Preventive conservation involves “all measures and actions aimed at avoiding and minimizing future deterioration or loss. They are carried out within the context or on the surroundings of an item, but more often a group of items, whatever their age and condition. These measures and actions are indirect - they do not interfere with the materials and structures of the items. They do not modify their appearance.” (ICOM-CC).
OCM relies on collections being readily accessible and in a suitable condition for their intended, sustainability-oriented use. While conservation is central to this process, it must be balanced against efforts to reduce the negative impacts of unsustainable resource use, waste generation, and climate change. Greener practices also need to be adopted.
Preventive conservation is therefore a key component to support the role of collections-based work in sustainable development. For over 40 years, ICCROM has led the way in this field, developing and sharing tools that respond to the diverse needs of collection care.
Explore these preventive conservation resources: