Art conservation is the preservation of artistic creations, from the past and the present, for the historic value and enjoyment of current and future generations. Preservation of artistic creations includes preventative conservation, curative conservation and restoration.

Preventive conservation addresses the conditions that can lead to degradation during exhibition, storage, transport and handling.  Pest control, climate, light and packaging is considered and procedures are recommended by the Art Conservator to limit degradation and prevent damage.

Curative conservation involves direct examination of and intervention with the artwork by the Art Conservator to determine the origin of the degradation to stop or slow deterioration and to treat the degradation.

Restoration takes place when degradations of the artwork are stabilised. The restoration has for purpose to give back the visibility while maintaining the original aesthetic in keeping with its historical aspect.  

The Restorer is like a doctor looking at the symptoms to find the best treatment to prolong and maximise the life of the patient.

Art conservators abide by a code of ethics and practice. In Australia, they are members of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials (AICCM).

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