What are Preservation and Conservation Technologies?


As long as there have been museums, their mission has been to preserve and conserve our collective cultural heritage. Preservation refers to the protection of important objects, artifacts, and documents; conservation is the science of maintaining objects in as close to their original form as possible. As technology evolves, archivists and conservators have encountered a steady stream of new challenges in both of these tasks. Digital objects can be as delicate as ancient objects, requiring special care, and changing technologies puts these digital items at great risk. Cultural works that are time-based add a level of complexity in the quest for preservation, due to the added consideration of the artist's intent, or context, or movement. Understanding and preserving how media is intended to be experienced while maintaining the integrity of its cultural identity encompasses a number of a considerations such as conservation ethics, legal agreements, availability of mechanical and/or digital materials, and historical scholarship. While museums have long employed specialists in artifact preservation, today new professionals are needed who understand digital and time-based media, and can address preservation and conservation challenges not only from physical, but artistic, cultural, engineering, electronic, and other multi-disciplinary perspectives.


INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Oct 30, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Teachers, schools (and their students) can be powerful players at a local level in gathering, recording and archiving aspects of local history and folklore. However, for this to become relevant on a larger scale (or to contribute to a repository of OER), leadership of a museum/heritage body with the requisite expertise would be required. Perhaps we should look to such national or regional bodies to instigate 'crowd sourcing' projects, to gather digital materials? - jimdevine jimdevine Oct 23, 2013
  • I think that a very interesting field where museums, universities and schools can find reasons to collaborate is intangible heritage . Preserving stories about your town, from the old people, or songs, pictures, dances, etc, in a way that can be geolocated, and used to build school projects is a very meaningful approach to learning using web 2.0 tools. - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Oct 31, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Possibly, to highlight explicitly intangible heritage.- gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

  • another response here

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on European schools education?

  • your response here
  • another response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form.