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Conservation at Naval History and Heritage Command

Conservation Branch Macro Treatment Area

Karl Knauer performs aesthetic reintegration with a removable, reversible fill of epoxy, pigments, and glass bubbles to compensate for small losses of wood on a Vietnamese sampan. The sampan is on display at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum’s exhibit, “The Ten-Thousand Day War at Sea: The US Navy in Vietnam, 1950-1975.”

Ethics and Standards

Professional conservators follow a Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.  “…Conservation professionals assume certain obligations to the cultural property, to its owners and custodians, to the conservation profession, and to society as a whole…” Preamble, American Institute for Conservation Directory.  


  • 3-dimensional “objects"
    • metals and other inorganic materials
    • wood and other organic materials
  • textiles
  • archaeological

Not familiar with conservation? Conservation also includes these disciplines:

  • Preventive Conservation – this proactive conservation specialty  analyzes cause-and-effect of environmental and material instability to apply solutions on the macro level to extend the lifespan of whole collections of artifacts and to reduce labor intensive interventive treatments on individual objects.
  • Conservation Science – using tools from the worlds of forensic science and materials science, this branch of conservation specializes in analyzing material composition and deterioration over time and identifying new materials that can be used to preserve artifacts.
  • Exhibit Conservation – identifying and integrating the needs of objects chosen for exhibitions into the designated museum space to increase their accessibility while reducing deterioration while on display
  • Project Conservation/Conservation Management
Published: Fri Feb 12 15:17:43 EST 2021