Visual Glossary of conservation terms


Understanding the types of damage that may be occurring in a collection is the first step in addressing what risks your collection has been or is exposed to. This photographic glossary will help you identify damage and deterioration within your collection. The Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) has photographed over 60 different types of damage that can occur to your treasured objects and made it available online.

The images cover damage across all object types and describe deterioration that can occur as part of ageing as well as from improper storage, pest attack or as a result of disaster.

Sort through the images to compare and contrast the type of damage on your object, making an inventory of the terms. Use the descriptions in condition reporting or to support grant applications for environmental controls, storage improvements or conservation treatment.

An understanding of the nature of damage in the collection or to an individual object is useful when engaging a professional conservator as it can assist in securing a realistic costing of the conservation work.

The AICCM website also provides a database of professional conservators and a range of collection care resources.

Visit the Visual Glossary