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What Is Conservation

Conservation is a profession that is devoted to the preservation of cultural property for the future.

Conservation activities include examination, documentation, treatment, and preventive care, supported by research and education.

Examination is the investigation of the structure, materials, and the condition of cultural property including the identification of the extent and causes of alteration and deterioration.

Documentation consists of the recording in a permanent format, of information derived from conservation activities.

Treatment is the deliberate alteration of the chemical and/or physical aspects of cultural property, aimed primarily at prolonging its existence.  Treatment may consist of stabilization and/or restoration.

Stabilization is a type of treatment procedure intended to maintain the integrity of cultural property and to minimize deterioration.

Restoration is another type of treatment procedure intended to return cultural property to a known or assumed state, often through the addition of non-original material.

Preventive Care (also referred to as preventive conservation) is the mitigation of deterioration and damage to cultural property through the formulation and implementation of policies and procedures for the following: appropriate environmental conditions; handling and maintenance procedures for storage, exhibition, packing, transport, and use; integrated pest management; emergency preparedness and response; and re-formatting/duplication.   

Cultural property is those objects, collections, specimens, or sites identified as having historic, scientific, religious, ro social significance.

Preservation is the protection of cultural property through activities that minimize chemical and physical deterioration and damage and that prevent loss of informational content. The primary goal of preservation is to prolong the existence of cultural property.

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