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British Standards Institution invites feedback on new conservation standards

Icon members are encouraged to review and comment on two new standards currently under review

There are many adjectives we can use to describe the work of conservators: complex, intricate, exacting, precise. Being both a science and an art, conservation requires a pragmatic approach whether in relation to research, execution or documentation. 

As with any discipline, conservation benefits from a framework of standards. These not only provide a benchmark for performance but offer useful advocacy tools and a common vocabulary across the profession.

In an article on Standards for Conservation (Icon News 66), David Leigh ACR reminds us that standards do not have to be prescriptive (view article online or as PDF).

"Some conservators may feel that having to conform to standards infringes their professional judgement, but this is definitely not the intention," writes David. "They are not themselves mandatory or legally binding; rather they can be used as benchmarks ... Nor are they fixed for all time. Provided they have been found useful they are revised every five years, to reflect current practice."

The British Standards Institution (BSI), which is responsible for many of the conservation standards in the UK, has opened up two draft standards for review:

  • EN 17036 – Conservation of Cultural Heritage: Artificial ageing with simulated solar radiation (referring to natural and artificial stone, treated and untreated) 
  • BS 4971 – Conservation and care of archive and library collections, a proposed revision of the existing British Standard

Icon encourages members to read the draft standards and provide feedback to BSI by the respective deadlines of 10th October and 1st November. (You will need to register in order to comment.)

Icon maintains its own repository of standards and welcomes input by interested members. Please mail in the first instance.

Image: Gwendoline Lemée


The views expressed in these comments are the views of the individual and do not reflect the views of The Institute of Conservation. Any comments containing inappropriate language or copyright material will be removed.

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