"Hands-on intervention techniques applied to the physical
forms of museum, archive, and library materials and objects to
achieve chemical and physical stabilization, in order to extend
their useful life and ensure their continued availability."
Benchmarks in Collection Care for Museums, Archives and Libraries:
A Self-assessment Checklist (PDF format file
to download), re:Source, The Council
for Museums, Archives and Libraries, 2002, p. 15
"Conservation means all the processes of looking
after a place so as to retain its cultural significance."
"Conservation is based on a respect for the existing fabric,
use, associations and meanings. It requires a cautious approach
of changing as much as necessary but as little as possible."
ICOMOS Burra Charter, 1999, Australia
"Even with the best preventive care, museum conservators
need to perform treatments on objects to stop and, as far as possible,
remedy ongoing deterioration and damage. These may result from
the inevitable processes associated with the aging of the materials,
from 'inherent vice' where the use of certain materials and techniques
in the manufacture of the object creates problems for its preservation,
or from human intervention (earlier restorations, handling errors,
Treatment Development, Smithsonian
Center for Materials Research and Education