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Metals Working Group

Triennial Programme 2017-2020

Working Group Activities and Projects 2017–2020:


Specific themes of research/investigation

1. Conservation Methods and Materials

  •  Study and Conservation of Composite Artifacts
    • This theme reflects overlapping concerns of several ICOM-CC Working Groups that deal with objects and collections that include metal components.
  • Stabilization Techniques
    • Stabilization techniques aim to arrest or slow down deterioration and include chemical, electrochemical, gaseous, and subcritical fluids. Other approaches include the use of coatings and corrosion inhibitors. This theme also incorporates mass treatment, in situ stabilization and risk management issues.
  • Outdoor Metals
    • This theme explores the study, documentation and treatment of outdoor metals, including industrial and engineering objects, military heritage, outdoor sculpture and art installations, and architectural metals.

2. Scientific Study and Investigation of Metals

This theme will encourage the exchange of information and techniques employed to better understand metal artifacts, and to share knowledge in relation to the design of conservation and preservation strategies stemming from these investigations and their relevance to the conservation community.

3. Preventive Conservation

This theme will explore past practices and new developments in the field of preventive conservation for metal objects. This topic includes the application of risk management for the preventive conservation of collections, particularly for collections containing functional objects.

4. Deterioration and Conservation of Modern Metals

There is a growing need in the conservation community to better understand the properties, deterioration and conservation of modern metals and their alloys such as modern steel, Corten, aluminium and nickel-chromium alloys. This theme explores current strategies to mitigate deterioration and how to characterize, clean, stabilize, and inhibit corrosion of these materials. It also includes awareness of ethical issues such as historical surface finishes, construction techniques and artist intent.



  • Organize and hold the 9th Metals Working Group Interim Meeting in Neuchâtel Switzerland, September 2019, hosted by the Haute Ecole Arc Conservation-Restauration (Hec-ARC).
  • Organize the Metals Working Group session at the 19th ICOM-CC Triennial Conference to be held in Beijing in 2020. Consider a joint session with another Working Group.
  • Promote any other related regional meetings, if appropriate.
  • Explore funding sources for attending meetings.


  • Strengthen social media platforms such as Facebook and ensure that there is official participation by the Metals Working Group. Encourage web-based communication and collaboration.
  • Revise the Metals page on the ICOM-CC website.
  • Try our best to produce one Newsletter a year.


  • Produce a high quality peer-reviewed publication for the 9th Metals Working Group Interim Meeting in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
  • Publish the papers from Aluminum: History, Technology and Conservation, held in April 2014.
  • Produce one or more Select Bibliographies for metals conservation. This is a short, targeted bibliography of the most relevant papers in our field on a given subject.
  • Produce a literature/bibliography list of all past Interim Meetings.


  • Continue collaboration with BROMEC – Bulletin of Research on Metal Conservation - as appropriate. This is a ‘community driven’ initiative and has no official connection with the Metals Working Group, other than many of our members are involved in research projects that are featured in the bulletin, and hence it is disseminated through our group.
  • Continue collaboration with ENAMELS Network, a sub-group shared between the Metals/Glass and Ceramic Working Groups. Promote and disseminate information exchange among the three groups.

General/strengthening the Working Group

  • Continue to expand the diversity of the Metals Working Group by actively reaching out to colleagues in countries and regions of the world currently less represented.
  • Launch a mentorship program for emerging conservation professionals and members in less developed parts of the world.
  • Encourage long-standing Metals Working Group participants to formally join the group as voting members!
  • Clarify the role of the National Contacts, particularly in countries where ICOM membership is difficult to obtain.


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