Conservation Ethics

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Conservation Ethics and Theory[edit | edit source]

Contributors: Michele Marincola, Jessica Walthew, Natalya Swanson, Emily Frank, Ronel Namde , Cathie Magee

This bibliography has been organized chronologically to provide a sense of the historical/chronological development of writing on the topic of conservation ethics. Tags may be added to the entries, along with annotations by the wiki editors where appropriate. You can try search by article author or by tag by using control+F + the term of interest.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The history of the conservation field and the history of conservation ethics are intimately intertwined. This page is intended to provide a cross-disciplinary bibliography, and demonstrate the interconnected nature of developments in different subfields, but is not geographically comprehensive as it is biased toward American conservation and museums and archaeological sites. Contributions from libraries and a greater range of specialties is highly encouraged.

Readers may be interested to browse some of the overview articles first rather than delving into readings specific to their field(s) of interest. For those new to this literature, Miriam Clavir (1998), Vivian van Saaze (2013), and Hanna Holling (2017), provide good overviews of the development of the field, with Clavir’s focus on professional values of particular interest with respect to the development of conservation ethics. Several parallel histories of the field could be told by looking at the development of museum conservation laboratories (see Stout, Packard, Bewer, Plenderleith, Ashley Smith), graduate training programs (Keck, Stoner), or International Charters (Matero, Jokilehto; and more specifically tackled in the literature of architectural conservation, being spun off into its own Wiki page).

While many early sources refer to conservators’ obligations to the artist, work itself, or to a broader sense of “history” or “the future,” more recent ethical attention has been put on conservators’ responsibilities with respect to the communities (beyond owners) for whom objects hold significance, and to recognize the inherent subjectivity in decision making. Aside from shifting norms with regard to what is perceived as material change or damage, a larger conversation is now taking place about the ethics of museum collections, the art market, and private ownership of (especially) cultural materials at large, along with parallel conversations about how sites and monuments represent and reinforce majority political narratives while erasing or eliding others.

Tags: (add here) (Each tag could eventually get its own mini introduction)













19th- and 20th-Century and Secondary Literature[edit | edit source]

N.S. Price, M.K. Talley Jr., and A.M. Vaccaro (Eds.), 1996. Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. Los Angeles, CA: Getty Conservation Institute.

Almost all of the historic primary sources are collected in this comprehensive volume (in translation). Highly recommended introduction to issues in conservation.

Cesare Brandi 1960 [1996]. “Theory of Restoration, I.” Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. 230-235. See subsequent literature by Matero (2007), Barassi (2009) and Schadler-Saub (2010).

Philippot, Paul [1972]. “Historic preservation: philosophy, criteria, guidelines.” In Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. 367-382. ---- See also Joyce Hill Stoner (200X?)

Riegl, A. 1903 [1996]. "The Modern Cult of Monuments: Its Essence and Its Development.” In N.S. Price, M.K. Talley Jr., and A.M. Vaccaro (Eds.), Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. Los Angeles, CA: Getty Conservation Institute.

Originally published as Der moderne Denkmalkultus, sein Wesen, seine Entstehung (Vienna: W. Braumüller, 1903). See subsequent literature by Barassi (2007) and Hayes (2019).

Plenderleith, Harold, and Alfred Emil Anthony Werner. 1966. The Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art: Treatment, Repair and Restoration. Oxford University Press.


Stout, George L. 1977. "Changes of Attitude Toward Conservation in the Arts." In Preprints of papers presented at the fourth annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, Dearborn, 1976. American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works: Washington DC, US. 20-22.

Keck, Caroline K. 1978. "The Position of the Conservator in the Last Quarter of the Twentieth Century." Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 18(1): 3-7.

Cohn, Marjorie B. 1978. "George Stout's Legacy." Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 18(1): 8-9.

Packard, Elisabeth C.G. 1980. "George Stout and the Art Technical Sections of the AAM Annual Meetings in the 1930s and 1940s. Parts I & II." In AIC Preprints. American Institute for Conservation 8th Annual Meeting, San Francisco. Washington, DC: AIC. 72-83.


Konaré, Alpha Oumar. 1983. “Towards a New Type of ‘Ethnographic’ Museum in Africa.” Museum International 35(3): 146-151. #MageeGuptaBib

Richardson, John. 1983 "Crimes Against the Cubists." The NY Review of Books.

[This article intelligently sets out the problems with varnishing Cubist pictures, and the subsequent protest letter to the editor from Caroline Keck, followed by a response from Richardson – M. Marincola 9/2013]

Etherington, Don. 1985. “Book Conservation and the Code of Ethics.” The Book and Paper Group Annual 4. #MageeGuptaBib

Thomas, Denise. 1985. “The Code of Ethics and the Conservation of Art on Paper.” The Book and Paper Group Annual 4.

Colalucci, Gianluigi. 1986. “Michelangelo’s Colours Rediscovered.” In The Sistine Chapel: The Art, the History, and the Restoration. New York: Harmony Books. 260- 265. [A pro-restoration account of the Sistine Chapel cleaning, to be read with Beck & Daley for an opposing view]

Caldararo, Niccolo Leo. 1987. "An outline history of conservation in archaeology and anthropology as presented through its publications." Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 26(2): 85-104.

Spier, Jeffrey. 1990. "Blinded with Science: the Abuse of Science in the Detection of False Antiquities." In Burlington Magazine 132(1050): 623-631. [M. Marincola, 9/2013]

Banks, Paul N. 1990. "Preservation, Library Collections, and the Concept of Cultural Property." In Libraries and Scholarly Communication in the United States. Edited by Phyllis Dain and John Y. Cole. New York: Greenwood Press. #library


Mellor, Stephen P. 1992. “The exhibition and conservation of African objects: considering the nontangible.” Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 31(1):. 3-16.

Ashman, John. 1993. “Ethics in Conservation.” Journal of the Society of Archivists 14(1): 15–24. #MageeGuptaBib

Beck, James and Michael Daley. 1993. “The Sistine Chapel.” In Art Restoration: the Culture, the Business and the Scandal. London: John Murray. 63-102.

[James Beck is one of the major critics of conservation/restoration, as might be inferred from the title of the book in which this chapter appears. While his writing is highly polemical and most conservators will not agree with his viewpoints on this or other topics, this chapter presents a sharp criticism of conservation work carried out at the Sistine Chapel. This debate (and others) brought serious attention to the field in the late 1980s/90s and is one of the most important “controversies” in the field of paintings conservation. To be read with Colalucci (1986) as an opposing view.-JW]

Kreps, Christina. 1994. “The Paradox of Cultural Preservation in Museums.” The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society 23(4): 17. #MageeGuptaBib

Lowenthal, David. 1994. “Identity, heritage, and history.” In Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity. Edited by John R. Gillis. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 41-57.

Diebold, William J. 1995. “The Politics of Derestoration: The Aegina Pediments and the German Confrontation of the Past.” Art Journal 54(2): 60-66. [M. Marincola, 9/2013]

Describes the removal of Thorvaldsen’s marble restorations to the statues from Aegina in the Munich Glyptotek in their political context in post-WWII Germany.] #archaeology

Hamlish, Tamara. 1995. “Preserving the Palace: Museums and the Making of Nationalism(s) in Twentieth-Century China.” Museum Anthropology 19(2): 20–30. #MageeGuptaBib

The Palace Museums in China are of great cultural significance. The Chinese government has used interpretation of objects as a way to shape the cultural narrative and reinforce the moral authority and political legitimacy of the People’s Republic of China. Viewers are called to defend this supremacy. (After a quick search, this still seems to be the case. See: Vickers, Edward. (2007). Museums and nationalism in contemporary China. Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education. 37. 365-382. 10.1080/03057920701330255)

Clavir, Miriam. 1996. “Reflections on Changes in Museums and the Conservation of Collections from Indigenous Peoples.” Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 35(2): 99–107. #MageeGuptaBib

Dykstra, Steven. 1996. "The Artist's Intentions and the Intentional Fallacy in Fine Arts Conservation." Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 35(3): 197-218.

[Dense and very thorough, this article explains the intentional fallacy in art/philosophy/literary scholarship (orig. Wimstatt and Beardsley, 1946) as it applies to art conservation, arguing that we do not have access to the supposed artist’s intention through the work itself. Read alongside Irvin (2006) and Wharton (2016) for a convincing dismissal of “artist’s intention” as a guideline for ethical practice]

Oddy, W. Andrew. 1996. “The Forbes Prize Lecture 1996.” Bulletin of IIC 5(October): 1–5.

[Proposes a "code of practice" rather than a "code of ethics", see p. 5. #MageeGuptaBib]

Baer, N.S. 1998. “Does Conservation Have Value?” In 25 Years School of Conservation: The Jubilee Symposium Preprints. Edited by K. Borchersen. 15-19. Kobenhavn: Konservatorskolin Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi.

Clavir, Miriam. 1998. “The Social and Historic Construction of Professional Values in Conservation.” Studies in Conservation 43(1):1-8. #MageeGuptaBib

[Highly recommended description of the evolution of the field of conservation and its attendant professional values-- particularly the scientific approach to preserving the physical nature of works. Clavir focuses on Canadian and British conservation but the historical trajectory she outlines is also applicable to American conservation.]

O'Keefe, P. J. 1998. "Codes of Ethics: Form and Function in Cultural Heritage Management." International Journal of Cultural Property 7 (1): 32–51. #MageeGuptaBib

Plenderleith, H. J. 1998. "A History of Conservation". Studies in Conservation. 43 (3): 129–143. International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. JSTOR 1506740.

Sease, C. 1998. “Codes of Ethics for Conservation.” International Journal of Cultural Property 7 (1): 98–115. #MageeGuptaBib

This article examines the codes of ethics of the British, Canadian, Australian, and American professional conservation organizations and evaluates their success in meeting the needs of the discipline as it grows and matures. She looks specifically at how the COE falls short in regard to a single standard for treatment, cultural sensitivity, and the antiquities trade. A great overview on the history of COE in conservation, as well as discussions surrounding various points in the COE.


Avrami, E.C., R. Mason, and M. De la Torre. 2000. Values and Heritage Conservation: Research Report. Los Angeles, CA: Getty Conservation Institute.

[Best overview of the topic of values-based conservation to 2000, including essays by a range of authors. Highly recommend the useful and concise introduction, and David Lowenthal’s essay. Free online access]
"Values give some things significance over others and thereby transform some objects and places into “heritage.” The ultimate aim of conservation is not to conserve material for its own sake but, rather, to maintain (and shape) the values embodied by the heritage—with physical intervention or treatment being one of many means toward that end. To achieve that end, such that the heritage is meaningful to those whom it is intended to benefit (i.e.,future generations), it is necessary to examine why and how heritage is valued, and by whom." (Avrami et. al p7)

Banks, P. N. & Pilette, R. 2000. Preservation: Issues and Planning. Chicago: American Library Association.

[Includes chapters on Selection for Preservation" (Carolyn Harris); (13) "The Conservation of General Collections."]

Caple, Chris. 2000. “The nature of conservation.” In Conservation Skills: Judgement, Method and Decision Making. London: Routledge. 29-45. Whole book is recommended.

Matero, Frank. 2000. “Ethics and Policy in Conservation.” The Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter. 15(1). #archaeology

Paris, Jan. 2000. “Conservation and the Politics of Use and Value in Research Libraries.” The Book and Paper Group Annual 19. #bookandpaper #MageeGuptaBib

21st- Century Literature[edit | edit source]


Langle, Ségolène Bergeon, 2001. “Polemics surrounding the restoration of painting and sculpture: a short history.” Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung 15 (1): 7-24.

[This reference offers a conservator's overview of cleaning controversies – M. Marincola 9/20/2013]

Ziman, John. 2001. “Getting Scientists to Think about What They Are Doing.” Science and Engineering Ethics 7 (2): 165–76. #MageeGuptaBib


Clavir, M. 2002. Preserving What Is Valued: Museums, Conservation, and First Nations. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press.

[In particular, read "First Nations perspectives on preservation and museums," pp. 69-97]

Muñoz Viñas, Salvador. 2002. "Contemporary theory of conservation." Reviews in Conservation 3: 25-34.

[Highly recommended article. See also the book length version published in 2004.]

Mason, R. 2002. "Assessing Values in Conservation Planning: Methodological Issues and Choices." In Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage: Research Report. Edited by M. De la Torre. Los Angeles, CA: Getty Conservation Institute.

Meskell, Lynn. 2002. "The intersections of identity and politics in archaeology." Annual Review of Anthropology 31: 279–301. #archaeology #MageeGuptaBib


Matero, Frank. 2003. “Making Archaeological Sites: Conservation as Interpretation of an Excavated Past.” In Of the Past, for the Future: Integrating Archaeology and Conservation. Proceedings of the Conservation Theme at the 5th World Archaeological Congress, Washington, D.C. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute. 55-63.

[Persuasive argument that conservation and interpretation are inextricable.] #archaeology

Brown, Michael F. 2003. Who Owns Native Culture? Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press.

[Especially Chapter 7 “Native culture in the iron cage,” pp. 205-228.]


Muñoz Viñas, Salvador. 2004. Contemporary Theory of Conservation. Butterworth-Heinemann.

[Chapter 5 is particularly relevant – M. Marincola, 9/2013]

Villers, Caroline. 2004. "Post minimal intervention." The Conservator 28(1): 3-10.

[Critical reference! Highly recommended discussion of professional values in conservation (good to read along with Clavir 1998). Villers describes how “minimal intervention” is used as coded language in the conservation field (specifically structural treatment of paintings, but applicable elsewhere) to mask faulty assumptions of objectivity and that a work of art “embodies a single, uncontested history.” -JW]


De la Torre, Marta, ed. 2005. Heritage Values in Site Management: Four Case Studies. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute.

[Case studies in heritage site management; Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site, Port Arthur Historic Site, and Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site, related to the Getty’s larger project on values - see Avrami et. al and related works by Randall Mason]

Stoner, Joyce Hill. 2005. "Changing Approaches in Art Conservation: 1925 to the Present." In Scientific Examination of Art: Modern Techniques in Conservation and Analysis. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

[Excellent historical overview focusing mostly on paintings conservation] (free online access)

Irvin, Sherri. 2005. “The artist’s sanction in contemporary art.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63: 315-326.

[Highly recommended interrogation of the idea of artist’s intent and its use in contemporary conservation. Irvin is a philosopher who argues that the artist’s “sanction” defines the boundaries of works of art in museum collections. This paper defines sanction (vs the more problematic intent). Recommend to read with Dykstra (1996) and Wharton (2016). Free online access]

Wharton, Glenn. 2005. "Indigenous Claims and Heritage Conservation: An Opportunity for Critical Dialog." Journal of Public Archaeology 4: 199-204. free online access


Brooks, Mary M. and Dinah Eastop. 2006. “Matter out of place: Paradigms for analyzing textile cleaning.” Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 45(3): 171-181.

[Highly recommended discussion of how decision making in textile cleaning is conditioned by four different paradigms (domestic, sacred/heroic, art-historical, and evidentiary) and how their associated values are interpreted.] #textiles

Hoskins, Janet. 2006. “Agency, Biography, and Objects.” In Sage Handbook of Material Culture, edited by Christopher Tilley, Webb Keane, Susanne Kuechler, Mike Rowlands and Patricia Spyer. London: Routledge. 74-84.

Wharton, Glenn. 2006. "The Challenges of Conserving Contemporary Art." In Collecting the New: Museums and Contemporary Art, edited by Bruce Altshuler. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 164-178. free online access. #contemporary


Appelbaum, Barbara. 2007. Conservation Treatment Methodology. Oxford, UK: Butterworth Heinemann.

Balachandran, Sanchita. 2007. “Object Lessons: The Politics of Preservation and Museum Building in Western China in the Early Twentieth Century.” International Journal of Cultural Property 14(1). #MageeGuptaBib

Barassi, Sebastiano. 2007. "The Modern Cult of Replicas: A Rieglian Analysis of Values in Replication." Tate Papers 8. (free online resource)

Johnson, Jessica 2007. “Collaborative touch: working with a community artist to restore a Kwakwaka’waka mask.” In The Power of Touch: Handling Objects in Museum and Heritage Contexts, edited by Elizabeth Pye. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press. 215-222. #indigenous

Mancusi-Ungaro, Carol. 2007. “Authority and Ethics.” Tate Papers 8. free online access #contemporary

Matero, Frank. 2007. "Loss, Compensation, and Authenticity: The Contribution of Cesare Brandi to Architectural Conservation in America." In Future Anterior 4(1): 45-58.

Rickard, Jolene. 2007. “Absorbing or obscuring the absence of a critical space in the Americas for indigeneity: the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 52: 85-92. #indigenous

Schuster, James and Dean Whiting. 2007. “Marae conservation in Aotearoa.” In Decolonising Conservation: Caring for Maori Meeting Houses outside New Zealand, edited by Dean Sully. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press. 71-88. #indigenous

Sully, Dean, 2007. “Colonizing and conservation.” In Decolonising Conservation: Caring for Maori Meeting Houses outside New Zealand, edited by Dean Sully. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press. 27-43. #indigenous

This book, the culmination of Sully’s PhD work, advocates for a frame shift in conservation, with a call to place greater value on the impact of conservation work on people’s/peoples’ lives, and less emphasis on the material preservation of the physical fabric of cultural heritage. Sully highlights the colonialism embedded in western conservation practice, which commodifies sacred indigenous objects. He ultimately argues for a reexamination of the bedrock of western conservation, which is founded on a history of colonialism, and calls for a decolonization of conservation practice.

Wijesurya, Gamini 2007. “Conserving living taonga: the concept of continuity.” In Decolonising Conservation: Caring for Maori Meeting Houses outside New Zealand, edited by Dean Sully. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press. 59-69. #indigenous


Mansfield, John R. 2008. “The Ethics of Conservation: Some Dilemmas in Cultural Built Heritage Projects in England.” Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management 15(3): 270–81. #MageeGuptaBib #architecture

Peters, R., F. Salomon, R.C. González, and R. C. González. 2008. "Traditional Use and Scholarly Investigation: A Collaborative Project to Conserve the Khipu of San Cristóbal de Rapaz." In Symposium 2007: Preserving Aboriginal Heritage: Technical and Traditional Approaches, edited by C. Dignard, K. Helwig, J. Mason, K. Nanowin and T. Stone. Ottowa: Canadian Conservation Institute. 95-100. #indigenous

Pala, Christopher, 2008. “Paradise almost Lost: Hawaii’s Bishop Museum grapples with NAGPRA.” Museum, 87(2): 45-53. #indigenus

Wharton, Glenn. 2008. "Dynamics of Participatory Conservation: The Kamehameha I Sculpture Project." Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 47(3): 159-173. #indigenous


Barassi, Sebastiano. 2009. “Dreaming of a universal approach: Brandi's Theory of Restoration and the conservation of contemporary art.” Paper presented at the Conservation: Principles, Dilemmas and Uncomfortable Truths seminar, London. (free online resource)

Eggert, Paul. 2009. Securing the Past: Conservation in Art, Architecture and Literature. Cambridge University Press.

[Prof. Eggert is an English literature specialist and approaches art conservation from the field of textual amendation. Particularly good discussion of the Sistine ceiling controversy. – M. Marincola, 9/2013]

Sloggett, Robyn. 2009. “Expanding the Conservation Canon: Assessing Cross-Cultural and Interdisciplinary Collaborations in Conservation.” Studies in Conservation 54(3): 170–83. #MageeGuptaBib

Gives a history and philosophy of conservation, directly tying it to scientific principles (as well as historical discourse) and how conservation and science have been on similar paths in terms of objectivity and pushing out communities/people. Sloggett makes a case for conservators to be vocal and get involved with repatriation issues. The lack of documentation affects Native and Indigenous communities trying to make a case for repatriation, but it also affects conservators. Dissociation is a form of damage: “Is it really possible to repair an object but ignore the politics of cultural presentation?” (176).

Stigter, Sanneke. 2009. “Between Concept and Material. Decision-Making in Retrospect: Conservation Treatment of a Site-Specific Conceptual Photographic Sculpture by Ger van Elk.” Journees d’etudes de la SFIIC. Paris. 74-81. #contemporary

Van Saaze, Vivian. 2009. “Doing Artworks. An Ethnographic Account of the Acquisition and Conservation of No Ghost Just A Shell.” Krisis 1: 20-32. #contemporary #artistintent #autoethnographic


Ashley-Smith, J. 2010. "The V&A Ethics Checklist and beyond." In Conservation ethics for rational decision making: The dialogue between East and West. 86–95. Republic of Korea: National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage. #MageeGuptaBib

Ewer, Patricia. 2010. “Treatment Options – What are we Conserving?” Textile Conservation: Advances in Practice, edited by Frances Leonard and Patricia Ewer. London: Elsevier. 53-62. #textiles

Roberts, Zoe. 2010. “Decision making and the broadening of conservation boundaries: a personal perspective.” Textile Conservation: Advances in Practice, edited by Frances Leonard and Patricia Ewer. London: Elsevier. 269-76. #textiles

Sauvage, Alexandra. 2010. “To Be or Not to Be Colonial: Museums Facing Their Exhibitions.” Revista Culturales 6(12): 97–116. #MageeGuptaBib #museums

Schädler-Saub, Urusla. 2010. “Conservation of modern and contemporary art: what remains of Cesare Brandi’s Teoria del restauro?” Theory and Practice in the Conservation of Modern and Contemporary Art: Reflections on the Roots and the Perspectives, edited by Ursula Schädler-Saub and Angela Weyer. London: Archetype. 62-70.


Henderson, Jane. 2011. “Reflections on Decision Making in Conservation.” In ICOM Committee for Conservation preprints. 16th Triennial Meeting, Lisbon. Paris: ICOM.

Lang, Karen. 2011. “Eric Fischl’s Tumbling Woman, 9/11, and ‘Timeless Time.’” Future Anterior 8(2): 21-35. (Michele Marincola, 2016)

Mina, Laura. 2011. "The Observer Effect in Conservation: Changes in Perception and Treatment of a Man’s Silk Suit c. 1745." Textile Specialty Group Postprints 21(17). #textiles


Muñoz-Viñas, Salvador. 2012. “Contemporary Theory of Conservation.” Studies in Conservation 47: 25–34. #MageeGuptaBib


Laurenson, Pip. 2013. “Emerging Institutional Models and Notions of Expertise for the Conservation of Time-Based Media Works of Art.” Techné 37: 36-42. #contemporary

Van Saaze, Vivian. 2013. "Key Concepts and Developments in Conservation Theory and Practice." In Installation Art and the Museum: Presentation and Conservation of Changing Artworks. 35-60. Amsterdam University Press. [Useful and thorough historic overview] #contemporary


Arijs, H. 2014. “Values and Collections/Collections and Values: Towards an Online Tool for Collection Value Assessment.” Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage.

Lambert, Simon. 2014. "The Early History of Preventive Conservation in Great Britain and the United States (1850-1950)." CeROArt. Conservation, exposition, Restauration d’Objets d’Art 9. #MageeGuptaBib

Marçal, Hélia, Rita A. S. P. de Macedo, and António M. S. P. Duarte. 2014. “The Inevitable Subjective Nature of Conservation: Psychological Insights on the Process of Decision Making.” In ICOM Committee for Conservation preprints. 17th Triennial Conference, Melbourne. Paris: ICOM.

Saunders, Jill. 2014. “Conservation in Museums and Inclusion of the Non-Professional.” Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies 12(1): 1–13. #MageeGuptaBib

Wain, Alison. 2014. “Conservation of the Intangible: A Continuing Challenge.” AICCM Bulletin 35: 52–59. #indigenous #MageeGuptaBib


Enote, Jim. 2015. "Museum Collaboration Manifesto." Paper presented at the 2015 International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums. Washington, DC. #indigenous

Moshenska, Gabriel. 2015. “Curated Ruins and the Endurance of Conflict Heritage.” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 17(1): 77-90. (Michele Marincola 2016) #archaeological

Sully, Dean. 2015. "Conservation theory and practice: Materials, values, and people in heritage conservation." In Museum Practice: Critical Debates in the Museum Sector 2. Edited by C. McCarthy. Wiley.


Conservators Converse Blog, “Race, Diversity and Politics in Conservation: Our 21st Century Crisis,” blog entry by Sanchita Balachandran, May 25, 2016. #MageeGuptaBib

Cutajar, J.D., A. Duckor, D. Sully, and L.H. Fredheim. 2016. “A Significant Statement: New Outlooks On Treatment Documentation.” Journal of the Institute of Conservation. DOI: 10.1080/19455224.2016.1212717 #values-based

Henderson, Jane, and Tanya Nakamoto. 2016. “Dialogue in Conservation Decision-Making.” Studies in Conservation 61 (sup2): 67–78. #MageeGuptaBib

Jacob, Preminda. 2016. “Spectres in Storage: The Colonial Legacy of Art Museums.” The Journal of Art Historiography 15: 1–10. #MageeGuptaBib

Matthes, Erich Hatala. 2016. “The Ethics of Historic Preservation.” Philosophy Compass 11: 786-794. #MageeGuptaBib

Pearlstein, E. 2016. “Conserving Ourselves: Embedding Significance Into Conservation Decision-Making in Graduate Education.” Studies in Conservation 62(8): 435-444. DOI: 10.1080/00393630.2016.1210843.

Stigter, Sanneke. 2016. “Autoethnography as a New Approach in Conservation.” Studies in Conservation, 61(sup2), 227-232.

[Advocates for autoethnographic description (i.e. first person narration and reflection) as part of the conservation process. Autoethnography creates documentation of historic interest “expressing doubts, fears, and unexpected turns,” and contributes to a better understanding of the work’s biography by clarifying conservation decision making] Free online access #contemporary #autoenthographic

Wharton, Glenn. 2016. "Artist intention and the conservation of contemporary art." Objects Specialty Group Postprints 22: 1-12. Edited by Emily Hamilton and Kari Dodson, Sarah Barack and Kate Moomaw. #contemporary #artistintent


Ashley-Smith, J. 2017. "A role for bespoke codes of ethics." In ICOM Committee for Conservation preprints. 18th Triennial Conference, Copenhagen. Paris: ICOM. free online access See also Wharton (2018). #MageeGuptaBib

Hölling, Hanna. 2017. “The Technique of Conservation: On Realms of Theory and Cultures of Practice.” Journal of the Institute of Conservation 40(2): 87-96. DOI: 10.1080/19455224.2017.1322114.

[Similar to Clavir 1998 (i.e. historiography of conservation, development of current practices) with more of a focus on conservation’s “bondage with object-oriented materialism and authenticism.” An engaging read that integrates contemporary conservation theory with the history of the field. ] Free online access

Marçal, Hélia and Rita Macedo. 2017. “The Aim of Documentation: Micro-decisions in the Documentation of Performance-Based Artworks.”In ICOM Committee for Conservation preprints. 18th Triennial Conference, Copenhagen. Paris: ICOM. #contemporary

Delgado Vieira, A.C, Xavier Cury, M. & Peters, R. F. 2017. "Saving the present in Brazil: Perspectives from collaborations with indigenous museums." In ICOM Committee for Conservation preprints. 18th Triennial Conference, Copenhagen. Paris: ICOM. with_indigenous_museums Free online access #indigenous

Mildwaters, N. 2017. "Capturing motion in Māori cloaks: Logistics, decision making and perceptions." In ICOM Committee for Conservation preprints. 18th Triennial Conference, Copenhagen. Paris: ICOM. #indigenous

Scaturro, Sarah. 2017. "A Materials- and Values-Based Approach to The Conservation of Fashion." In ICOM Committee for Conservation preprints. 18th Triennial Conference, Copenhagen. Paris: ICOM. free online access. #contemporary #values-based

Scott, David A. “Art Restoration and Its Contextualization.” The Journal of Aesthetic Education 51(2): 82-104. #MageeGuptaBib

Stoner, Joyce Hill, and Muriel Verbeeck-Boutin. 2017. "The impact of Paul Philippot on the theory and history of conservation/restoration." In ICOM Committee for Conservation preprints. 18th Triennial Conference, Copenhagen. Paris: ICOM. free online access


Ashley-Smith, Jonathan. 2018. “The Ethics of Doing Nothing.” Journal of the Institute of Conservation 41 (1): 6–15. #MageeGuptaBib

Fairweather, Ian. 2018. “Colonialism and the Museum.” In The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, edited by Hilary Callan. New York, NY: Wiley-Blackwell. 1-6.

Giebeler et al. 2018. “The Decision-Making Model for Contemporary Art Conservation and Presentation.” Cologne: Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences. #contemporary

Van de Vall et al. 2018. “Reflections on a Biographical Approach to Contemporary Art Conservation.” In ICOM Committee for Conservation preprints. 16th Triennial Conference, Lisbon. Paris: ICOM..

Wharton, Glenn. 2018. "Bespoke ethics and moral casuistry in the conservation of contemporary art." Journal of the Institute of Conservation 41(1): A Festschrift for Jonathan Ashley-Smith. #MageeGuptaBib


Hayes, Matthew. 2019. "On the origins of Alois Riegl’s conservation theory." Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 58(3): 132-143.

Holling, Hanna, Francesca Bewer, and Katharina Ammann, eds. 2019. The Explicit Material: Inquiries on the Intersection of Curatorial and Conservation Cultures. #contemporary

Indian Arts Research Center. 2019. Guidelines for Collaboration (website). Facilitated by Landis Smith, Cynthia Chavez Lamar, and Brian Vallo. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research. #indigenous

Schädler-Saub, Ursula. 2019. “Conservation Ethics Today: Are Our Conservation-restoration Theories And Practice Ready For The Twenty-first Century? Introductory Notes To Some Central Issues.” Protection of Cultural Heritage 8: 291-300. #MageeGuptaBib


Brown, Ashleigh. 2020. “Being Black in the Arts and Heritage Sector: Paper Conservator Ashleigh Brown Offers a Reflection.” ICON News. June 6, 2020. #MageeGuptaBib

Durant, Fletcher. “35 Conservation: Together at Home Webinar Series - Fletcher Durant.” Accessed Sept 28, 2020. #MageeGuptaBib

Henderson, Jane. 2020. “Beyond Lifetimes: Who Do We Exclude When We Keep Things for the Future?” Journal of the Institute of Conservation 43 (3): 195–212. #MageeGuptaBib

Henderson, Jane, Robert Waller, and David Hope. 2020. “Begin with benefits: reducing bias in conservation decision-making.” Studies in Conservation 65 (sup1): 142-147. #MageeGuptaBib

Odumosu, Temi. 2020. “The Crying Child: On Colonial Archives, Digitization, and Ethics of Care in the Cultural Commons.” Current Anthropology 61 (S22): S289-S302. #MageeGuptaBib

Though focused on digitization, this is a really interesting article that essentially demonstrates how ethics of care is applicable in terms of digital access to the archives. Of particular note is how Andreas Pantazatos (2016) approaches the issue of caretaking of objects as active and relational, using the ICOM ethical guidelines as a starting point. The discussion of this framework on page S297 would be a good framework for conservation, built on trust, negotiation, and accountability in care. There’s also a good discussion on custodianship vs stewardship that I added to our COE page.

Approaches to Restoration[edit | edit source]

Controversy[edit | edit source]

Codes of Ethics from Allied Professions[edit | edit source]

American Alliance of Museums. 2000. “AAM Code of Ethics for Museums.” American Alliance of Museums. 2000. Archaeological Institute of America. 1997. “AIA Code of Ethics.” AIA.

Australian Institute for Conservation of Cultural Material. 2002. “CODE OF ETHICS AND CODE OF PRACTICE.” Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property, and Canadian Association of Professional Conservators. 2000. Code of Ethics and Guidance for Practice: Of the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property and of the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators. Ottawa: Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property : Canadian Association of Professional Conservators.

Ethics Working Group of the International Council of Museums International Committee for Museums and Collections of Natural History. 2013. ICOM Code of Ethics for Natural History Museums. ICOM. International Council of Museums. 2017. ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums. Paris: ICOM.

International Council of Museums, ICOM Ethics Committee, and Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg. 2011. CHECKLIST ON ETHICS OF CULTURAL PROPERTY OWNERSHIP. Paris: ICOM. SAA Council. 2005. “Code of Ethics for Archivists.” The Society for American Archivists.

Society for American Archaeology. 1996. “Ethics in Professional Archaeology.” Society for American Archaeology. 1996.