Preventive conservation and IPM: their sustainability for cultural properties protection


Abstract: While in Europe IPM standard has just been published, in Italy restoration culture still represents the main conservation practice because of the high visibility for both the property itself and the conservation institution, as well as for public and private sponsors. This research was carried out in Northern Italy institutions “hosting” different properties that realized a restauration activity due to insect damage. For each of them costs due to ordinary organizational management, restoration, and IPM were investigated in order to compare and analyse them and verify the sustainability of preventive conservation measures. This research shows not only a very limited disposability to provide internal, financial data but also the tendency to have incomplete data recording. For these reason it is very difficult to verify the convenience of different management strategies. Furthermore, it confirms the general absence of preventive conservation programs due to the ignorance of the existence of an IPM standard procedure and the lack of prepared staff. In the only case in which an IPM program has been part of the standard management since many years, its annual cost represents only the 0.2% of the estimated value of the collection. The effective prevention plans with an IPM project are definitely a small matter compared to assets value. It would be desirable that institutions support the prevention costs to create long-term solutions rather than a single restoration.

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