Byzantine and Christian Museum :: About .::. Conservation Dept. .::. Ethical issues

Ethical issues

Many of the works in the Museum’s collections are connected to the Greek Orthodox faith. Apart from their important religious role, however, they are also carriers of historical, artistic and social messages. On entering the Museum environment, they can therefore no longer be considered purely as faith objects, and must be placed in a new interpretative context which highlights their historical, aesthetic and symbolic importance.

Clearly, both the new significations produced when the works are put on display in the Museum and the cultural information they seek to spotlight also have a bearing on the way in which the artefacts are conserved.
At the BCM, conservation efforts seek to reveal the authentic elements of artefacts along with their historical and aesthetic importance, but do so without producing a new artefact or disturbing its innate balance.

Respecting an artefact’s authenticity means avoiding interventions which include an element of creation.

This has given rise to the principle adopted by BCM conservators of keeping interventions to the absolute minimum.

The use of non-destructive, reversible methods and materials is another core principle in the application of interventional conservation of any sort.

However, a poorly conserved or rare work may sometimes require a more drastic response; there can, unfortunately, be no one rule regulating the problems a conservator is called upon to deal with: the need to take subjective decisions is inevitable.

Every work is unique from every point of view, and gives rise to multiple interpretations. Its history, age, use, and the conditions required for its conservation are all additional factors whose interpretation often hinges on the age of a researcher or viewer and the principles espoused by their generation, and which bear on the approach taken in the conservation of a given artefact.

Examination – analysis – study are the cornerstones of an integrated and considered diagnosis of conservation problems.