Finally, in 1950, the International Institute for the Conservation of Museum Objects (it acquired its present title in 1959) was incorporated as a limited company in the United Kingdom. Its aims were "to improve the state of knowledge and standards of practice and to provide a common meeting ground and publishing body for all who are interested in and professionally skilled in the conservation of museum objects".
The Institute would become concerned with:
- The status of conservators, by forming a professional self-electing body
- Publications: abstracts of the technical literature, and original work with a scientific bias - the end of the "secrets of the Old Masters"
- Training, with the aim of raising standards
The office, established with the help of a grant from the Nuffield Foundation, was to be in London as the "midpoint" between the USA and continental Europe; the UK had beneficial tax laws, it was easy to receive funds there, and the Institute could obtain charitable status. The membership was to consist of Fellows - who would be "persons highly qualified in (or in positions of great authority in) conservation - and Associates, who would be "persons anxious to promote the objects of the Institute". Later a category of Institutional Members was introduced.
During 1948-50 approaches were made to likely Fellows. When the Institute was founded in 1950, the Founder Fellows were George Stout, Rutherford J.Gettens, Richard Buck, W.G. Constable, Murray Pease, Ian Rawlins, Harold Plenderleith, Sir Wallace Akers (chairman of ICI), Helmut Ruhemann and Paul Coremans; others who joined in that first year included Arthur van Schendel, René Sneyers and Sheldon and Caroline Keck. George Stout became the Institute's first President, with Harold Plenderleith as Treasurer and Ian Rawlins as Secretary, and office space was provided free by the Trustees of the National Gallery. The Institute moved to its own independent offices in 1968.
By 1952 there were about 100 Fellows and the Institute was opened to Associate members. In the same year Studies in Conservation made its appearance, first twice-yearly and later quarterly. IIC Abstracts (later Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts) followed in 1955. In 1961, with the help of a grant from the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Institute held its first international conference.