Conservation Science

Handheld Tracer III-V+ system, including vacuum pump, tripod and computer analysing a painting (Bruker)

The Conservation Science Special Interest Group brings together materials conservation practitioners and scientific researchers who focus on the scientific study of conservation materials issues.

We have an interdisciplinary approach requiring knowledge of analytical instrumentation and monitoring equipment being used in a cultural heritage context.  

Researchers are guided by the Code of Ethics and Code of Practice of the AICCM and thus analytical approaches are designed to be non-destructive where possible, or to involve minimally invasive micro-sampling techniques.





In general, Conservation Science aims to:

  • Identify, characterise and understand materials and techniques of artefacts and/or deterioration issues occurring on artefacts.
  • Assess, develop and improve conservation treatments and approaches.

Examples of topics we explore include:

  • Study of a conservation material – environment system.
  • Studies into preservation materials, degradation restoration, maintenance, conservation, storage, transport and exhibition.
  • Biological, chemical or physical deterioration processes.
  • Designing appropriate methodologies and analytical techniques specifically suited to the characterization of historical artefacts and evaluation of the material conservation state.
  • Micro and macroclimatic monitoring in buildings or localised areas (e.g.: galleries, museums, libraries, historical houses, archives, churches, …)
  • Evaluation of the suitability of products for preservation, restoration, conservation, and consolidation of works of art.
  • New techniques for conservation such as Laser Cleaning and Portable X-ray fluorescence Analysis.
  • Virtual re-construction.

Need more information? Email the Convenor


In September 2015 Dr Bruce Kaiser from Bruker Nano Analytics in the USA held XRF workshops around Australia and New Zealand.  All material for the workshop can be found on line at

In September 2010 the SIG organised a day-long symposium, Synchrotron Science for Cultural Heritage Materials, held at the Australian Synchrotron in Clayton, Melbourne. Following are abstracts of the presentations held at the symposium. 

A role for IMBL in cultural heritage and conservation? Chris Hall

Download Powerpoint presentation [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 1.64 MB]

XAFS - What is it and why use it? Chris Glover

Download Powerpoint presentation [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 1.01 MB]

Art and Cultural Heritage applications Infrared Microscpectroscopy beamline. Ljiljana Puskar

Download Powerpoint presentation [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 1.75 MB]

Synchrotron Powder Diffraction. Kia Wallwork

Download Powerpoint presentation [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 1.79 MB]