Histories and Theories of Conservation

Subject AHIS40015 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2015.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5 hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment:



Admission to fourth year honours or postgraduate diploma in art history, or MA program in art history or art curatorship.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

Formerly available as 107-040. Students who have completed 107-040 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Christopher Marshall


Subject Overview:

This subject will include an analysis of the conservation issues in the preservation of ancient archaeological sites, the emergence of the professional painter restorers such as Bellini and Titian in Renaissance Italy, art restoration controversies such as the Sistine Ceiling, 19th century criticism by John Ruskin and Viollet-Le-Duc on how Gothic architecture should be restored, ecotourism and the art of indigenous Australian peoples, changes in conservation as a result of new technology, and the conservation of films on celluloid and video. Students should become conversant with the major debates concerning conservation and contemporary museology.

Learning Outcomes:
  • be conversant with the major debates concerning conservation;
  • be versed in debates relating to contemporary museology; and
  • be able to evaluate what happens in a restoration controversy.

Seminar paper of 2000 words 40% (due one week after presentation), and an essay of 3000 words 60% (due in the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% (or 10 out of 12) classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Any student who fails to meet this hurdle without valid reason will not be eligible to pass the subject. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject. Essays submitted after the due date without an extension will be penalised 2% per day. Essays submitted after two weeks of the assessment due date without a formally approved application for special consideration or an extension will only be marked on a pass/fail basis if accepted.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
  • be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision; and
  • be able to participate in team work through involvement in syndicate groups and group discussions.

Formerly available as 107-040. Students who have completed 107-040 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Art Curatorship
150 Point Master of Art Curatorship
200 Point Master of Art Curatorship
Art History
Art History
Art History
Art History
Art History
Art History
Art History

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