Thursday, May 7, 2009

Art Conservation

Art restoration is a highly touchy subject these days. There are varying philosophies on conservation and restoration, and general guidelines hardly apply to the vast majority of artworks. How to care for and prevent damage is of utmost importance, but what happens when a piece no longer resembles it's condition at the point of creation. How far should we go to preserve objects that, to be honest, will degrade no matter what we do?

In 2005, a report by the Heritage Preservation, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a U.S. federal agency, came out, entitled A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections, It concluded that immediate action is needed to prevent the loss of 190 million artifacts that are in need of conservation treatment. The report made four recommendations:
  • Institutions must give priority to providing safe conditions for the collections they hold in trust.
  • Every collecting institution must develop an emergency plan to protect its collections and train staff to carry it out.
  • Every institution must assign responsibility for caring for collections to members of its staff.
  • Individuals at all levels of government and in the private sector must assume responsibility for providing the support that will allow these collections to survive [10]