What's the difference between conservation and restoration?


What is art restoration?

Restoration as traditionally practiced, focuses its efforts upon returning an object or work of art to the object’s original state, an assumed condition, or an earlier appearance. In order to obtain these states, conditions, or appearances, often little regard is given to the historic “in-use” alterations and/or changes caused by the passage of time. In other words, restoring an object to its original state often erases the physical historic markers of an object's use by significantly altering physical evidence and original materials.

What is art conservation?

However, in the past 40 years, the restoration of art and historic cultural artifacts has evolved and developed into the profession of art conservation. Conservation of art and cultural property is an interdisciplinary approach which incorporates art, historic research, scientific analysis, and material science to document, stabilize, and preserve historic artifacts. Art conservation focuses on the stabilization and preservation of an object using preventative measures to inhibit on-going or future deterioration of the object or its components. This is accomplished by selecting methods and materials that, to the best of current knowledge, do not adversely affect the historic or artistic object’s original materials. Ideally, conservation treatments will not impede future examination or scientific analysis nor adversely impact future treatments or functionality of the object.
Conservation activities include examination, documentation, preventative conservation, and conservation treatment. It is important to note that conservation treatment may, but not always, include aesthetic compensation or compensation for loss. 

See our conservation work portfolio:

Transportation  |  Textiles  |  Sculptures & Monuments  |  Industrial Artifacts  |  Furniture & Objects  |  Ethnographic & Archeological  |  Paintings & Murals  |  Military Collections  |  Architectural

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