The Cultural Property Conservation professional is guided by a code of ethics, which was celebrated by all European countries in 2003 by the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers’ Organizations or E.C.C.O ..

  1. Obligations towards Cultural Heritage

Article 5: The conservator-restorer shall respect the aesthetic, historic and spiritual significance and the physical integrity of the cultural heritage entrusted to her/his care.

Article 6: The conservator-restorer, in collaboration with other professional colleagues involved with cultural heritage, shall take into account the requirements of its social use while preserving the cultural heritage.

Article 7: The conservator-restorer must work to the highest standards regardless of any opinion of the market value of the cultural heritage. Although circumstances may limit the extent of a conservator-restorer’s action, respect for the Code should not be compromised.

Article 8: The conservator-restorer should take into account all aspects of preventive conservation before carrying out physical work on the cultural heritage and should limit the treatment to only that which is necessary.

Article 9: The conservator-restorer shall strive to use only products, materials and procedures, which, according to the current level of knowledge, will not harm the cultural heritage, the environment or people. The action itself and the materials used should not interfere, if at all possible, with any future examination, treatment or analysis. They should also be compatible with the materials of the cultural heritage and be as easily and completely reversible as possible.

Article 10: The conservation-restoration treatment of cultural heritage should be documented in written and pictorial records of the diagnostic examination, any conservation / restoration intervention and other relevant information. The report should also include the names of all those who have carried out the work. A copy of the report must be submitted to the owner or custodian of the cultural heritage and must remain accessible. The record remains the intellectual property of the conservator-restorer and shall be retained for future reference.

Article 11: The conservator-restorer must undertake only such work, as s/he is competent to carry out. The conservator-restorer must neither begin nor continue a treatment, which is not in the best interest of the cultural heritage.

Article 12: The conservator-restorer must strive to enrich her/his knowledge and skills with the constant aim of improving the quality of her/his professional work.

Article 13: Where necessary or appropriate, the conservator-restorer shall collaborate with other professionals and shall participate with them in a full exchange of information.

Article 14: In any emergency where cultural heritage is in immediate danger, the conservatorrestorer – regardless of her/his field of specialisation – shall render all assistance possible.

Article 15: The conservator-restorer shall not remove material from cultural heritage unless this is indispensable for its preservation or it substantially interferes with the historic and aesthetic value of the cultural heritage. Materials, which are removed, should be conserved, if possible, and the procedure fully documented.

Article 16: When the social use of cultural heritage is incompatible with its preservation, the conservator-restorer shall discuss with the owner or legal custodian, whether making a reproduction of the object would be an appropriate intermediate solution. The conservator-restorer shall recommend proper reproduction procedures in order not to damage the original.


III. Obligations to the Owner or Legal Custodian

Article 17: The conservator-restorer should inform the owner fully of any action required and specify the most appropriate means of continued care.

Article 18: The conservator-restorer is bound by professional confidentiality. In order to make a reference to an identifiable part of the cultural heritage s/he should obtain the consent of its owner or legal custodian.

Article 19: The conservator-restorer should never support the illicit trade in cultural heritage, and must work actively to oppose it. Where legal ownership is in doubt, the conservator-restorer must check all the available sources of information before any work is undertaken.