Core Documents

Commentaries to the Guidelines for Practice

Commentary 1 - Conduct

Adherence to a Code of Ethics is one of the primary tenets of any profession. While the creation of such a Code may be accomplished by a group, it is the responsibility of all individuals in that group to "promote understanding of and adherence to this Code of Ethics" (Code of Ethics, XII). This is a fundamental responsibility owed by each individual to their colleagues. A code of ethics can only be effective when individuals within a profession take personal responsibility for its implementation.

  1. Rationale
    • To avoid the unknowing violation of local, state and federal laws and regulations, and to avoid lawsuits and litigation.
    • To help the conservation professional develop conservation procedures that are appropriate to the legal and regulatory status of certain cultural property.
    • To avoid damaging or discrediting the reputation of the conservation profession.
  2. Minimum Accepted Practice
    • Conservation professionals must abide by the laws and regulations applicable to their particular practices.
  3. Recommended Practice
    • The conservation professional should stay informed of applicable laws and regulations, especially as presented in conservation and allied professional literature.
    • The conservation professional should seek advice from an attorney or relevant authority regarding applicable laws and regulations.
    • It is recommended that conservation professionals report suspected violations of applicable laws to the proper authorities.
    • Conservation professionals should be aware of and adhere to non-governmental charters and other recognized documents that have a bearing on professional activities (e.g. Venice Charter, New Orleans Charter, Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines for the Preservation of Historic Buildings, ICCROM's Site Management Guidelines for World Heritage Sites) and Codes of Ethics of allied professional organizations (e.g. American Association of Museums, American Association for State and Local History, Society of American Archivists, Society for American Archaeology, Association of Art Museum Directors).


Approved by the AIC Board May 30, 2001.