Conservators work with an extensive variety of art and objects, and with all types of materials to prevent or slow deterioration and decay in cultural heritage. Differences in the chemical structure of materials, the age of an object, and the ways an object has been stored or used, are factors which cause material to deteriorate. See our Visual Glossary to see deterioration in action.

A conservator examines, assesses, documents and proposes different ways to manage deterioration of materials. Conservators research the social, cultural, and historical contexts of the objects they are conserving in order to make ethical treatment decisions. For these reasons, conservation treatments are complex and varied.

Many conservators specialise in certain kinds of objects or materials to gain an in depth understanding of the chemical and physical makeup of artworks or objects. Professionally, conservators can join an AICCM Special Interest Group, referred to as ‘SIGs’. These SIGs organise symposia, workshops and other events to facilitate knowledge-sharing in the field and develop their expertise.

Scroll through the carousel below to see some of the materials and cultural objects we conserve.