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Definition: 'All measures and actions aimed at safeguarding tangible cultural heritage while ensuring its accessibility to present and future generations. Conservation embraces preventive conservation, remedial conservation, and restoration. All measures and actions should respect the significance and the physical properties of the cultural heritage item.

Conservation measures and actions can sometimes serve more than one aim. For instance varnish removal can be both restoration and remedial conservation. The application of protective coatings can be both restoration and preventive conservation. Reburial of mosaics can be both preventive and remedial conservation.

(ref. ICOM-CC document 'Terminology to characterize the conservation of tangible cultural heritage', prepared for ICOM-CC meeting in New Delhi, 2008).

 Conservation is complex and demands the collaboration of relevant qualified professionals. In particular, any project involving direct actions on the cultural heritage requires a conservator-restorer (ref. ICOM-CC definition of the profession, Copenhagen, 1984, and ICOM code of ethics).