Conservation is an interdisciplinary area of science. The purpose of conservation is to preserve our cultural heritage. Conservation includes all such actions, which slow down and prevent the deterioration of cultural heritage. Conservation can be divided into technical and preventive conservation.
The duration of the studies is four years and the extent 240 credit points. There are six different specialisation fields.
New students are admitted every fourth year, the degree title is Bachelor of Arts (conservation). The Degree Programme in Conservation provides the preparedness to work as a conservator, the specialist responsible for the protection and conservation of the cultural heritage.
The education is based on manual skills and extensive theoretical, technical and scientific education. Documentation, including material analyses, analytic photography, condition surveys and understanding cultural and art historic contexts are an essential part of conservation. Full conservation reports will be resulted after the conservation of objects. Creativity is also an essential part in solving conservation problems.
The studies consist of basic studies, professional studies and optional studies which are closely connected to the chosen specialisation field. The degree also contains practical training (30 credit points) and a Bachelor's Thesis. The subject fields are for example materials and technology, art, chemistry, analysis methods in conservation, photography, digital documentation, preventive conservation and different conservation methods which are applied in practical conservation tasks.
Cooperation and projects with working life during the study time familiarise the students with their future field of work. The working life duties may include for example research and condition surveying.
Education in conservation is international and interdisciplinary education. Theoretical skills are combined with practical skills. The aim is to be able to independently solve conservation problems. Conservators are working as experts protecting world and national cultural heritage in wide sectors – museums, archives, libraries and in various projects. The education also gives possibilities to work as entrepreneurs.
Conservation of Cultural Historical Objects
An object conservator is an expert in a range of various materials. Their expertise includes, for example, the conservation of metals, ceramics, glass and lead glass, as well as wood, bone, leather, stone and shell. Findings from archeological and marine sites together with cultural historical and ethnographical objects are also covered. Object conservators focus on collection care and project management in practical projects.
Furniture conservators are specialised in the conservation of wooden material and its structure and surface treatments. The conservation of metal fittings and other materials belonging to furniture are also covered in the programme. The studies are built on the techniques of furniture making such as veneer, inlay, gilding, retouching and upholstery. Period furniture and wood anatomy are additional topics covered during the curriculum, and students are also familiarised with metals, leather and plastics.
Paintings conservators are acquainted with conservation works of art on wood and canvas – icons, polychrome wooden sculptures, paintings on canvas, modern and contemporary art. Different conservation methods and materials together with historical painting techniques and materials are combined with practical conservation work. Conservation of picture frames and gilding techniques are also topics covered during the study programme. Material analysis based on chemistry and biology fomr an essential part of problem solving in paintings conservation. Studies in the field of collections care and preventive conservation studies are also included in the curriculum.
A paper conservator is a specialist in the preservation of paper and other information containing materials. Large collections are typical to paper conservation. A paper conservator works with a wide range of material from papyrus to DVDs. Documents, books and other printed material together with art on paper and photographs are examples of the extensive variety. Paper chemistry and fibre science, methods of interventive paper conservation as well as book binding, methods of graphic arts and photography, history of photography are topics covered during the programme.
A textile conservator is a specialist in textile materials who works with a variety of textiles including rugs, costumes, ecclesiastical textiles, banners, lace, ethnographic textiles etc. Manual dexterity is combined with aesthetic appreciation of a textile artifact. Studies cover the theory and practice of interventive conservation techniques that are used in the preservation of textiles. Soil removal techniques and stabilization methods are included together with textile history and textile dyeing processes.
The Degree includes various conservation projects that vary according to customers' needs. During the spring of 2006, the students carried out a demanding project in cooperation with the Ostrobothnian Museum in Vaasa. The project included conservation of four wedding dresses dating back to the 1850’s – 60’s, and the conservation of a French silk brocade skirt from the 1740’s. The conservation was carried out in combination of the renewal of the Museum’s basic exhibition which was opened in autumn 2006. The project also included remodelling of dummies in order to fit the costumes.
Conservation of Cultural Historic Interiors
Studies in the Conservation of Cultural Historic Interiors section are focused on taking care of the cultural historic values of building interiors. Besides the combined basic studies, the Degree Programme includes studies on materials (e.g. wood, stone, glass, metal) and their conservation, and surface materials (e.g. paints, varnishes, wall papers) and their conservation. Museology, building documentation and chemistry are also an essential part of the curriculum. Old working techniques and research of surface materials are studied alongside practical conservation work at the building sites.
Head of Degree Programme
kirsi.perkiomaki [at] metropolia.fi