Dr Éva Vámos, Director General, Hungarian Museum for Science and Technology
In Hungary the training of restorers is in general, solved at two levels: the Hungarian National Museum organises lower-grade one-year courses for middle-grade specialists that partly have already worked in museums as well as, based on the first one, a two-year special restorer training is also available. The University of Applied Arts organizes a five-year university level training. All three kinds of training are divided in specialities such as metal-, wood-, paper-, etc. restorer. From among the famous restorers working at present in the country a great number have obtained their degrees from other universities, many are chemists among them.
In order to solve their own special problems, museums of technical character mainly need metal restorers. Traditional metal restorer training focuses, in the first place, on restoring jewels and other objects of applied arts, and gives less knowledge about restoring large outdoor objects such as oil rigs, vehicles, cranes or lathes. That is why the Hungarian Museum for Science and Technology in Budapest felt it necessary to start, jointly with the Hungarian National Museum, an elevated-level technical restorer course. It is a two-year course. For the time being we have experience as to the results of the first year. The paper gives a detailed description of the curriculum which consists to 1/4 part of knowledge of museology, to 1/4 part of knowledge of materials, to 1/4 part to the knowledge of procedures/operations, and to the fourth part of practice. According to our experience chemistry was the most difficult subject, in which the greatest number of students had to repeat the exam. Among the students the camping-like one-week restorer practice at the countryside, in Pápa, at the Indigo Dye House Museum was the greatest success.
According to the organisational structure of the courses the students spend every month one week with studies, during the remaining three weeks they work at their museum. For a training of this kind there is a demand not only within the museum world but in the business world, too. It must be equally feared that museums train restorers for the world of collectors. Today, technical objects are collected by a considerable number of people, and they pay the specialists that restore their old-timer cars and motorcycles, their radio sets and tape recorders with professional skill, well. That is just why this training cannot be free of charge, however - in spite of this - we know today, who are going to be our students in two years.
An important condition of the professional protection of technical objects is that also smaller museums be able to employ trained restorers.