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Historical Perspectives on Preventive Conservation

  • Edited by Sarah Staniforth

    This is the sixth volume to appear in the Getty Conservation Institute’s Readings in Conservation series, which gathers and publishes texts that have been influential in the development of thinking about the conservation of cultural heritage. The present volume provides a selection of more than sixty-five texts tracing the development of the field of preventive conservation from antiquity to the present day.

    The volume is divided into nine parts: Philosophies of Preventive Conservation, Keeping Things, Early Years of Conservation in Museums, Relative Humidity and Temperature, Light, Pests, Pollution, The Museum Environment and Risk Management, and Future Trends. Writings by such well-known figures as M. Vitruvius Pollio, John Ruskin, and Rachel Carson are complemented by selections from diverse sources including early housekeeping books, eighteenth-century archivist manuals, and Victorian novels. Other seminal texts include John Evelyn’s seventeenth-century tract on air pollution in London and the founding manifesto of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings by William Morris. There is also a wide-ranging representation of recent scholarship, including writings from non-Western traditions such as India and Japan. Each reading is introduced by short prefatory remarks explaining the rationale for its selection and the principal matters covered. There is also a bibliography.

    Intended especially for students, this volume will also be of interest to conservators, museum curators, collection managers, and others involved in caring for collections and objects.

    Sarah Staniforth is museums and collections director at the National Trust in London.

    “This book is like a table laden with so many enticing dishes one doesn’t know where to begin.”
    Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

    “Providing a broad overview, spanning cultures and periods on all aspects of keeping historic and artistic collections, Sarah Staniforth has compiled classic, authoritative and amusing readings from foremost experts in their field. . . . This is sure to be among the more popular books in the library, until the next eagerly awaited publication in the GCI series.”
    NYU Institute of Fine Art Newsgram

    "A calm, elegant, timely reminder that, although preventive conservation might depend on high-tech and expensive equipment, it can (and, more often does) rely on traditional skills."

    Journal of Architectural Conservation

    426 pages
    7 x 10 inches
    10 color and 12 b/w illustrations
    ISBN 978-1-60606-142-8

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: Getty Conservation Institute
    Series: Readings in Conservation