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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Miriam L Clavir
MUSEUM 582
Seattle Campus

Preservation of Collections II

Lecture and demonstrations in the recognition and treatment of museum conservation problems for specimens of all types. Application of basic principles to specific preventive and active conservation and restoration problems encountered by curatorial personnel.

Class description

This course presents introductory theory and methodology for the conservation of collections found in museums and art galleries. Professional conservation encompasses both preventive and treatment conservation; that is, it includes principles and methods designed to prevent collections from deteriorating, and those used in treating material culture after it has sustained physical damage. Students in the Graduate Program in Museology have already been introduced to preventive conservation in MUS 581: Preservation and Management of Collections., Complex treatment conservation is practised professionally only by conservators, who usually have a specialized Masters degree in the discipline, a background in chemistry, and years of experience. This course, then, will explore preventive conservation in further depth, while at the same time introducing students to basic applied objects conservation. The goals of this course are to enable the student who will work in a museum in any capacity to understand the deterioration of the many materials collections are made of, to be able to take appropriate action to stop that deterioration, to make good preservation decisions and to know how to access professional resources to ensure the stability of these collections in their physical and social environments. No science background is required for this course. In addition, this course is useful as an introduction to the professional field of conservation for students who may want to pursue this career option. It should be emphasized, though, that this short course does not qualify its participants to be considered ‚Äúconservators‚Ä?. The lecture portion of this course examines the field of conservation, including the physical and chemical nature of different organic and inorganic materials and how they deteriorate. Museum conservation guidelines will be considered in relation to a multilayered social context. The laboratory session offers selected practice in introductory conservation methods and principles designed to make appropriate cleaning decisions and slow or eliminate deterioration.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Miriam L Clavir
Date: 01/04/2010