Treatments > Preventive Conservation


"Preventive Conservation: Preservation principles are based on the premise that preventing deterioration and damage is preferable to, and should always precede, active intervention by restorative treatment."

Sample Policy, ANLA Preservation Policies And Procedures Manual For Small Archives, Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives, 2000.

"...10 years ago preventive conservation was looking at the object. Then we widened our borders to see objects in their physical context, the room, the climate, the building. This was the first political jump. Now I see—and this is very recently that the next jump is its context in society. What’s the role of that building in that community?" Luiz Souza

Preventive Conservation: a Discussion, Conservation: The Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter, Volume 15, Number 2, Summer 2000, Getty Conservation Institute.

"Conservation treatments are no longer carried out as a matter of course, but only in those cases where the conservator considers intervention is necessary for the stability of an item. 'Necessity' can often be a consequence of earlier treatments that have not withstood the test of time and have broken down, damaging the object. A good example is that of an adhesive which has become brittle, discoloured or shrunk.

"The conservator will always choose to keep any intervention to a minimum level, carrying out research to find the most suitable and least aggressive method. Every stage of the treatment is fully recorded and documented and after the object is returned to display or storage its condition will continue to be assessed..."

Preservation & Prevention, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.

"...The actions taken under the banner of late-20th-century scientific preventive conservation are reworkings of traditional good housekeeping. And I don't mean just good housekeeping of collections but of building maintenance as well. If you look back to William Morris writing in the 19th century, he espoused ''little and often,'' which is what preventive conservation is in the context of building conservation." Sarah Staniforth

Sustainable Access: A Discussion about Implementing Preventive Conservation, The Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter Volume 19, Number 1, Spring 2004, Getty Conservation Institute.


Commentary 20: Preventive Conservation, Commentaries to the Guidelines for Practice, American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works read

Caring for Your Treasures, American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works read

Preservation & Prevention, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford read

Museum Handbook, National Park Service

Chapter 3: Preservation: Getting Started, 1999, pages 3:1 to 3:6, skim remainder

Chapter 4: Museum Collections Environment, 1999, read introductory pages to each section, skim remainder

Chapter 13: Museum Housekeeping, 1999, read 13:1 to 13:12, skim remainder

Historic New England

Environmental Conditions in Historic House Museums read

Roundtable looks at simplified environmental control systems in historic house museums read

Managing the Museum Environment, Chicora Foundation, Inc., 1994 read

Historic Housekeeping Handbook, Minnesota Historical Society, 2000

Knowledge bank, Explore our views on collections conservation, National Trust


Conserv-O-Grams, Museum Management Program, NPS

Environmental Controls (additional reading and bibliography) AIC

Heaver, Melissa. Housekeeping for Historic Homes and House Museums, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2000. Amazon

The National Trust Manual of Housekeeping: The Care of Collections in Historic Houses Open to the Public, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005 order, Amazon

Merritt, Jane, Julie A. Reilly, Lucy Lawliss. Preventive Conservation for Historic House Museums, Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, Google books, Amazon

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