Preventive conservation is any action that reduces the damaging effects of environments on collections and cultural heritage. Actions can include simple strategies or formalised policies, procedures and guidelines that identify and delay the deterioration of collections. Preventive conservation considers all potential risks to collections and these are commonly referred to as the ten agents of deterioration. These are:
● Ultraviolet radiation
● Relative humidity
● Mould or biological attack
● Physical forces
The AICCM Preventive Conservation Special Interest Group aims to provide members with a support network including, but not limited to, conservators at all stages of their career, associated professionals including other custodians of collections such as archivists, registrars, and collection managers and any other custodians. Preventive conservation is a broad topic that is relevant to all carers of collections and therefore the PC SIG looks to build and distribute knowledge to its members through digital and physical platforms.
The PC SIG supports members through the development and maintenance of a Preventive Wiki which provides relevant and current information on any of the ten agents of deterioration and associated topics. The wiki gathers information and provides links to local and international research, publications and guidelines.
The PC SIG inaugural conference in 2019 entitled Managing Risks to Collections: ten agents of deterioration was attended by over 140 delegates from International communities and every state of Australia. This conference is now a biennial event.