A practitioner carefully removes a canvas from a frame

What is Art Conservation?

Art conservation is the preservation of art and objects of cultural heritage through Examination, Documentation, Treatment, and Prevention. To learn more about conservation ethical guidelines and how to become a conservator, please visit the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.


Each project begins with an in-depth examination by one of our conservators. The visual examination, coupled with advanced knowledge of art history and artistic techniques, brings understanding to what the artwork is, how it was made, and its condition issues.


MACC conservators use photodocumentation and write detailed condition and treatment reports for every artwork. This documentation becomes a part of the artwork’s permanent record.


Interventive conservation treatments are undertaken to repair, stabilize, or otherwise preserve an artwork. Modern conservation practices approach the original object and the intentions of the person or people who created it with great respect. Wherever possible, conservation techniques are stable and reversible. They are also well-integrated visually, but distinguishable from the original material by a trained eye.

Preventive Conservation

Art and objects of cultural heritage are subject to deterioration through ten external factors, called the ten “agents of deterioration.” Agents of deterioration include fire, water, direct physical forces, incorrect temperature, incorrect relative humidity, pests or mold, thieves or vandals, dissociation, light, and pollutants. By mitigating the influence these agents have, collections material can be protected from damage. Actions that mitigate agents of deterioration are called Preventive Conservation and they include environmental monitoring, integrated pest management, security, storage and display, disaster response, and safe handling techniques.