A new way to find conservators you can trust

Many of us have seen recent examples of the danger posed by insensitive restoration and conservation.

01 Sep 2020

While a 'botched job' can sometimes be put right, the problem can just as often be more serious – resulting in permanent damage to a treasured object.  A simple Google search is not always the most reliable option when it comes to seeking out a conservation professional, so unless you know one already, how can you find suitably qualified conservators you can trust with the things you value?

Earlier this year, Icon launched a new online resource to help you do just that. 

Icon’s redeveloped Conservation Register is the first-ever publicly accessible directory of all Icon-Accredited conservators.  These are skilled conservation professionals who have passed through a rigorous peer review and assessment process to gain their Accreditation, and who now demonstrate that they are keeping in touch with the latest developments and technical approaches in the sector though regular continuing professional development (CPD) reviews.

The Register’s free online tool will help you identify an Icon-Accredited conservator by object, specialism or material type, and the individual directory entries provide career and biographical outlines, along with training and work histories. Many professional profiles also provide a detailed look at past examples of project work to give you a strong indication of the skills on offer.

If it’s your first time selecting a conservator, the Conservation Register also provides support and guidance on the questions to ask, issues to bear in mind and the things you need to do when it comes to selecting your professional.  

If you already have a conservator in mind, you can also search the Register by name to confirm their professional status, or search by Practice name to get an indication of the Icon-Accredited conservators employed at the practice, where these details have been provided.

Not all conservators are able to take on commissions from the public – for example, those employed full time in museums and galleries – so for this reason, search results by object type, material or specialism only display Icon-Accredited conservators who have subscribed to appear in search results.  However, all Icon-Accredited conservators appear at least by name at a basic level – so if someone isn’t there at all, they’re not Accredited.

However, Icon's membership represents professional conservators across the full breadth of the sector, from archaeology to modern materials, and from stained glass to book and paper. With members drawn from all walks of life, Icon's membership includes conservators at all stages of their careers and there are a number of stops on the way to Accreditation.  All members are obliged to abide by Icon's Code of Conduct and Professional Standards as a condition of membership - so if in doubt simply query the Institute or ask to see their Icon membership card.

The development of new Conservation Register website was generously funded by the Pilgrim Trust and Anna Plowden Trust, and replaces a previous version that did not include all Accredited conservators.