IIC-ITCC Course 2016: Non-destructive Analysis in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage

Sunday, 13 November, 2016 - 08:00 to Friday, 18 November, 2016 - 08:00

Course announcement

Following the success of the inaugural programme held last year, IIC is pleased to announce that the 2nd training course organised in partnership with the Palace Museum, Beijing under the IIC-International Training Centre for Conservation (IIC-ITCC) will take place in November 2016. The theme of the forthcoming programme will focus on Non-destructive Analysis – a highly specialized field that is becoming increasingly accessible and popular in museum conservation. We are now inviting applications for the 2016 Programme, the information of which is outlined below:

Theme: Non-destructive Analysis in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage
Dates: 13-18 November 2016
Venue: The Gugong Institute of the Palace Museum, Beijing, China


Both the study and conservation of museum collections call for the application of non-destructive analysis that, in comparison to conventional techniques, allows conservation scientists to obtain pre-requisite information without sampling which may compromise the structural integrity and aesthetic quality of objects. Through the identification of materials, and hence the techniques used to make objects, we can reach back through time to develop a deeper understanding of the history, craftsmanship, provenance and originality of objects. A sensitive and precise analysis can give insights into the degradation process of materials and the artefact’s underlying condition. This is essential for conservators to formulate the most appropriate treatment proposal in order to preserve cultural treasures in their most authentic or appropriate condition.

With the aim of training conservation scientists in both the theory and application of non-destructive analysis, this 5-day course will inform participants of the new methods that are best suited for specific problems in the museum context and the associated challenges that arise when analysing museum objects. Participants will be guided in the basics of operating associated analytical equipment, and will explore the advantages and limitations of different techniques. Participants will also compare the use of different static facilities and portable equipment. At the conclusion of the course, participants will be in a better position to determine the appropriate non-destructive analytical approaches to solve practical cases in their own particular situations.


The course will be conducted in English, combining theory and practice by means of pre-course preparation, lectures, case studies, discussions, demonstration and practical session in the conservation laboratories, museum visits and excursions. Participants will be actively involved in sharing their own knowledge and experiences and participating in group work.


1. Introduction: Current state of non-destructive analysis in conservation of cultural properties
2.1 Technique and Application – Optical techniques
- Microscopy / video microscopy/ virtual 3D microscopy /profilometry
- Imaging (X radiography, Infrared Reflectography)
- Multispectral and Hyperspectral imaging
- Colorimetry/ gloss (vancometer) / reflectance spectroscopy
- Optical Coherence Tomography
2.2 Technique and Application - Elemental analysis
- X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy
2.3 Technique and Application – Molecular analysis
- Non-invasive X-ray Diffraction
- Portable Fourier Transform Infrared and Near Infrared Spectroscopy
- Raman Spectroscopy
- Fluorescence spectroscopy
2.4 Technique and Application – Structural analysis
- Photogrammetry/3D laser scanning
- X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanning
- Ultrasonic testing / structural defect monitoring
3 Selecting Appropriate Techniques
4 Case studies by the Palace Museum


The course is open to a maximum of 24 participants who:

  1. have a tertiary education background in science or conservation studies;
  2. possess 3­-5 years of work experience in scientific analysis (or equivalent) directly related to the preservation of cultural heritage;
  3. have a good command of English.


The teaching faculty is composed of conservation scientists and specialists from IIC, the Palace Museum and other leading institutions, including:

  1. Dr David Saunders, British Museum (UK)
  2. Dr Jixiang Shan, Palace Museum, Beijing (China)
  3. Dr Austin Nevin, National Research Council (Italy)
  4. Professor Haida Liang, Nottingham Trent University (UK)
  5. Dr Giovanni Verri, Courtauld Institute of Art (UK)
  6. Dr Lynne Lee, Getty Conservation Institute (USA)

Medium of Instruction



There is no tuition fee for this course.
For participants residing outside Mainland China (including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao), his/her cost of attending the programme will be covered by IIC-ITCC, including:
- Round-trip air tickets to and from Beijing;
- Accommodation and meals during the course period.
Expenses for visa application shall be borne by the participants.


Please fill in the course application form attached to the bottom of this page and send it by email to cpcliu@lcsd.gov.hk on or before Monday 20 June. Candidates are requested to submit a personal statement describing the relevance of non-destructive analysis to their day-to-day work and the potential benefits of this course to his/her professional development.
Please note that full time presence during the course period is required.
For inquiries about the programme, please feel free to contact the IIC-ITCC Secretariat at cpcliu@lcsd.gov.hk or iicitcc@126.com.


We thank Bei Shan Tang Foundation for their generous support to IIC in delivering the 2016 Training Programme.