Scientific method

An empirical method of gathering knowledge that includes making observations, measurements, and experiments that are tested to determine the accuracy of a hypothesis

Holistic collection care

An approach to conservation that works to keep cultural heritage as a functioning component of many interlinking systems within institutions, larger societies, and the ... continue reading

Object-centered practice

Sometimes referred to as “material-based practice”; the dominant, historic model for heritage conservation where individual and tangible objects are places are prioritized over other ... continue reading

Best practice

A method or technique that is generally accepted as superior to any alternative.

Experiential learning

The process of learning through experience where self-awareness and -reflection are used as tools for progress.


Practices and policies that oppose racial disparities and promote equity.

Spiritual awareness

The recognition that all cultural heritage can have intangible quality and meaning brought to it by the people who value it, and this component ... continue reading

Value-based decision making

Strategic decision-making models that encourage actions to reflect identified values and priorities. Within heritage conservation, value-based practice is sometimes referred to as context-based practice.

Systems thinking

The recognition that individual events, objects, and data points are components of intertwining systems, and that a change in one point can cause change ... continue reading


Actions based on a balance of ecological, economic, and social needs and strive for collective and communal well-being.

Benefit 1: broaden our community

If we accept that conservators are not a homogeneous group with extensive training in art history, science, and studio art, we gain the ability ... continue reading

Benefit 2: expand what we do

If we accept that it is a conservator’s responsibility to preserve all forms of heritage (tangible, intangible, and natural), we gain the ability to ... continue reading

Benefit 3: redefine best practices

If we accept that this diverse group of people conserving a vast expanse of cultural heritage exists within complex, intertwining systems, we gain the ... continue reading

Who is a conservator? What is conservation? Evolving our identities and practice to thrive in an inclusive world

Who is a conservator? What is conservation? The answers to these questions are not written in an eternal text, carved in stone, and unequivocal. ... continue reading