Preventive Conservation


The goal of these lectures is to give the students the practical and theoretical knowledge that allow them to act in order to retard the main deterioration process and damage of our cultural heritage.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Filomena Meireles Abrantes de Macedo Dinis


Weekly - 6

Total - 21

Teaching language



This UC has no requirements


Ashley-Smith, Jonathan (1999). Risk assessment for object conservation. Butterworth-Heinemann, Londres

Camuffo D. (1998). Microclimate for cultural heritage. Developments in Atmospheric Science, 23. EC Elsevier Oxford

Hatchfield P. B. (2002) Pollutants in the Museum Environment. Practical Strategies for problem solving in design, exhibition and storage. Archetype publications

Maekawa S. (1998). Oxygen-Free Museum Cases. Research in conservation. The Getty Conservation Institute.

Schaeffer T T. (2001) Effects of light on Materials in collections. Data on photoflash and related sources. Research in conservation. The Getty Conservation Institute.

Selwitz C. & Maekawa S. (1998). Inert gases in the Control of Museum Insect Pests. Research in conservation. The Getty Conservation Institute.

Tétreault J. (2004). Airborne Pollutants in museums, Galleries, and Archives: Risk Assessment, Control Strategies, and Preservation Management. Canadian Conservation Institute

Thomson, Garry (1986). The Museum Environment. 2nd Edition. Butterworth-Heinemann.  Londres

Vários (1994). Care of Collections. Routledge, London, 1994. KNELL, S. (Ed.)

Vários (1994). Preventive Conservation practice theory and research. Preprints of the Contribution to the Ottawa Congress, 12-16 September 1994. The International Institute for Conservation of historic and artistic Works (IIC) Ashok Roy & Perry Smith (Eds)

Vários (2000). Rational decision making in the preservation of cultural property. Report of the 86th Dahlem Workshop on rational. DahlemUniversity Press Baer & Snickars (Eds)

Vários (2002). Conservation Science 2002. Papers from the Conference Held in Edinburg, Scotland 22-24 May 2002, Townsend JH, Eremin Adriaens A (Eds)

Vários (2002). The Manual of Museum Exhibition. Altamira Press 2002, Oxford, Lord & Lord (Eds)

Waller R. Robert (2003). Cultural Property Risk Analysis Model. Goteborg Studies in Conservation 13. Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis

Teaching method

Lectures, study visits and to draw up a small report

Evaluation method


This CU has frequency, that is, set of conditions to be satisfied by the student to have access to the exam; The student will have access to the Examination as long as it does not miss more than 2/3 of the theoretical and practical classes.

There are 4 components of continuous evaluation: 3  tests of theoretical evaluation (T) and one of practical evaluation (P). To have approval to the CU is necessary to have a minimum of 9.5 values in both components (theoretical and practical)

The theoretical evaluation (T) includes 3 tests carried out during the semester, the final theoretical evaluation being obtained by the average of the tests. Those who can not /or will not do the theoretical evaluation by tests can always do it in Exam.  The Theoretical Assessment is worth 60% of the final grade.

The practical evaluation (P) is carried out on the basis of a final group report and oral presentation of that report. Students worked in groups and the grade will be assigned to the group. Thus the final grade is calculated as follows:

Final Note = (0.6 * T) + (0.4 * P)

T =  theoretical tests average or Exam grade.

Admission to examination depends on the frequency of 2/3 of theoretical-practical classes, except in legally defined cases.

Factors such as problem solving ability, attendance and punctuality will be continuously assessed throughout the semester and across all components.

Subject matter

Summary of the theoretical classes:
  1.  Preventive Conservation (PC)
  2. Deterioration agents
  3.  Control of the deterioration agents
  4. Decision making process: a fundamental activity in  PC
  5. Risk assessment for cultural property 
  6. Temperature and humidity
  7. Effects of light on Materials in collections
  8. Fisical forces
  9. Fire
  10. Water
  11. Thieves, vandals, displacers
  12. Main airborne Pollutants
  13. Materials used in Museums
  14. Integrated Pest management
  15. Exposition process
  16. Collections storage
  17. Emergency plan
  18.   Inspection
  19. Monitoring Program
  20. Case studies
Summary of the practical classes: 
  • Risk assessment: determination of the risk magnitude
  • Temperature and measurements methods
  • Relative humidity and measurements methods
  • Light
  •  Anoxic treatments
  • Studied trips
  • Practical Projects
  • Discussion of the Practical Projects


Programs where the course is taught: