Introduction to Conservation-Restoration Sciences


This curricular unit aims at teatching the scientific method and the application of methodologies from the exact and natural sciences in the area of ​​conservation and restoration.

It is intended for the student to learn i) the principles of the scientific method, ii) the importance of  both experimental design and data analysis, and that she/he iii) understands the wide range of examination and analysis methodologies (photographic, elementary and molecular), with the aim of solving problems found on the cultural heritage. It is also the objective of this curricular unit that the student perceives different mechanical, physical and chemical properties of the artworks'' and cultural heritage''s '' materials, and the importance of the various ranges of electromagnetic radiation in the analysis of their condition and understanding of degradation.

Finally, it is intended that the student develops the ability to communicate science (through two oral group presentations) concisely, on a subject of their choice, within the ones available by the professors. In these communications, it is intended for the students to acquire skills in scientific communication of a problem, understand the reasons behind the chosen methodology, and to be able to understand the obtained results, by communicating them to a general public.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Márcia Gomes Vilarigues, Susana Catarina Dias França de Sá


Weekly - 5

Total - 65

Teaching language





The bibliography will be provided during the classes.

Teaching method

The syllabus of this course is developed based on practical work and exercises that address the scientific method applied to the area of conservation and restoration. The student applies the acquired knowledge to a case study (directly in a heritage object and / or test samples), observing and analyzing its object by various instrumental techniques available in the department''s laboratories.

There will also be room for discussion of scientific articles, as well as the presentation of materials by the professor.

Evaluation method

The evaluation includes a theoretical component (T) and a practical component (P).

The grade of the theoretical component results from the accomplishment of 2 written tests. A minimum grade of 9.5 is required on the average of both tests to have frequency to the course.

Theoretical (NT) = 0.50(1st test) + 0.50(2nd test)

The grade of the practical component results from the completion of 5 evaluation elements: 2 presentations + 3 questionnaires

Practical (NP) = 0.50 (2 presentations) + 0.50 (3questionnaires)

Final Grade = 0.50NT + 0.50NP

Subject matter

This curricular unit covers the following topics:

1 - What is Conservation-Restoration Science - its importance for the Preservation of Heritage

2 - The Scientific Method in C&R

3 - Quantities and orders of magnitude; Measures; Dimensions and dimensional analysis

4 - Interactions and Forces

5 - Elasticity and strength of materials

6 - Light and Color

7 - Interaction of radiation with matter

8 - Lighting in Museums

9 - Radiation in the analysis of works of art

10 - How to present results of a conservation science research to the general public?


Programs where the course is taught: