NMK Global

Figure 1. A photograph of a common conservation process

Introduction to Conservation Science and International Exchanges

Conservation science refers to the study of the conservation and restoration of cultural properties. Over time, cultural materials suffer environmental and natural damage (physical, chemical, and biological), as well as damage caused by air pollution and people. To breathe new life into damaged cultural materials and restore them to their original forms, it is necessary to find the right balance between the traditional techniques of the past and the advanced methods of today. Conservation science is dedicated to the research, survey, and conservation (environmental management and restoration) of cultural heritages. The domain of conservation science expands beyond restoration (repair and reconstruction) of tangible cultural heritages such as metal, clay/ceramic, wood, ancient architecture, stone cultural properties, paintings, papers, and textiles. It also covers the study of the technological history of cultural heritages, as well as preventive conservation, including environmental management.
The National Museum of Korea is well known for its expertise in conservation science. The museum’s activities in this area include inviting researchers from abroad to train staff, and undertaking conservation projects for cultural properties excavated outside of South Korea. The museum also operates overseas training and survey programs aimed at strengthening academic exchanges with overseas museums.

Exhibitions and Workshops:

a.Exhibitions
  • Scientific Poster Exhibition
    Conservation and treatment of the cultural heritage of mankind; November 1992
    Management: Collaboration among the Berlin Museum of Indian Art in Germany, and the National Museum of Korea
    Place: Central Hall, National Museum of Korea
b.Workshops

Conservation Technology Workshop

  • 1978
    Topic: Louise Bacon’s Conservation Science for Bronze Artifacts
    Supervised by: National Museum of Korea
    Sponsored by: British Council Korea
  • 1992
    Topic: Conservation of Central Asian Fresco Paintings
    Supervised by: Collaboration among the Berlin Museum of Indian Art in Germany, and the National Museum of Korea
    Participants: 40 universities and experts (South Korea and Germany)
c.Visits by overseas conservation scientists
  • 1989: Mr. Sawada from the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
  • 1996: Mr. Gong Wi Lee (Liao Ying Museum), for research collaboration on wooden artifacts
d.Overseas training records of curators (summary)
Overseas training records of curators (summary)
Year Name Place Area
1975 Sang Su Lee National Palace Museum, Taiwan Clay/ceramic objects
1975–1976 Oh Hee Lee Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan Metal, bronze objects
1979–1980 Sang Su Lee Hamburg Museum of Anthropology, Germany
Victoria and Albert Museum, UK
Fresco painting, metal, glass, stone, clay/ceramic
1990 Byeong Chan Ahn Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan Material experiments and researches on conservation technologies for Korean and Japanese objects
1991 Byeong Chan Ahn Hamburg Conservation Treatment Research Institute, Germany Technological training on conservation science for Central Asian fresco paintings
1992 Sang Su Lee Germany Participated in an ADR Meeting for the International Conservation Convention
1993 Hei Sun Yu Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan Joint research for the analysis of ancient objects in Korean and Japan
1994 Hei Sun Yu Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Japan Training on fatty acid analysis technique
1995 Hei Sun Yu Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan
Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Japan
Training on fatty acid analysis technique
2003 Hyeok Nam Gwon, Hak Su Park Romano-Germanic Museum, Germany Collected technological materials on conservation science
Su Cheol Kim France (ARC-Nucléart) Training on conservation of waterlogged wood
2006 Hyeon Seong Hwang France (Quai Branly Museum, Paris Conservation Research Institute, Louvre Museum, Guimet, Limoges Museum of Porcelain) Training on the conservation and restoration of European ceramics
Collected technological materials on conservation treatment

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