Preventive Conservation

Subject CUMC90029 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

October, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 12-Sep-2016
Teaching Period 03-Oct-2016 to 14-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 07-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 16-Sep-2016
Census Date 07-Oct-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 21-Oct-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours of lectures and seminars across the teaching period.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Admission to the MC-CULMC Master of Cultural Material Conservation or the GCA-ARTS Graduate Certificate in Arts (Specialisation in Cultural Material Conservation)

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have completed CUMC40004 Preventive Conservation, 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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Nicole Tse



Subject Overview:

This subject examines the physical and chemical causes of deterioration of cultural material, and considers how these can be effectively mitigated. Areas of study include light exposure, fluctuations and extremes of temperature and relative humidity, physical stresses, biodeterioration, and pollutants. Students will critically evaluate current theories, international standards and guidelines for the management of museum and cultural collection environments and contexts. The context and opportunities for the implementation of a preventive conservation approach within an overall risk management framework will be emphasised, including environmental impact, budgetary implications, sustainability, and stakeholder management.

It is now readily acknowledged by most commentators that it is culturally preferable as well as financially advantageous to minimise or prevent deterioration of cultural material than to apply remedial conservation intervention after avoidable damage has been sustained. However this is a decision making, community based process embedded in individual, institutional and community needs. As such this subject lays a critical foundation for effective professional practice as a conservator.

During the pre-teaching period students are expected to complete the course readings, review the lectures and any other course preparation as outlined on the LMS. The LMS will become available at the commencement of the pre-teaching dates.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • understand the main deterioration mechanisms that affect cultural material;
  • apply preventive conservation principles to the design of storage, transport and display methods in order to minimise the impact of degradation factors;
  • soundly understand the effects of different physical and environmental conditions on materials;
  • evaluate the risks associated with these parameters within an evidence based model; and
  • propose sustainable risk management strategies to assist the long-term preservation of public and private collections.
  • A ten minute class presentation due during the teaching period (20%)
  • A 1500 word class paper due during the assessment period (20%)
  • A 3000 word report due during the assessment period (60%)

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 100% of seminars in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available in the pre-teaching period.

Recommended Texts:

Additional texts may be recommended.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Urban and Cultural Heritage
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 150 Point Master of Cultural Material Conservation
200 Point Master of Cultural Material Conservation
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - Cultural Materials Conservation

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