IIC-ITCC Course 2015: Scientific approaches to preventive conservation

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Lecturers, guests and participants at the opening ceremony of the IIC-ITCC 2015 Programme  © IIC-ITCC/Palace Museum
Sunday, 20 September, 2015 - 07:00 to Friday, 25 September, 2015 - 07:00

Venue: Gugong Institute, the Palace Museum

Led by a team of nine distinguished lecturers from IIC and Palace Museum, the inaugural course hosted 20 participants from different institutions across mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, India, Egypt, Qatar, Canada, Barbados and Mexico. The diversity of the participants’ backgrounds and experience provided an engaging environment in which they could learn from one another’s museum and cultural backgrounds and their differing approaches to familiar problems.

With the theme of preventive conservation - a topic that is of profound interest in the field of heritage preservation and collection management - the inaugural course was devised to review the current methodologies and applications, and to inform participants about current approaches to the formulation of priorities and strategies for preventive conservation in their own institutions. There was also a session dedicated to condition assessments in various locations within the environs of the Palace Museum, such as the Qianlong Garden. Participants in small groups were assigned specific tasks with guiding questions and the results of these were a fruitful analysis and exchange of views in an informal atmosphere, made just before the session concluded.

Coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the Palace Museum, participants were able to enjoy the privilege of visiting the Museum’s recently refurbished conservation laboratories, the newly revealed areas of the magnificent palatial architecture, as well as a selection of thematic exhibitions in celebration of the anniversary. Together, the course provided a setting for conservation professionals to acquire the necessary expertise as well as to broaden their international perspectives and networks.

Course details


  1. History and theory of preventive conservation
  2. Physical, chemical and biological agents of deterioration
  3. Risk management and emergency procedures
  4. IIC/ICOM-CC guidelines on environmental control
  5. Preventive conservation practice in different climates
  6. Energy saving in museum and heritage organisations
  7. Management and Future trends


  • Sarah Staniforth
  • Dr David Saunders
  • Dr Jixiang Shan
  • Dr Jirong Song
  • Jo Kirby Atkinson
  • Dr Mikkel Scharff
  • Jerry Podany
  • Velson Horie
  • Dr Robert Waller

Medium of Instruction


Feedback from participants

“… The networking and informal meetings with colleagues from various international settings and locations during social time were excellent. The focus shifted away from the typical Euro-American participant, and expanded my network of Chinese colleagues. Having both colleagues who face similar environmental and infrastructural issues, and having others with dissimilar experiences also helped to create a more balanced setting...”
-- Nerys Rudder, Barbados

“… The course has provided me a very systematic approach to identifying and resolving threats which would potentially affect historic buildings, museums and the collections housed within them. This raised awareness will substantially enhance my sensitivity in historic buildings conservation and museum design issues... ”
-- Andrew Nam, Hong Kong

Course materials

Reading reference, teaching notes and presentation files of the course are downloadable from the attachment at the bottom of this page. Copyrights of the teaching materials are attributed to IIC-ITCC and the Palace Museum. For inquiries, please feel free to contact the secretariat at cpcliu@lcsd.gov.hk.


IIC would like to record our thanks to Bei Shan Tang Foundation for their generous support of IIC in delivering the 2015 training programme. Our gratitude also goes to the Palace Museum for their impressive organisation work and generous hospitality that went into the smooth delivery of this vibrant, interesting and rewarding programme.