Steady Steps Ahead


In 1966, at the UNESCO regional seminar on the development of museums in India, conservation of art in museums was one of the major subjects for the UNESCO regional seminar and the Indian Association for the Study of Conservation of Cultural Property (IASC) was formed. The 46th National Conference, ‘Conservation of Cultural Property in India: Steady Steps Ahead’ was organized by the CSMVS Museum Art Conservation Centre from June 2- 4, 2014. The event was held under the aegis of the Art Conservation Resurgence Project supported by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. The objective of the Conference was to take stock of art conservation in India, share experience and engage in dialogue to take steady steps ahead to further the cause of conservation of cultural property.

254 conservation professionals, museologists, trainers, educators, representing most of the states of India attended and participated in this conference that was inaugurated by Dr. Venu Vasudevan, Director General, National Museum. Officials from 76 institutions participated in this conference including Directors of important national and state museums of the country.

Snapshot of events
Inauguration and Release of the IASC Journal
Felicitation and lifetime achievement award to Mr. A.S. Bisht, ex chief restorer, National Museum, Delhi   

'SECTOR BACKGROUND AND CHALLENGES FOR ART CONSERVATION IN INDIA': This Panel Discussion on was held at the conference and it surveyed present infrastructure, training, formal educational programmes, practices, systems, protocols, health and safety as well as the approach to art conservation by various stake holders. The panelist also identified the challenges that art conservation practice in India must surmount and discussed possible means of doing this.

'CLIMATIC PARAMETERS FOR MUSEUMS IN INDIA’: This Technical Meeting was attended by Directors of various museums. The group discussed the range of climatic variations in India, low application of climate control strategies in museums at a time when there is an increase in the number of museums being developed or renovated.

PAPER PRESENTATIONS: The conference comprised of intensive full day working sessions over three days and 49 papers were simultaneously presented at two venues. The subjects included the following: Reflectance Transformation Imaging and scientific analysis techniques, Pesticide Free Approaches to Pest Management, Art Laws, Conservation of monuments, Conservation of paintings and other objects including murals, metals, photographs, natural history specimens, paper materials, textiles, Documentation systems and digital mapping, heritage management, crafts, environmental pollution, biodeterioration, preventive conservation and intangible heritage. Group discussions took place after every session.


VENDORS’ STALLS: Stalls were installed by various national and international companies displaying equipment, products and materials related to art conservation. The participants got a chance to see new products, discuss their efficacy of application

EXHIBITION: ART CONSERVATION EFFORTS: An exhibition of 32 panels (each 6 ft high) showcased art conservation work done by various participating institutions and individuals. A section was dedicated to showcase the work done by the Art Conservation Resurgence Project. This exhibition was open to the public.

While many comment that this was the largest national conference on art conservation held in terms of scale, attendance, and events, we hope that it goes beyond this and is able to take help us to take steady steps ahead to implement the various suggestions voiced by the participants to further the cause of conservation of cultural property across the length and breadth of India.