Core Documents

Commentaries to the Guidelines for Practice

Commentary 13 - Misconduct

In this Guideline, "misconduct" is failure to abide by the ethical standards of the conservation profession as defined in the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.

Lack of knowledge or understanding of these standards is not a justification for misconduct.

Accidents resulting from the conservation professional’s lack of knowledge and experience are misconduct. Accidents resulting from unknowable conditions are not.

Conservation professionals are encouraged to report misconduct. However, such reporting should be done only after careful consideration, since allegations may result in serious consequences.

"Confidentiality" pertains to all relevant communication and associated proceedings.

  1. Rationale
    • Misconduct should be reported to help ensure that cultural property receives appropriate ethical care and treatment.
    • Misconduct should be reported to ensure that the high level of ethical behavior embodied in the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice is maintained.
    • Confidentiality is maintained during proceedings (as defined in the Bylaws) to protect all parties involved, as well as cultural property.
  2. Minimum Accepted Practice
    • An allegation of misconduct must be well substantiated. Such substantiation may include: - documentation (as defined in Guidelines 24-27); - direct examination of a cultural property; - personal observation of procedures; - knowledge of facilities, training or experience, relative to the conservation work undertaken (e.g. analysis, treatment, preventive conservation).
    • All conservation professionals involved in misconduct proceedings must maintain confidentiality.


Approved by the AIC Board November 1999.