The Conservation Science Special Interest Group brings together materials conservation practitioners and scientific researchers who focus on the scientific study of conservation materials issues.

We have an interdisciplinary approach requiring knowledge of analytical instrumentation and monitoring equipment being used in a cultural heritage context.

Researchers are guided by the Code of Ethics and Code of Practice of the AICCM and thus analytical approaches are designed to be non-destructive where possible, or to involve minimally invasive micro-sampling techniques.

In general, Conservation Science aims to:

  • Identify, characterise and understand materials and techniques of artefacts and/or deterioration issues occurring on artefacts.
  • Assess, develop and improve conservation treatments and approaches.

Examples of topics we explore include:

  • Study of a conservation material – environment system.
  • Studies into preservation materials, degradation restoration, maintenance, conservation, storage, transport and exhibition.
  • Biological, chemical or physical deterioration processes.
  • Designing appropriate methodologies and analytical techniques specifically suited to the characterization of historical artefacts and evaluation of the material conservation state.
  • Micro and macroclimatic monitoring in buildings or localised areas (e.g.: galleries, museums, libraries, historical houses, archives, churches, …)
  • Evaluation of the suitability of products for preservation, restoration, conservation, and consolidation of works of art.
  • New techniques for conservation such as Laser Cleaning and Portable X-ray fluorescence Analysis.
  • Virtual re-construction.


In September 2015 Dr Bruce Kaiser from Bruker Nano Analytics in the USA held XRF workshops around Australia and New Zealand. All material for the workshop can be found on line here.

In September 2010 the SIG organised a day-long symposium, Synchrotron Science for Cultural Heritage Materials, held at the Australian Synchrotron in Clayton, Melbourne. Following are abstracts of the presentations held at the symposium.

A role for IMBL in cultural heritage and conservation? Chris Hall [PDF – 1.64 MB]

XAFS – What is it and why use it? Chris Glover [PDF – 1.01 MB]

Art and Cultural Heritage applications Infrared Microscpectroscopy beamline. Ljiljana Puskar [PDF – 1.75 MB]

Synchrotron Powder Diffraction. Kia Wallwork [PDF – 1.79 MB]


Upcoming ANSTO workshop – Nuclear techniques for Cultural Heritage – 16-17 September 2020. For more information go to:

Upcoming IRUG 14 conference – 27-29 May 2020, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, organizer Suzan de Groot. For information go to:

IRUG 13 conference – 5-7 December 2018, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Australia, organizer Paula Dredge. For program of abstracts see:

Resources – Infrared and Raman spectroscopy

For information about Infrared and Raman spectroscopy goto the Infrared & Raman Users Group (IRUG):

Resources – X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy

For information from 2015 XRF workshops in Australia & New Zealand by Dr Bruce Kaiser from Bruker Nano Analytics (USA) go to:

Resources – Nuclear techniques

For information from 2017 workshop on “Applications of Synchrotron Light to Cultural Material Studies” in Melbourne by Dr Daryl Howard, see:

Facilities that can undertake analyses: