Values of conservation

Building recognition of the positive effect of conservation on society, the economy and the individual

Icon continues to seek new ways to demonstrate how the act of conserving cultural heritage objects and collections makes a significant positive contribution to society.

The Values of Conservation

The act of conserving cultural heritage objects and collections makes a significant contribution to society. It contributes to knowledge and understanding, national and local economies, a sense of identity, enhanced wellbeing and empowered communities. While we at Icon may know these values and benefits, we recognise that we need to get better at communicating them, particularly to a lay audience.

In 2020, Icon launched a new research and engagement project in response to this mission to ensure that we can promote conservation effectively and make it more widely understood and appreciated. 

Icon's Values of Conservation project sought to

  • Investigate what values characterise conservation and make its contribution to society distinctive.
  • Engage conservators and non-conservators in an open discussion on what they think the values of conservation are.
  • Collect statements from conservators and non-conservators on the values of conservation to inspire and inform messaging.
  • Develop a Values Toolkit with tips on communicating arguments effectively to lay audiences.

Resources and briefings

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Conservation and Communities

News articles


The REAL Repair Shop: Miniature portraits


The REAL Repair Shop: Wall paintings