Art Conservation, Conservation of Art Art Preservation Historic Restoration

Difference Between : Art preservation vs. Art conservation vs. Restoration

In the world of museum collections care, many phrases and terms might be confusing. Even the most experienced art conservators might use one term when they intended to use another. While using confusing shadows for shading or interchanging the term classic with classical can be a silly mistake in museum care, it is rather a harmless mistake.

But some terms can lead to serious outcomes if interchanged. The most common mistaken terms are restoration, art conservation, and art restoration.

Though these three terms are often confused, they are set apart by many differences. While they are associated with enhancing the artwork, restoration and conservation have different methods to treat an artwork. When someone looking to get their artwork restored interchanges these terms, they could be ending up putting their expensive artwork in the wrong hands.

By figuring out the differences between art conservation, art preservation, and art restoration, you can make an informed decision about the process they want. All are important parts of historic preservation.

Here we have come up with some differences between art conservation and art restoration to clear any doubts about these three fields of work.

Understanding the Definition of Art Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration:

What is Art Preservation?

Art preservation involves protecting an object from destruction and making sure that the object is not altered or changed. It is a commonly used term for architecture and the built environment.

What is Art Conservation?

Conservation refers to the process of preserving the maximum amount of the original material in as unaltered condition as possible. All additions or repairs should be reversible and removable without impacting the condition of the original material, even in the future. However, conservation doesn’t encompass artistic choices or material experimentation on the object. An museum art conservator is also responsible for preserving the original work. It requires them to be skilled in cleaning, repairing, and oftentimes, removing old restoration attempts. They have to make sure that the art is preserved for years to come. They attempt to keep the original piece in its original form as possible.

What is Art Restoration?

Restoration refers to the process of bringing an object back to its original position or condition. When restoring an art object, the absolute focus is on its final appearance. The client and restorer determine the most desirable period of an object’s life, and the restorer does whatever is required to return the object’s original appearance. Some restorers might not consider the long-term, damaging impacts of using certain materials on artwork.

However, it should not be confused with a renovation that is the process of making an object look new. It should be performed by an experienced and knowledgeable person. Otherwise, unsafe practices, tools, and cleaning supplies can lead to irreversible damage immediately or in the future.

Choose the Right Professional to Work With

We hope that you must have understood the key differences between preservation, conservation, and restoration. Like we have said before, every practice plays important role in historic preservation.

Whatever you choose, make sure to work with a certified professional. It will give you peace of mind that your artwork is in the safe hand. They are knowledgeable and certified for maintaining and improving the piece of art. Whether you have an artwork that needs to be cleaned, a sculpture that has to be reassembled, or an artifact that needs to be repaired, choosing the right professional can give your beloved piece of art a new lease of life.

What do you think? Want to say something else? Let us know by commenting below!

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Art Conservation, Conservation of Art Art Preservation Colllections Care

How to Take Care of Your Museum Collection

Collections are the most important resource of any museum. In other words, they are the lifeline of your museum. After all, these objects are what people visit your museum for. Therefore, taking care of your museum collection is downright essential.

Whether you are exhibiting fossils of the Neolithic age or the objects associated with human development, every item in your museum collections should be treated with respect and utmost care.

Here I have rounded up some best practices that will help you preserve your museum collections.

Creating a Culture of Responsibility:

Keep in mind that museum employees at every level are responsible for the care of the collection. Managers, curators, cleaners, and other staff should be equally concerned about collection care. The point is here that the responsibility shouldn’t be confined to certain staff roles. From creating budgets to keeping eye on pest activity, the whole museum team should be actively involved in preserving and maintaining museum collections.

Allotting Important Essential Care Tasks:

The next step is to plan ahead and create a strategy for assigning important care tasks.

In this context, the following points can be considered:

  • Organizing schedule for essential tasks such as rubbish collection and basic cleaning.
  • Setting up a procedural manual so every employee is aware of their responsibility of care.
  • Allotting a separate space for preparing, inspecting, and storing collections.
  • Creating a budget for purchasing collection care supplies.

Striving for Ongoing Care:

Taking care of your museum collection is not a one-time procedure. It is a continual process, requiring you to create a plan for proper ongoing care. Developing routines helps ward off issues before they even occur.

Keeping your museum clean and organized is important to maintaining the quality of your collection. Make sure to maintain a clean environment; take serious measures against pests and stress object-appropriate cleaning.

Handling Your Items Appropriately:

Make sure to handle your times appropriately to minimize the risk of damage.

  • Keep your hands clean and dry before handling items.
  • Use lifting equipment for heavy items.
  • Wear face masks or gloves for handling hazardous material.
  • Train your staff in handling procedures.

Packing and Unpacking:

Sensible, appropriate packing is important to protect your collections from damage. Poor packing of museum items can lead to long-term damage such as distortion and breakage and even cause insect activity and pollutant damage.

However, storage might be tricky for museum objects. For example, bubble wrap can protect and cushion items against shock. But it might not be ideal for damp conditions as it can trap moisture against the surface of the objects. Therefore, there is a need to choose optimal storage and packing solutions for your museum items.

If you are transporting your museum items, make sure to include written instructions on how to unpack them.

Learn from Books and Online Resources:

Some several websites and blogs can help you take care of your museum collection. However, I would like to recommend expertly written books dedicated to museum collection care.

My book titled Preserve, Protect, and Defend: A Practical Guide to the Care of Collectionswill guide you through the caring, preserving, and maintenance of your collection.

Similarly, I have covered a systematic approach to decision making for conservation treatments in my other book “Conservation Treatment Methodology.”

My third book “Guide to Environmental Protection of Collections” is a useful handbook that will help you make decisions concerning the physical care of those collections.


So you must have understood how to take care of your museum collection.

What do you think? Let me know by commenting below!