Conservation vs. Preservation
Conservation and preservation are synonyms in most dictionaries. In our field, those two words mean different but related things. Preservation is the overall work that prolongs the lives of historic items. Activities like maintaining a good environment, ensuring proper storage, preparing for disasters, etc. make up a good preservation program. Conservation is a subset of preservation. It is the act of repairing or stabilizing historic items so they can be safely used.
As conservators for the BYU Library Special Collections, we repair rare books and documents. In a nutshell, we can take a book completely apart, wash the pages, repair the tears, and put it back together again. We find our work very interesting and we want to share it with you.
We also have experience with the preservation of all kinds of artifacts. Many of our blog posts share how you can care for your personal and family heirlooms.