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  • Owner Person or entity (such as a museum or foundation), who has full title to an object as defined by law.

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: partial (?) Condition: partial (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: partial (?) Remedial conservation: partial (?) Treatment?: partial (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: partial (?) Presentation: partial (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Conservator Person educated in conservation and restoration techniques and ethics, who is responsible for maintaining objects in as stable a condition as possible, so that they remain accessible as long as possible and still represent the meaning attributed to the objects.

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: partial (?) Condition: full (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: full (?) Remedial conservation: full (?) Treatment?: full (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: full (?) Presentation: partial (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Conservation scientist Person educated and trained in the natural sciences or engineering, who conducts research and advises conservators and other collection professionals on technical and scientific issues and problems related to the active and passive conservation of objects and collections.

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: partial (?) Condition: full (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: full (?) Remedial conservation: full (?) Treatment?: full (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: full (?) Presentation: partial (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Collections manager Person responsible for overseeing and managing the entire logistics of collection ownership including registration, tracking and tracing, storage, and transport.

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: partial (?) Condition: full (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: full (?) Remedial conservation: full (?) Treatment?: full (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: full (?) Presentation: partial (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Curator Person educated, trained, and/or with experience in the appropriate cultural heritage field, who has responsibility for the content of a museum or collection, including selection and acquisition, research and planning of exhibitions, and the associated research.

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: full (?) Condition: partial (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: partial (?) Remedial conservation: partial (?) Treatment?: partial (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: partial (?) Presentation: full (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Registrar/documentalist Person responsible for identifying, describing, and cataloging objects in a collection. knowing where they are, and keeping track of their movements (tracking and tracing).

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: partial (?) Condition: partial (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: none (?) Remedial conservation: partial (?) Treatment?: partial (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: partial (?) Presentation: partial (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Historian Person educated, trained, and/or with experience in the appropriate cultural heritage field, responsible for all information related to the entire story behind an object, its development and fabrication, and for placing this information in context, context meaning, among others, time, location, use, meaning to people and society, political environment, etc.

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: full (?) Condition: none (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: none (?) Remedial conservation: partial (?) Treatment?: partial (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: partial (?) Presentation: partial (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Exhibition coordinator Person responsible for the logistics of presenting objects, collections or parts of collections in a given venue.

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: partial (?) Condition: none (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: none (?) Remedial conservation: none (?) Treatment?: none (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: partial (?) Presentation: full (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Museum and education officer Person responsible for explaining? information about objects and collections to increase public enjoyment and appreciation, (and to help other professionals with their work).

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: full (?) Condition: partial (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: none (?) Remedial conservation: none (?) Treatment?: none (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: partial (?) Presentation: full (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Photographer Person responsible for proper visual documentation of objects and collections using photo-reproduction techniques such as film, video, and photography.(digital imaging).

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: partial (?) Condition: partial (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: partial (?) Remedial conservation: partial (?) Treatment?: partial (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: partial (?) Presentation: partial (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Information technologist Person educated and trained in computer and software tecnology including social media and internet, responsible for all aspects of gathering and communicating digital information about objects, collections, and museums.

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: partial (?) Condition: partial (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: none (?) Remedial conservation: none (?) Treatment?: none (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: partial (?) Presentation: partial (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Health and safety officer Person responsible for ensuring that museum and collection professionals have proper conditions for their work, and that visitors have the proper conditions for moving about in collections and exhbitions. This includes adequate protection from hazardous chemicals, proper ventilation and lighting, and protection from physical danger.

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: none (?) Condition: partial (?) Conservation problem?: partial (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: partial (?) Remedial conservation: partial (?) Treatment?: partial (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: partial (?) Presentation: partial (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)
  • Security officer Person responsible for measures to prevent damage to or loss of objects due to events other than natural aging and use, such as fire, flood, theft, and vandalism.

    Assessment

    Meaning & Value: none (?) Condition: none (?) Conservation problem?: none (?)

    Conservation

    Preventive conservation: none (?) Remedial conservation: none (?) Treatment?: none (?)

    Use

    Archive/storage: partial (?) Presentation: partial (?) Accessibility?: partial (?)

Conservation: who, what & why?

How to use this tool

Move your mouse over an expertise in the left bar of this page to see whether this expertise is partially or fully involved in the different aspects of conservation.

Move your mouse over an aspect below to see which expertises are involved in this aspect.

We also offer a specific page about conservation terminology.

Explanation of aspects

Assessment

Meaning & Value

The meaning and value of an object is what people attribute to it. These involve many concepts, the more commonly used being aesthetics and beauty, use in rituals, historic and/or personal value, (pre-) historic evidence and artist’s or maker’s intent.

Condition

The physical, biological and/or chemical state of an object at the moment of examination. This includes characteristics such as color, form, signs of aging and discoloration, content of salts and contaminations, biodegraders, damage and deformation, and signs of usage (wear and tear).

Conservation problem?

A conservation problem arises when the condition of the object has changed to such an extent that the perceived value and meaning of the object is in danger of being lost. As examples, the varnish of a painting has darkened in such a way that what the artist wanted to express is not clear/visible anymore, a waterlogged wooden tool from an archaeological site will disintegrate and shrink into a misshapen piece of wood if dried uncontrolled or the silk fibres in a dress have oxidized to an extent where the colours have faded and the coherence of the textile is lost.

Conservation

Preventive conservation

Preventive conservation tries to create conditions to slow down the aging processes in an object as much as possible. This reduces the need for active or remedial conservation. Preventive conservation includes measures as climate control, lighting conditions, packing, registration, storage and risk management.

Remedial conservation

Remedial or active conservation involves the treatment of an object in order to bring it to a condition which is deemed to represent the meaning which is attributed to the object, and is deemed to be stable for the foreseeable future.

Treatment?

The conservator finds a way to preserve the object as long as possible. This can involve a combination of active/remedial conservation treatments (or not), and /or preventive conservation measures.

Use

Archive/storage

Proper documentation of an object and proper storage are important to the future conservation of an object.

Presentation

How an object is presented is a balance between explaining the meaning and value of the object on the one hand, and conserving it as long as possible on the other hand.

Accessibility?

Objects have a story to tell, and in order to do so, they must be available in some way, physically or virtually. The exact placement and condition of the object must be registered.
Idea and design: A.J. van Dam

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