Core Documents

Commentaries to the Guidelines for Practice

Commentary 6 - Consent

  1. Rationale
    • To ensure that a formal agreement has been reached between the owner, custodian or authorized agent, whether private individual or public institution, and the conservation professional prior to commencement of a proposed action.
    • To protect and support the legal rights and responsibilities of the parties involved in the care and preservation of cultural property, and prevent misunderstandings and disagreements.
    • To ensure that deviations from a proposed course of action are formally acknowledged and agreed upon by the parties involved.
  2. Minimum Accepted Practice
    • Before beginning treatment or other conservation action (e.g. sampling, mount making, x-radiography), the conservation professional must obtain the consent of the responsible party in the form of a written document as outlined in Commentaries 4c and 24-26.
    • Any significant changes in the approved treatment or other conservation action (e.g., change in scope of work, estimated cost, schedule) must be submitted, in writing, by the conservation professional and approved, in writing, by the responsible party.
  3. Recommended Practice
    • In long or multi-phase projects, it may be advisable to review work periodically with the owner, custodian or authorized agent, and to obtain consent on subsequent phases.
  4. Special Practice
    • For certain situations involving many similar objects, such as those outlined in Commentary 26, D, written consent may be obtained for the group as a whole.
    • In circumstances, such as an accident or a disaster, in which it is not feasible to obtain prior formal consent, the conservation professional may act without consent only to reduce the risk of further damage to the cultural property. The conservation professional must submit a written report to the responsible party for ex post facto consent.


Approved by the AIC Board November 1999.