This symposium brings together an international group of experts in the mechanical characterization of historic and artists’ materials to discuss current and future trends in the study and preservation of museum collections. We will create a forum to discuss how mechanical research can inform decision-making in the management of museum environments, practical conservation, and the transportation of art objects.


Slowing or preventing physical changes in art objects is a fundamental and challenging aim for collections preservation. The role of scientific research is critical in understanding and quantifying processes that can affect collections, including, temperature- and humidity-induced strain, shock and vibration, material fatigue, damage by exposure to light and ultraviolet, and chemical interactions with pollutants. Knowledge of such processes will better inform appropriate object conservation strategies.

In the absence of this information and data, it is common in the museum community to adopt a “risk averse” approach, which can lead to adherence to stringent procedures and environmental conditions that can be prohibitively expensive, unsustainable, and significantly limit access to objects.

Research over the past decade has collected detailed material data to understand physical behavior, support modeling of failure mechanisms and identify the critical conditions that lead to physical change of museum objects.

Several scientific groups have focused on the development of data-based predictive tools that reflect the nuances of these degradation models. These tools enable practitioners to select materials and construction types, and define an object’s state of conservation. The relevance of such tools depends on the implementation of effective validation procedures.

For more information, please visit the website of the event.