and historical architectural colors, objects made of stone and their mounted surfaces, objects made of wood and their mounted and refined surfaces.
  • University of Fine Arts - Dresden : courses in art technology, conservation and restoration of art and cultural assets.
  • Johannes Gutenberg University and Roman-Germanic Central Museum - Mainz : dual degree program, majoring in archaeological objects
  • Goering Institute e. V. - Munich: State-recognized specialist academy for the training of restorers for furniture and wooden objects. (Furniture and Sculpture Department)
  • State Academy of Fine Arts - Stuttgart Fields of study: restoration and conservation of paintings and sculptures; Restoration and conservation of archaeological, ethnological and handicraft objects; Restoration and conservation of graphics, archival and library material; Restoration and conservation of wall paintings, architectural surfaces and stone polychromy and conservation of new media and digital information.
  • Technical University of Munich : Conveying a wide range of conservation, restoration, art technology, materials science, natural science and humanities teaching content with the option of focusing on the main course.

Training centers

  • Working group of educational centers for craft heritage preservation.
  • European training center for the stonemasonry and stone carving trade in Wunsiedel
  • Education center for the stonemason and stone carving trade in Königslutter
  • Hessian watchmaking school - Neu Anspach : Further training course for the professional title restorer in the watchmaking trade
  • Academy Schloss Raesfeld e. V., nationally recognized, European Center for Corporate Management, Experts and Monument Preservation, advanced training as a “Certified Restorer in the Crafts”.
  • Association for the Promotion of Crafts and Monument Preservation e. V. Trebsen Castle, advanced training to become a “certified restorer in the craft”.
  • Propstei Johannesberg gGmbH, advanced training in the preservation of historical monuments and renovation of old buildings, advanced training to become a “certified restorer in the craft”.
  • Center for Handicraft and Monument Preservation of the Koblenz Chamber of Crafts in Herrstein, advanced training for "Certified Restorer in the Handicraft"
  • ÜAZ Bauwirtschaft Frankfurt (Oder) -Wriezen, center for restoration, monument preservation and wood technology, advanced training "Certified restorer in the craft".
  • Görlitzer Training Center for Crafts and Monument Preservation e. V., advanced training "Certified restorer in the craft".


Since the profession of 'restorer' does not exist as an apprenticeship in Austria , training takes place as a professional specialization in a relevant trade, or in the context of art history, or as an artistic university degree.


  • Bern University of the Arts : Fields of study: painting and sculpture, architectural surfaces and interior design, graphics, written material and photography, textile restoration and modern materials and media.
  • Haute école de Conservation-restauration La Chaux-de-Fonds : Fields of study: archaeological and ethnographic objects
  • Abegg Foundation Riggisberg : Field of study: textile restoration

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: restorer  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Restoration Act ( Memento of October 24, 2003 in the Internet Archive ).
  2. Michael Petzet: Principles of the preservation of monuments. In: Monument preservation information . Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation. Munich 1987.
  3. This is the title of a traveling exhibition that has been running through museums in Germany, Austria and Switzerland since 1994: A Changing Profession. Restoring does not mean doing again. Catalog edited by Ralf Buchholz and Hannes Homann, Hanover (Schäferart), 1994, 1997
  4. Article: Preventive Conservation on Restorer in Munich
  5. Brandenburg State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeological State Museum (ed.): Teaching for practice - practice in teaching = workbooks of the Brandenburg State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeological State Museum 45th Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft , Worms 2016. ISBN 978-3-88462-369-5
  6. read in: Restorer: An academic profession for 50 years:
  7. Patricia Brozio, Isabella Haag: Education and training . In: Redaktion Restauro (Ed.): Restauratoren Handbuch 2012/13 . Callwey Verlag, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-7667-1962-1 , p. 13 .
  8. Study of Restorers - Association of Restorers. In: Association of Restorers VDR. Retrieved on March 2, 2020 (German).
  9. Ordinance on the examination for the recognized advanced training qualification Certified restorer in the craft of December 3, 2019 ( BGBl. I p. 2542 )
  10. Archived copy ( Memento from December 16, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  11.  ( page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  12. a b Archived copy ( Memento from December 16, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  13. Archived copy ( memento from December 16, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) job description of the restorer of the Central Association of German Crafts on
  14. HTW Berlin: Conservation and Restoration / Excavation Technology - Bachelor - Conservation / Restoration / Excavation Technology Bachelor - HTW Berlin. In: Retrieved October 16, 2016 .
  18. Archived copy ( Memento from August 20, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  21. paper
  24. ( Memento from July 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  25. ARGE. In: Retrieved October 16, 2016 .
  26. Kellner - Kolar GbR: Hessische Uhrmacherschule (HUS). In: Retrieved October 16, 2016 .
  28. Archived copy ( Memento of December 3, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  33. ( Memento from September 24, 2008 in the Internet Archive )