Virtualizing Conservation: Reflections on Conservation Theory

By Eleni Kotoula.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This article addresses to what extent computer applications contribute to museum conservation objectives, defined as the balance of preservation, investigation, and display of artifacts. It evaluates novel two- and three-dimensional digitization technologies for enhanced examination and recording. It provides case studies on alternative digital conservation methodologies for conservation operations. It approaches the coexistence of physical and digital artifacts critically within the museum environment. It explores the nature and transformations introduced in the theoretical frameworks for conservation and the interrelationships formed between traditional museum practices, conservation objectives, and computer applications. Results indicate that the proposed methodologies alter the dynamics of conservation. Digital techniques manage to balance between the core ideas of conservation. These are potentially initial steps for a new subdiscipline that will focus on virtualization of conservation practice, rather than digitization of artifacts.

Keywords: Conservation, Digital, Technology

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp.23-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.327MB).

Dr. Eleni Kotoula

Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Forensic and Applied Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK

Eleni Kotoula is Conservator of Antiquities and Works of Art and holds a PhD in Archaeological Computing from the University of Southampton, UK. She has worked as conservator and participated in interdisciplinary research projects. Her research is focused on computer applications in cultural heritage and development of alternative approaches for documentation, examination, analysis, and presentation, as well as restoration. She has been involved in software development projects targeted to conservation science and imaging data integration. Currently, she is focused on computational analysis of rock art.

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