Future Challenges In And For Conservation

Conservation & Restoration

Climate change and natural disasters, sustainable use of resources and inclusion: These are just a few of the keywords that crop up when we think about the challenges facing our society in the 21st century. Many of these words also relate to the conservation of our cultural heritage. So what are the future challenges in and for conservation and restoration?

The institute addressed this crucial question during this year’s summer semester.

Students from all years and classes worked together with teaching and research staff on the following four questions about the future:


How does climate change affect the preservation of cultural assets and how can we, as conservators, prepare for it?

New threats and the increasing number of extreme weather events pose a serious risk to monuments and entire collections.


How can we prepare for emergencies and disasters to best protect our cultural heritage?

In view of increasing natural disasters, risk and emergency prevention and planning, as well as first aid of cultural properties are and will become essential to the job of conservators.


How can the museum practice guarantee the sustainable preservation and exhibition of cultural assets?

Sustainability is more topical than ever in the context of museums and collection storages. Ecological, economic, and socially relevant conservation strategies need to be addressed.


What is a professional and respectful manner of handling of “loaded” or “sensitive” cultural assets?

Human remains, looted art, exhibits from the Nazi era, and religious cultural artefacts are just some of the many sensitive objects that restorers are confronted with in their everyday work.

A solution-oriented approach to these questions is the basis for the development of forward-looking concepts, which will enable the Angewandte’s “conseration” processes, as well as the discipline itself, to be better equipped for the future.


Prof. Gabriela Krist, Institute of Conservation

Sustainability in conservation-restoration – gloves, (C) SiC

Sustainability in conservation-restoration – gloves, (C) SiC

Sensitive cultural assets, collection of skulls in the Rollettmuseum Baden, Photo: Christoph Schleßmann

Sensitive cultural assets, skull from the collection in the Rollettmuseum Baden, Photo: Christoph Schleßmann