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The Conservation Department offers a unique combination of traditional craft skills and state of the art scientific analysis for training in the conservation and restoration of three dimensional works of art and cultural artifacts.

The Conservation Department is one of the longest standing conservation training centres in the UK. The Department was formally established in 1973, but grew out of the Restoration & Carving courses founded in 1946 by William Wheeler, developed to train specialists for the restoration of London architecture, monuments and treasures damaged during the Second World War. The Art School has held on to its commitment to excellence in both historic carving and conservation with two highly successful departments in both subjects alongside its highly acclaimed Fine Art department and Foundation course in Art and Design.
The Conservation Departments focus is on the conservation of three:dimensional cultural objects made from wood, stone and other related sculptural materials, together with conservation of decorative surfaces. Students work on a wide variety of objects loaned from leading public and private institutions. Under close supervision from a team of specialist tutors, students carry out all phases of conservation of artifacts, including examination, documentation and treatment through to the compiling of recommendations for future care.

The Conservation Department is currently involved in collaborative projects with the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Gallery, Rochester Cathedral, St Pauls Cathedral, the Watts Gallery, English Heritage, Westminster Abbey, the Foundling Museum, Venice in Peril and other important cultural institutions. These live projects offer our students rare opportunities to work directly with conservation professionals and provide invaluable insights into the ways that treatment decisions are made and how conservation ethics are applied in real life situations. All research projects make use of the analytical techniques taught often in collaboration with the Materials Department at Imperial College through our Memorandum of Understanding.

In 2012 the Department was refurbished to provide a high quality and well equipped specialist working environment. Thanks to a generous donation from a private benefactor the Conservation Department acquired a laser (Nd:YAG Q:switch) in 2008 and since then it has been the only place in the UK providing students with the opportunity to learn and test laser cleaning techniques.

he Conservation Department has a generous ratio of staff to students and the study week is full and demanding. All tutors are highly experienced professionals with many years of experience in conservation, who combine their professional activities with teaching at the Art School on a part time basis. This creates a vibrant environment where students have the opportunity to interact with the world of professional conservation.

The conservation students represent a diverse international community across a wide range of age groups, cultural and professional backgrounds.

A number of organisations and private individuals support our students with bursaries and sponsorship. This is in recognition of the high standards and importance of the courses for the cultural sector and their role in securing the future for these specialist skills.

The Department is both nationally and internationally renowned for its preparation of conservators for the world of skilled practical conservation and for the care of historic property. Our graduates enjoy one of the highest rates of employment in the professional field. The Department alumni list includes conservators in all of the major museums in the UK, some of them occupying senior positions. Many of our graduates are also employed in the private sector as freelance conservators.

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View a short film about the Conservation Department

Student Support
Student Support

Conservation News
Conservation News

Conservation Students
Conservation Students

Conservation Staff
Conservation Staff


Conservation Email
+ 44 (0)20 70911685