Symposia and Study Days

Call for papers: “Preventive Conservation in Historic Houses and Palace-Museums: Assessment Methodologies and Applications”

Château de Versailles, Nov 29-Dec 1 2017

The Centre de recherche du château de Versailles, the Établissement public du château de Versailles and the Network of European Royal Residences organize a symposium as part of the research programme EPICO - in collaboration with the International Committee for Historic House Museums (DEMHIST).


The objective of this conference is to provide a fresh insight into the preventive conservation of collections exhibited in historic houses by presenting various methods to evaluate collections, their efficacy, and their adaptability to the specifics of houses, focusing also on the increasingly important role of environmental control technologies used in the context of the exhibited collections.

Though it can be difficult to integrate these technologies into the building and its decoration, which is a work of art in itself, collections in historic houses have a very special relationship to this environment: since they have been exhibited for many years in the rooms for which they were designed, they more easily reveal the causes of damage to materials. One of the themes of this conference therefore examines the role of science applied to heritage, which can provide significant help in understanding deterioration and thus improve management of conservation in the specific context of historic houses.

The conference is designed for all professionals involved in the conservation and management of collections in palace-museums and historic houses, as well as companies, policymakers, and all those working at different levels to preserve and promote this heritage. Particular attention will be given to scientists involved in research on collections exhibited in situ, as well as their materials and deterioration processes.

One of the goals of this symposium is to create an international network to share information on preventive conservation in order to identify partners, develop ideas, and transform them into concrete projects.

Looking back, and the contributions of the Versailles

Though the focus of the ARRE - ICOM DEMHIST conference held in Compiègne in October 2014 was authenticity and a code of conduct, the multidisciplinary approach used in the conservation-restoration of objects and decoration in historic houses was the main theme during the conferences in Rome in 2010 (ICOM- CC) and Los Angeles in 2012 (ICOM-CC and ICOM DEMHIST), with a particular focus on restoration and reconstruction. These meetings all featured specific sessions on preventive conservation. The conference in Versailles seeks to place preventive conservation at the centre of debate, to inform discussions about developing a shared model of a conservation plan for historic houses.

Research themes

The colloquium will focus on three main topics:

  • Condition survey and risk assessment: methodologies and applications (Wednesday, 29 November 2017)
  • From evaluation to planning: preventive conservation as applied by professionals in the field of historic houses (presentations and roundtables (Thursday, 30 November 2017)
  • Science applied to the preventive conservation of in situ collections: essential support for conservation diagnostics and actions (Friday, 1 December 2017)

The conference will take place at the Palace of Versailles auditorium. Three roundtables will provide a forum for open discussion. Private visits to the Palaces of Versailles and Trianon will be available. A cocktail party will be held at the Palace on Thursday night.
The languages of the conference will be French and English, with simultaneous translation into either language.

To participate

If you would like to participate, please send a 300-word abstract and 100-word biography before 30 March 2017 to the following e-mail address.
Speakers will be selected according to their topic’s relevance to one of the three main themes - which should be indicated in your abstract. Priority will be given to contributions related to the field of historic houses and their collections.
Speakers will be chosen during the month of May 2017, and the authors will be notified by the end of May 2017.


Association of European Royal Residences
Elena Alliaudi: +33 / 58.82

National Museum of the Palace of Versailles
Danilo Forleo: +33

Research Centre of the Palace of Versailles
Nadia Francaviglia:+33

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Château de Versailles
Conseil général des Yvelines