History of Icon Accreditation

The development of professional accreditation for conservators

History of Icon Accreditation

The first discussions calling the professionalisation of the sector, which ultimately led to the development of Icon Accreditation, took place in the 1980s with these discussions really starting in earnest in the early 1990s. Below we have outlined the key dates and activities which led to the development of Icon Accreditation in 2000 and how it has continued to evolve over the last 20 years.

More in-depth information is available on the website of consultant Dr Stan Lester (commissioned to design an accreditation framework for conservators) who has produced several detailed reports which explore this history in more detail. 

1993 | 'Conservation Forum' developed
A partnership of sector bodies, the Conservation Forum - subsequently known as the National Council for Conservation Restoration (NCCR) - was introduced in 1993 to drive forward the professionalism of the conservation profession in the UK, and to work towards the development of a common set of Professional Standards for the sector. Amongst others this body included the United Kingdom Institute for Conservation (UKIC), the Institute of Paper Conservation (IPC) and Society of Archivists (SoA).

1998 | Developing PACR (Professional Accreditation of Conservator Restorers)
UKIC, IPC and the SoA formed the Joint Accreditation Group of the Conservation forum, as a subgroup of the Conservation Forum. With funding from the constituent groups as well as from the Museum & Galleries Commission and Historic Scotland commissioned Dr Stan Lester to develop the Professional Accreditation of Conservator Restorers (PACR).

1999 | 'Fast Track' Accreditation
It was recognised that there needed to be a base of Accredited Conservators from which PACR could be developed. As such, the UKIC, SoA and IPC ran what was known as 'Fast Track', conservators with at least 10 years of professional experience were eligible to apply. Accreditation was managed through dedicated committees in each of the groups made up of professional conservators to review and approve the Accreditation of applicants.

2000 | PACR rolled out
Delivered through the SoA, UKIC and IPC, PACR was formally launched an opened to applicants. Accredited conservators were trained to become mentors to support professionals applying through PACR and as assessors, to act as the peer reviewers assessing candidates in their workplace.

2001 | First conservators accredited through PACR
Each group ran its own Accreditation Committees, who met for the first time in 2001, to moderate and review assessment reports from applicants from these first trailblazing applicants.

2003 | First CPD Reviews
A system for ensuring maintenance and enhancement of professional capability through Continuing Professional Development was launched to monitor the ongoing development of all ACRs by peer review. Initially a mandatory CPD review was carried out for all ACRs in 2003. It has continued to be enforced with all ACRs being periodically recalled by Icon to submit a CPD review on a mandatory basis to ensure a high standard of conservation across the profession.

2005 | Icon formed
When the Institute of Conservation (Icon) was formed in 2005 it became the owner of PACR and was delivered in partnership with the Archives and Records Association (ARA) and the British Horological Institute (BHI). The PACR Management Board was formed, to oversee the delivery across the partnership.

2007 | Broadening the range of specialisms
To ensure that Accreditation fully reflected the breath of the professions, concerted efforts were made to encourage Conservation Managers and Preventive conservators to become Accredited conservators. This resulted in a surge in the numbers of applicants coming forward helping to drive PACR forward.

2016 | Icon becomes the sole provider for PACR
Icon became the sole accrediting membership body of PACR in 2016. BHI and ARA members accredited through the PACR process were given the opportunity to transfer their Accredited status to Icon.

2019 | Icon Accreditation
Through consultation with the Icon membership the need to ensure that Accreditation was clearly recognised as being awarded by Icon became apparent. As part of the 2019 Icon Accreditation development plan, the PACR framework was renamed 'Icon Accreditation' and a new logo was introduced for Accredited members to reflect this change.

2020 | Continuing the development of Icon Accreditation
Icon Accreditation continues to develop as it celebrates its 20th Anniversary year, which has already seen the launch of the new Conservation Register along with the revised Icon Professional Standards (which are regularly reviewed) and new Icon Ethical Guidance due to be launched in the coming months.