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STANDARD 6: Object Conservation Assessment
Objects selected for exhibit must be surveyed to establish their current condition and vulnerability to display and to provide an initial estimation of their individual treatment needs.
Once objects have been proposed for display they should be assessed by the exhibit conservator for condition and general treatment needs. The exhibit conservator should confirm that the object is not too sensitive to be displayed and should determine its level of vulnerability and what specific exhibit hazards it is susceptible to.
The information gathered from this conservation assessment will be combined with other pertinent information and assessments concerning exhibit conditions to form the object’s Conservation Requirements. These Conservation Requirements establish the type and level of protection the object requires while on display. The exhibit team members will use the object vulnerability and condition assessment in the future as a baseline to monitor changes in the object’s condition; the findings should therefore be clearly documented.
If the conservator determines that an object is in too fragile a condition to be displayed without extensive conservation treatments or is too sensitive to be displayed without complex design safeguards, the exhibit team should reconsider exhibiting that object. As described in Standard 5, the exhibit team can employ object rotation, use reproductions, or substitute an alternate object to avoid over-exposure of vulnerable objects.
click on the individual Guidelines below to read more information
- Guideline 6.1: The assessment of exhibit objects is conducted by the conservator who will recommend conservation strategies and mitigation features for the exhibit.
- Why is it advisable that the same conservator should conduct object assessment and also recommend conservation strategies for the exhibit?
- What individuals are qualified to perform object assessment?
- Guideline 6.2: Each object is individually assessed to determine its current condition, the specific exhibit hazards to which it will be vulnerable during display, and to provide an overview of treatment needs.
- What is the purpose of the object condition and vulnerability assessment?
- Why should each object be assessed individually?
- Guideline 6.3: Each object’s condition and vulnerability assessment is summarized in writing and clearly documented
- Why is it essential to clearly document the object vulnerability and condition assessments?
- What information should the written assessment include concerning object condition and treatment?
- How should object condition be documented?
- How should object vulnerability be documented?
- Sample Forms: Object Condition Report Form; Object Vulnerability Assessment Forms
- Guideline 6.4: A conservator writes a comprehensive treatment proposal for each object selected for exhibit
- What information should be included in the treatment proposal?
- When should treatment be conducted?
- Sample treatment proposal