Guideline 8.1

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Back to STANDARD 8: Exhibit Conservation Requirements

Guideline 8.1:
Conservation Requirements are established by a qualified conservation specialist.
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Why are the Conservation Requirements essential to creating an object-friendly exhibit?

The Conservation Requirements outline the specific conditions that are needed to protect each exhibit object from damage during exhibition. They thus provide the key for incorporating the appropriate damage mitigation strategies into an exhibit. Such damage mitigation can be provided through exhibit design, museum policies, and, in some cases, modifications to the exhibit building (See Standard 9). The conservation requirements also emphasize particular precautions that should be taken during installation and mountmaking.
Exhibit Design. By outlining the conditions necessary to preserve objects while on exhibit, the Preservation Requirements inform the designer of the particular type and range of conservation safeguards s/he should incorporate in the exhibit design. For example, the requirements will specify the acceptable amount of light that objects can be exposed to and will thus alert the designer to choose appropriate lighting controls and design elements that will work with the required light levels.
Museum Policies and Procedures. The conservation requirements will communicate to museum staff that certain safety measures may be needed to protect exhibit objects. These could range from instituting a pest management program and installing environmental controls throughout the museum, to providing staff with security training.
Installation, Object Preparation and Mountmaking. The conservation requirements alert installers and mountmakers to any unique conditions, such as the extreme fragility of a particular object component, that will affect handling or mounting.

Why should the Conservation Requirements be set by a qualified professional?

The Conservation Requirements are the essential foundation for creating an object-safe exhibit and therefore should be established by a qualified individual. Ideally, s/he will be an exhibit conservator. At the very least, s/he will be a conservator who can combine knowledge of conservation and current research with an understanding of exhibit design, specifically the methods by which good design can mitigate wear and tear on objects. This is the area of expertise of an exhibit conservator. (For more information on how to locate an exhibit conservator please see Standard 2, Guideline 2.3.)

How to identify a qualified exhibit conservator

See Standard 2, Guideline 2.3

Sample Exhibit Conservation Requirements Form

  • Exhibit Conservation Requirements: Preservation requisites which require mitigation