The professional preservation of historical monuments serves the preservation of monuments and cultural assets. In order for these to remain permanently accessible to the public, it is necessary to maintain them.
The first modern laws for the preservation of historical monuments were enacted more than 100 years ago and have been continuously developed ever since, especially in the Charter of Venice. Some of the conservation measures begin with a comprehensive examination and an assessment of the condition of the respective object by restorers and, if necessary, lead to conservation or restoration.
Importance of the preservation of historical monuments and cultural assets
Monuments represent a valuable cultural heritage as they remind us of the past and our history. These are triumphal arches, statues, buildings or other artistic and cultural assets. In Germany, the monument authorities of the federal states decide what a monument is on the basis of the monument protection laws. The object must be particularly worthy of protection in order to maintain this status. There are currently about one million protected monuments in Germany.
Tasks of monument conservators
One of the probably most frequent works on monuments is the simple maintenance throughout the year. This includes the cleaning and care of the monument including its immediate surroundings, for example by removing leaves, winter services or regular painting work. The controlled decay of a monument may also be acceptable under certain circumstances. If this decay is undesirable, but advanced, a restoration can be considered.
Restoration and Conservation by Restorers in the Historic Preservation Sector
Restoration serves to restore the object to its original condition, while conservation measures are intended to protect it from decay. In both cases, very different measures can be applied by restorers, which have a chemical, biological and physical effect. In the case of conservation, for example, it can make sense to erect a roof so that the object is not exposed to the weather.
How to become a monument conservator?
Training or studies are highly recommended for the profession of monument preservationist. The studies can be completed at technical colleges, universities and outside of Germany and also in special institutes. A possible degree is the Master of Science "Historische Bauforschung und Denkmalpflege" at the TU Berlin. It is also possible to become an expert or appraiser. Prospective monument conservators and restorers learn scientific basics and technical knowledge which help them to carry out the measures competently, professionally and sustainably. Most monuments are unique and irreplaceable, which is why a good education pays off.