The discipline of conservation concerns the protection and care of the world's material cultural heritage. Everything is subject to the passage of time, and with that comes deterioration and damage. Even indoors, objects are exposed to light, fluctuating humidity, insect activity, careless handling, and more disastrous problems such as flooding and fire. Conservation uses state of the art techniques and follows rigorously defined ethical guidelines to keep objects in a condition as close as possible to their original condition, for as long as possible.
The conservation treatment of cultural heritage is governed by certain ethics, of which the most fundamental are:
Use minimal intervention to achieve the goals of treatment.
Use appropriate materials and reversible methods.
Fully document all aspects of the work, and retain the documentation.
Conservation slows the progress of deterioration and prevents damage. Treatment is used to stabilize damaged or deteriorated objects to prevent further damage and to restore some integrity to the object. Aesthetically, conservation strives not to restore objects to their original, pristine appearance, but rather to achieve an optimal compromise between the original intent of the object and its history of use. Every decision to alter the object in treatment is predicated on an understanding of its construction, history, and materials; every change is as much as possible designed to be reversible.
Conservation also encompasses the principles of preservation. In addition to direct treatment, objects can be protected through indirect means all aimed toward risk mitigation. These include proper storage containment or display, regulation of light, temperature, relative humidity, and air quality, environmental monitoring, prevention of pest problems, and disaster planning. Contact us to learn more about preventive conservation and collections care.
This conservator is a member of American Institute For Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC). All conservation efforts by Langdon Art Conservation, LLC, are carried out according to the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice set by the AIC. You may find these on the AIC website.
What is a conservator?
Conservators are specialists trained in the field through extensive coursework and practical experience. Coursework includes multiple classes in studio art, art history, chemistry, documentation, conservation science, and conservation techniques. To use the title, a conservator must hold a Master's degree in conservation and thousands of hours of related experience, or have undertaken traditional apprenticeship training. Each conservator specializes in a sub-discipline, such as paintings, works of art on paper, objects, textiles, books, or photographs.