Deadline extended to 16 August!


ICCROM holds a valuable collection of material samples donated by Paolo and Laura Mora, internationally renowned conservators involved in the coordination of ICCROM’s Mural Painting Conservation course along with numerous technical missions and campaigns.

ICCROM is initiating a project to rearrange, describe / catalogue and properly rehouse the collection. The main aims of the project are to have an overall knowledge and control over the material samples, to guarantee their safety and security, and to make samples accessible and useful to a wide community of researchers via a digital catalogue on ICCROM’s website.


ICCROM invites interested professionals (scientists/conservators/archivists) with experience in this type of work to prepare a proposal for the reorganization and description of the Mora sample collection. You may find the Request for Proposal here. The deadline has been extended to 16 August 2017.

In 1959 ICCROM was founded as a Centre for promoting diverse approaches to the conservation in the heritage field, including the mural painting sector. Two leaders in this area, Paolo and Laura Mora, collected samples all over the world during almost 20 years of activity, from the 1960s to the 1980s. Their goal was to study and research the different mural painting techniques used by different cultures in their artistic expression. These two conservators thereby generated a valuable and already historic scientific collection composed of material samples.

The Mora sample collection is composed of around 1,400 material samples (fragments of mural paintings, plaster, stone, ceramics, etc; cross as well as thin sections).

Monuments of thirty two (32) different countries are represented in the sample collection, including the following:

  • Algeria: Tassili rock art.
  • Egypt: Nefertari Tomb, Abu Simbel Temples, Karnak, Saqqara.
  • Greece: Knossos (Crete).
  • Iran: Isfahan, Persepolis.
  • Italy: Agrigento, Assisi, Herculaneum, Padova, Rome (Catacombs, Domus Aurea, Pantheon, Palatino), Tarquinia Tombs.
  • Turkey: Göreme churches.
  • Israel: Masada.


These material samples are a unique resource for future conservation research.  In many of the heritage sites documented in this collection, the taking of samples is nowadays prohibited. Today these samples could be reused applying non-destructive analysis techniques. These samples, together with contextual information available in ICCROM’s Archives, could allow further investigation and knowledge of these sites.  Historic scientific collections are valuable resources for understanding heritage and planning heritage conservation.

Nevertheless, this collection is at risk of loss and dissociation, as the samples lack of proper description, labeling and storage measures. Similar challenges are faced by other institutions holding important historic sample collections.  This limits the potential value these collections might hold for future research and conservation projects.

As this project is completed, follow-up activities will raise awareness of the challenges that sample collections present. The idea is to build a partnership of interested institutions to deal with issues such as methodologies for reorganizing, describing, documenting, storing and sharing data of such collections, how to enhance their access through open knowledge sharing, and so on. The final aim is to create a knowledge exchange plan for the benefit of the conservation community. Please join ICCROM in this endeavour – (DONATE)