International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property
Heritage Samples Archives Initiative
Many cultural heritage institutions around the world, including ICCROM, hold material samples archives comprising samples collected from heritage objects and sites, reference materials and replicas. These historic resources are non-renewable and have huge potential for future research and didactic purposes, but they are often little known, and their value under recognized. In addition, they pose very particular challenges concerning their physical safeguarding, access and use. As a result, they are critically threatened.
Recognizing these challenges, the Heritage Samples Archives Initiative (HSAI) was launched by ICCROM in September 2020 to promote the long-term survival and use of these collections. To date, more than 20 institutions have joined ICCROM as partners in the initiative.
The HSAI aims to improve the recognition, preservation, management, access and use of heritage samples archives, pursuing the following objectives:
Raise awareness of the value and importance of sample archives.
Develop good practices, policies, procedures, tools, and methodologies (e.g. through guidance documents and case study examples) for the management of sample archives.
Develop a roadmap for increasing the accessibility and use of samples archives, connecting them through open digital platforms.
How are we working?
The initiative takes action through the following five working groups:
Values and Significance To improve the ways in which heritage sample archives are described and communicated, in particular with regard to their values for diverse stakeholders.
Cataloguing and Archival Management To enhance the preservation and use of heritage sample archives through providing guidance and tools for establishing minimum baseline requirements for samples archives management.
Access and Use To enable increased access to, and sustainable use of, heritage sample archives through providing practical guidance on how to develop policies for granting access to different users within the available resources of the organization.
Connecting Data Across Collections To share information on heritage samples archives through a manageable communal platform, modelled on the minimum information required to connect samples archives, taking into consideration user requirements.
Research Opportunities To evidence the value of heritage sample archives, promote their use as research resources, and identify ways to foster the research potential of sample archives.
Who are our partners?
In addition to ICCROM, the initiative comprises more than 20 partner institutions: