Conservation and Restoration of Photography


The Curricular Unit aims to develop critical and practical skills in the planning and preparation of a proposal for treatment in photographic species, as well as in the accomplishment of a conservation and restoration intervention according to the various typologies (various types of supports, emulsions photographic and image-forming materials), and / or in activities related to conservation and restoration procedures (eg cleaning, consolidation, stabilization, conditioning, restoration); the current methodologies for management and preservation of collections with varying dimensions will also be presented and deepened. The extensive range of photographic materials present in archives and collections will be discussed in this unit, and it is intended that the student apply the knowledge acquired in the diagnosis and treatment of conservation and restoration of photographic species from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first century, with variable supports ( metal, glass, semi-synthetic and synthetic plastics, paper, textiles), variable emulsions (albumin, collodion and gelatine) and different image forming materials (silver, platinum, iron salts, dyes, pigments). The student will also be challenged to understand and respond to the challenges of analogue photography (historical and contemporary) as well as digital photography. Ethical and professional challenges related to the possible replacement of original elements used for assembly and / or packaging will also be presented and discussed. Digital reproduction (camera or scanner) will also be a topic to be discussed within the scope of the issue of accessibility and preservation of the image of the photographic species. The objectives are also the acquisition of critical spirit and practical autonomy in the evaluation i) identification and diagnosis of the conservation status of photographic species and secondary constituent materials; ii) contribution of intrinsic and extrinsic factors in the degradation of the photographic species; (iii) consequences of past (copyright or conservation) interventions; and iv) the risks associated with the active intervention, restoration and preservation proposed. Considering that the photographic species are composite materials, it is also intended that the student demonstrate a critical capacity in the selection and use of conservation and restoration products for performing active or preservation interventions. The written and photographic recording capacity during the diagnosis, planning of a treatment proposal, and the performance of the intervention will also be required to the student. Finally, it is intended that the student develop the ability to communicate in science through an oral presentation of the criteria for the selection of conservation and restoration materials and methodologies adopted in the case study, in a clear and objective manner and explain the procedure of intervention.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Élia Catarina Tavares Costa Roldão


Weekly - 7

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



Available soon


  • Lavédrine, B., Fournier, A., Martin, G. (eds). POPART: Preservation of Plastic Artefacts in Museum Collections. Paris: Comité Des Travaux Historiques Et Scientifiques (CTHS), 2012.
  • Down, J., Adhesive Compendium for Conservation. Canada: Canadian Conservation Institute, 2015.
  • Shashoua, Y., Inhibiting the inevitable; current approaches to slowing the deterioration of plastics. In Macromolecular symposia, 238 (1) 2006, 67-77.
  • Thomson, G., The Museum Environment, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1986.

Teaching method

Available soon

Evaluation method

Available soon

Subject matter

  • From analogue photography to digital photography. The historical evolution of photographic materials, their degradation and conservation.
  • Introduction to the conservation and restoration of photographic materials.
  • The relevance of documentation in the condition assessment, treatment proposal and intervention report.
  • Elaboration of comprehensive condition assessment files, able to include distinct types of photographs.
  • Introduction to archivists practical and museological methodologies used for the organization, accessibility, and management of photography collections.
  • Cleaning: principles of cleaning, mechanical cleaning (dry), wet cleaning (direct and indirect), dirt, solvents, surfactants, detergents, pH.
  • Adherence and consolidation: principles of adhesion and consolidation, reversibility and retractability, effectiveness and safety, different types of adhesives and consolidators.
  • Physical stabilization: local stabilization with natural or synthetic paper and adhesive reinforcements, full stabilization (lining), sealing methods for stabilization.
  • Restoration: filing of gaps, chromatic reintegration (mimetic, tratteggio and pointillism), selection of materials for filling and chromatic reintegration.
  • Preventive conservation: environmental conditions (T, RH, light), packaging, exhibition packaging, storage conditioning, anoxia, cold storage, acid-free indicator strips, HR indicators, risk control, planning and implementation of actions preservation for small and large collections, etc.