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Conservation and Restoration

The museum's curator is responsible for ensuring artworks are conserved in safety conditions by making sure that presentation or storage does not expose the object to danger or risks of impairment.This technical monitoring is called "preventive conservation".

This means paying careful attention to the organization and maintenance of storerooms, exhibition rooms and also to the respect of technical standards against human and climate damage. The curator defines and schedules the cleanup, decontamination and maintenance (when works enter the collections). Sometimes, the object's conditions require a restoration, which must always be entrusted to accredited professionals.

Restoration aims to improve the conservation and understanding of a work. This is not a matter of repairing or systematically completing an object: to "refurbish it", but rather stabilising its conditions, making it easier to read. Every process performed on an object is significant. From a simple cleaning to a total restoration, it must be carried out by professionals specialised in materials and techniques used.

Before any physical procedure, the object undergoes a careful examination together with an analysis based on an historical research. The restorer and curator work together to find the best solutions.

In France, all restoration activities are subject to the following principles:


The restoration process may more or less restore the object in its entirety (at first glance, there are no visible differences between the original parts and the completed or repainted ones), but should always be detectable on a more detailed examination.

Choices made regarding restoration depend on the object's nature: a pottery extracted from archaeological excavations is better suited to a non illusionist restoration than a highly decorated piece, on which sculptural quality constitutes the main interest.

Respect of the object's history

The different stages in the object's history must remain visible. For this reason, restoration carried out on some ancient items during the 20th century may be conserved if it constitutes an interesting testimony about tastes during that period.


It must be possible to undo all interventions. The tasks carried out and products used are carefully recorded in the restoration file. When part of an object or decoration is incomplete, an analysis of similar objects may help restoring it. However, if there is no indication about its original appearance, it is better to keep the defect clearly visible.

Please, see bellow for restorations carried out on the museum's works.



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