Conservation (art)

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Conservation work area at the Smithsonian American Art Museum is visible to the public through floor-to-ceiling glass walls

Conservation, also known as conservation and restoration or simply conservation, is a job where people try to protect the important parts of a culture for the future.

Conservation activities include examination, documentation, treatment, protection. All of this work is supported by research and education.

Definition[change | change source]

In traditional terms, the role of the conservator involves the examination, conservation, and preservation of cultural heritage using "any methods that prove effective in keeping that property in as close to its original condition as possible for as long as possible."[1]

The role of conservation is a kind stewardship.

The conservator has ethical guidelines, including

  • Minimal intervention
  • Materials and methods which can be undone if necessary
  • Full documentation of all work

An appropriate conservation strategy requires good judgment, taking into account

  • the views of the owner of the object
  • the heritage value and meaning of the object
  • the physical needs of the material

Gallery[change | change source]

This series of images shows the process of restoration of a mural in France.

References[change | change source]

  1. Walston, S., "The Preservation and Conservation of Aboriginal and Pacific Cultural Material in Australian Museums," ICCM Bulletin (Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials), Vol. 4, No. 1, December 1978. p. 9.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Conservation-restoration at Wikimedia Commons