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Treatments

Definition

The specific methods and materials by which an object is conserved. As part collections management, treatments range in the level of intervention on the fabric of an object, the duration of the treatment, and its relation to future care, conservation, and interpretation. Any physical treatment must be reversible and must by justified (in a Record of Decision) by careful documentation, research, analysis, testing, monitoring, and related work.

Standards

AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice, American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Work.

Code of Ethics and Guidance for Practice of the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property and of the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators, Canadian Association of Professional Conservators.

Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings, National Park Service

Weeks, Kay D. Historic Preservation Treatment Toward a Common Language, Technical Preservation Services for Historic Buildings , Heritage Preservation Services, National Park Service

Standards, Historic Preservation Technical Procedures, U.S. General Services Administration.

Chapter 8: Conservation Treatment, Part I, Museum Collections, Museum Handbook, Museum Management Program, National Park Service. [Download as PDF format file.]

Resources

Ch. 8: Conservation Treatment (download PDF format file), Part I, Museum Collections, Museum Handbook, Museum Management Program, National Park Service.

Selecting and Employing a Conservator in Canada,, Canadian Association of Professional Conservators.

"The conservation of an object normally involves two phases; examination and treatment. Usually these two steps and their fees are contracted separately.

"The first phase is the examination of the object to determine its condition and to propose a plan for its treatment and care. Following the examination the conservator should provide:

  1. a written report describing the present condition of the object;
  2. a written proposal for treatment (although a recommendation against treatment may be a valid outcome of an examination);
  3. an explanation of the expected results of treatment;
  4. an explanation of the potential risks involved in the proposed treatment;
  5. information on the type and the extent of treatment report you will receive upon completion of the work;
  6. a cost estimate;
  7. an estimated completion date.

"If you accept this treatment proposal, the second phase, the treatment itself, will follow. Until a contract is signed, no treatment will be started, and you are under no obligation to have the work done by that conservator. If you have any doubts, you should seek a second opinion from another qualified conservator.

"If, during treatment, new information is discovered that necessitates a significant deviation from the proposed treatment, you will be asked to sign a revised treatment proposal or contract.
When the work is completed you should receive a written treatment report which includes a description of any materials added to the object during the treatment. Photographs will be included if specified in your contract. You should also be given recommendations for the ongoing care of the object. The conservator will keep complete records of the treatment."

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