What is conservation?

Conservation is concerned with the long-term preservation of cultural property through examination, documentation, treatment, and preventive care. Examination and documentation procedures are used to identify materials and methods of manufacture as well as assess condition and alteration through deterioration and/ or past repair. Analysis and research may contribute to the investigation of materials, deterioration mechanisms, and treatment protocols. Preventive care includes monitoring the collection’s environment to control temperature, relative humidity, light levels, pollution, etc. and promoting safe practice for the display, storage, and transport of objects. Treatment is undertaken to improve structural stability and aesthetic appearance. Intervention may include repair, reshaping, cleaning, restoration, and/ or toning. Conservation may address a wide variety of materials, including but not limited to documents and furniture, sculpture and textiles, archaeological artifacts and scientific specimens, buildings and photographs, paintings and ethnographic objects.