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Subject: Conservation nomenclature

Conservation nomenclature

From: Paisley S. Cato <pcato>
Date: Tuesday, April 11, 1995
The text that follows was printed in the AIC Newsletter,
requesting input on the proposed definitions.  I offered to
forward the material for distribution

Thanks.  Paisley

        **** Moderator's comments:   This document has also been added
        the AIC sections in Conservation Online


    Proposed Definitions for  Conservation

    Definitions of terms used in the conservation field originally
    appeared in the Murray Pease Report (1963) and were incorporated
    into the AIC Bylaws.  The definitions in the Bylaws were published
    as an AIC fact sheet for the general public and were revised in 1991
    to clarify the meaning of the terms.  Since then, the need to define
    terms for use within the profession has become clear.  These
    definitions should also agree with the language of the Code of
    Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.

    In order to develop definitions for use within the profession, a
    working group (Pam Hatchfield, Frank Matero, Ginny Naude, Debbie
    Hess Norris, Shelley Reisman Paine, Carol Snow, and Dianne van der
    Reyden) used the revised fact sheet as a beginning and examined the
    terms in light of the definitions used by other organizations,
    including ASTM, SAA, IIC-CG, the ICOM Working Group for Training in
    Conservation and Restoration, the National Park Service in its
    Museum Handbook, and ICOMOS in its International Charter for the
    Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites.  Comments from
    the working group were incorporated into the suggested definitions
    and reviewed by the board.  We have attempted to keep the
    definitions broad, simple, and inclusive, although in some cases it
    is clear that terms such as "preservation" have very distinct
    meanings for individual specialties such as archives or
    architecture.  These terms may require definitions relating to those
    particular groups.  Refinements might appear as appendices to the
    definitions, or perhaps in the Commentaries to the Code and

    The definitions as presented here represent a working document.  We
    value your input and will make every attempt to incorporate the
    thoughts of other contributors. Please send your comments to me in
    care of the AIC office, 1717 K St., NW, Ste. 301, Washington, DC
    20006; fax: (202) 452-9328. Pam Hatchfield, Director, Public

    The proposed definitions are:

    CONSERVATION: All actions aimed at safeguarding cultural property
    for the future.  The practice of conservation includes the study,
    documentation, preservation, and treatment of cultural property in
    accordance with the AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.

    CONSERVATION PROFESSIONAL: An individual whose primary occupation is
    the preservation of cultural property in accordance with the AIC
    Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.  Conservation
    professionals have the education, training, knowledge, and expertise
    to perform specific conservation activities.  They may include
    practicing conservators, conservation educators, scientists, and
    collections care professionals.

    CONSERVATION TECHNICIAN: An artisan trained in specialized skills
    but not in the theoretical and practical aspects of conservation or
    in the use of a broad range of materials and techniques.

    CONSERVATOR: A professional dedicated to the preservation of
    cultural property who has the training, knowledge, ability, and
    experience to carry out conservation activities including the
    treatment of cultural property in accordance with the AIC Code of
    Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.

    CULTURAL PROPERTY: Individual objects, structures, sites, or
    monuments of artistic, historic, scientific, religious, or social
    significance that are an invaluable and irreplaceable legacy that
    must be preserved for future generations.

    DOCUMENTATION: All pertinent information, written and visual,
    accumulated during the examination and treatment of cultural
    property, including recommendations for subsequent care.

    EXAMINATION: All actions carried out to determine and document the
    structure, materials, and condition of cultural property, including
    the study of relevant historical information and identification of
    the extent and causes of alteration and deterioration.

    PRESERVATION: All actions taken to minimize or prevent the
    deterioration of cultural property.

    PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION: All actions taken to minimize deterioration
    and prevent damage to cultural property through the provision of
    appropriate environmental conditions and handling procedures for
    storage, exhibition, packing, and transport.

    RECONSTRUCTION: Re-creation of a cultural property or a part
    thereof, based upon factual evidence, but on little or no original
    material in order to promote an understanding of an earlier state or
    condition of a cultural property.

    RESTORATION: Modification of the existing materials and structure of
    a cultural property to represent a known earlier state.

    Definitions for conservation scientist, conservation educator, and
    collections care professional are under development by various

Paisley S. Cato, Ph.D.
Curator of Collections
Virginia Museum of Natural History
1001 Douglas Ave., Martinsville, VA 24112
Fax: 703-632-6487

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:83
                 Distributed: Wednesday, April 12, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-83-001
Received on Tuesday, 11 April, 1995

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