Theory and Practice
The common approach to Conservation at West Dean College
A statement drawn up by all the Conservation tutors at West Dean College
The activity of those Diploma Programmes at West Dean College that undertake the treatment of cultural heritage falls within the general definition of Conservation. Conservation includes all measures taken in order to aid the understanding and interpretation of heritage, through ensuring the material integrity of objects. In its least interventive form, Conservation involves measures taken to stabilise objects by influencing their environment and conditions of storage, use or display. At a more interventive level it includes practical treatments such as cleaning, consolidation and repair. Where appropriate it can extend to the replacement of missing parts and visual integration of new components. As such, the processes of preservation, repair, and restoration are all part of the activity of Conservation; either individually or collectively. The extent to which each is applied will depend on the object being treated and its context. Treatment decisions are taken after discussion with interested parties, and it is recognised that conventions within each subject area differ to an extent. However the principle common to all Programmes is that treatments should involve the minimum action necessary to ensure the continued and sustainable interpretation of the object, in its context, as an historic artefact.