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  • So what is the field of art conservation? Conservation is defined by the American Institute for Conservation as the profession devoted to the preservation of cultural property for the future. The term cultural property describes a wide variety of material culture including objects, collections, specimens, structures, or sites identified as having artistic, historic, scientific, religious, or social significance. (1) (1) AIC Definitions of Conservation Terminology
  • There are painting conservators that specialize in the conservation of easel paintings
  • And there are conservators specializing in the conservation of painted surfaces – that is architectural surfaces that are painted as seen here, polychrome sculpture, painted furniture and other painted objects
  • There are also object conservators, professionals that specialize in preserving 3-dimensional objects of cultural property – some object conservators may specialize in a certain type of material,
  • Such as organic or inorganic objects
  • Others specialize in the preservation of archaeological artifacts
  • Conservators may also specialize in textile conservation,
  • Photograph conservation,
  • Furniture conservation
  • Natural history collection conservation
  • or outdoor sculpture
  • Paper conservation is another discipline within the field – paper conservators care for works of art on paper as well as historic documents in library and archive collections.


  • 1. Art ConservationArt ConservationHeather Brown and Eliza SpauldingHeather Brown and Eliza Spaulding 18 January 2011 18 January 2011
  • 2. What is Art Conservation? Image courtesy of Julie Heath & Ann Creager, Lunder Conservation Center.
  • 3. Science Art history Fine artPhoto courtesy of the Winterthur/University of Photos courtesy of Samantha Springer (top) and Photo courtesy of Stephanie Oman.Delaware Program in Art Conservation. the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.
  • 4. Inpainting an oil painting on canvasPhoto courtesy of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, by Lazlo Bodo.
  • 5. Consolidating paint on an architecturalinterior at Shangri La Photo courtesy of Natasha Loeblich.
  • 6. Consolidating paint on a mask fromPapua, New GuineaPhoto courtesy of Megan McFarlane.
  • 7. Basket composed of Ceramics and glass areorganic materials inorganic materials Photos courtesy of Winterthur Museum & Country Estate (right) & Julie Heath, Lunder Conservation Center (left).
  • 8. Archaeological exploration ofSardis, TurkeyByzantine shopPhoto by Dylan Smith, courtesy of Kate Cuffari.
  • 9. Stabilizationof a tapestry Photo courtesy of Christina Ritschel.
  • 10. Before and after treatment images of a gelatin silver print Eugene Smith, “Three Generations of Welsh Miners,” 1950, gelatin silver print. Photos courtesy of Christina Finlayson and Paul Messier.
  • 11. Furniture conservation treatmentPhoto courtesy of Brian Considine, The J. Paul Getty Museum.
  • 12. Monitoring a natural history collection exhibitPhoto courtesy of Tania Collas and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
  • 13. Conservators assembling a Louise Nevelson outdoor sculpturePhoto courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, taken by Joe Mikuliak.
  • 14. Bathing a work of art on paperPhoto courtesy of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, by Lazlo Bodo.
  • 15. History of paper
  • 16. History of paper~100 BCE
  • 17. History of paper~100 BCE 1000 CE
  • 18. History of paper~100 BCE 1000 CE 1690 CE
  • 19. Rittenhouse Mill
  • 20. Materials used for paper
  • 21. Papermaking process vatman screen/mold coucher layer press vat slurry feltsImages from Lalande, Art de Faire le Papier, 1761.