Conservation of Metallic Objects (A’)

Course Code:

Π1 7020Α


7th Semester

Specialization Category:


Course Hours:




Course Description

Course Theory

The course deals with the conservation process involved for museum collections made of metals. The methods of cleaning such objects are discussed while considering its the original surface, the environmental conditions for  storage, or based on  the context it was found.
The course presents in detail different conservation methods and techniques for cleaning, stabilizating, consolidating and protecting,  using various case studies from different archaeological, ethnographic and historical collections made of metals.

Course Practicals

For the practical part of the course, the students are taught how to carry out a conservation survey of a collection, as well as how to prepare a conservation report for a particular object made of metal. After their scientific examination and documentation of the object, the student will carry out the necessary treatment (i.e., cleaning, stabilization, consolidation, and protection) for the object either for display or for the storage  in a museum. The student will prepare and submit a conservation report on the work they carried out on a specific object during the course of their practical work.

Expected Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course students should be in a position for the following:

-to be able to carry out a conservation survey of museum collection made of metals

-to be able to draft a conservation plan for a museum collection made of metals

-to be able carry out a conservation treatment of a single metal object or mass treatment of a group of objects made of metal

-to be able to preserve a collection of metal objects by using the necessary and appropriate materials for the specific environmental conditions the object(s) is on display or in storage.

The Scope of the Course and Objectives

The Scope of the Course

The course deals with real case studies in conservation of metals, such as treatments (i.e., cleaning, stabilization, consolidation), and protection of moveable objects made of iron, copper, lead, and silver alloys.

Course objectives

The goal of the course is for students to obtain knowledge and skills on how to conserve museum objects made of metals.  The course outlines the conservation of metals for individual objects or as a collection of objects.

Language of evaluation: Greek (English for Erasmus students).

The student’s final grade results from 50% of the grade of the theoretical part and 50% of the grade of laboratory practice.
Students’ evaluation (100%):
– THEORY (50%): Written exam with questions on case-studies and short answer questions
– LAB PRACTICES (50%): Individual or team essay according to the complexity and the difficulty of the objects.

Επιμέλεια: Vasilike Argyropoulos, 2008, Metals and Museums in the Mediterranean: Protecting, Preserving, and Interpreting, TEI of Athens: Athens, p.350.
Giannoulaki, M., Argyropoulos, V., Michalakakos, G., Panou, T., Kantarelou, V., Zarkadas, C., Karydas, A., Perdikatsis, V. and Apostolaki. C. 2007. “A conservation survey of museum metal collections using portable scientific techniques: a case study in the museum of Ancient Messene, Greece”, In METAL07, proceedings of the ICOM-CC Metal WG interim meeting, Amsterdam, C. Degrigny, R. van Langh, B. Ankersmit and I. Joosten (eds.), 1, 67-72. Amsterdam: Rijskmuseum.
Argyropoulos, V., Giannoulaki, M., Michalakakos, G. and Siatou A. 2007b. “A survey of the types of corrosion inhibitors and protective coatings used for the conservation of metal objects from museum collections in the Mediterranean basin”. In Strategies for Saving our Cultural Heritage, V. Argyropoulos, A. Hein and M.A. Harith (eds.), 166-170, Athens: TEI of Athens.
Cronyn, J.M. 1990. The Elements of Archaeological Conservation . London and New York: Routledge.
Berducou, M. C. 1990. La Conservation en Archéologie: Méthodes et Pratique de la Conservation-Restauration des Vestiges Archéologiques, Paris: Masson.
Bertholon, R. 2004. ‘The location of the original surface: a review of the conservation literature’. In Metal 2001: proceedings of the international conference on metals conservation, Santiago, Chile, 2-6 April 2001, 169-179. Australia: Western Australian Museum.
Adriaens, A. 2005. “Non-destructive analysis and testing of museum objects: An overview of 5 years of research”, Spectrochimica Acta B60, 1503-1516.
Keene, S. 1994. ‘Real-time survival rates for treatments of archaeological iron’. In Ancient and Historical Metals:Conservation and Scientific Research: Proceedings of a Symposium Organised by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Conservation Institute, November 1991, Scott, D.A., Podany, J., and Considine, B. (eds.) 249-264. Marina del Rey: Getty Conservation Institute.
Selwyn, L.S. 1990. ‘Historical silver: storage, display, and tarnish removal’. Journal of the International Institute for Conservation-Canadian Group 15: 12-22.
Selwyn, L.S., Logan, J.A. 1993. ‘Stability of treated iron: a comparison of treatment methods’. In Preprints of ICOM Committee for Conservation tenth triennial meeting, Washington, DC, 22-27 August 1993, Bridgland, J (ed.) 803-807. Paris: International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation, 2.