Carry out basic conservation of cultural heritage

Business Sectors (Suites): Cultural Heritage
Developed by: Creative & Cultural Skills
Approved on: 30 Mar 2022


​This standard is about carrying out basic conservation of cultural heritage. This can apply in both day-to-day and emergency situations. This can be in the form of removing accretions or active agents that cause deteriorations, treating stains and so on. Cultural heritage can refer to objects that are on display or in storage or to historic buildings, structures, sites or settings.

It includes identifying cleaning needs, removing, reducing or neutralising unwanted materials, making basic repairs, identifying actions to minimise further deterioration and keeping records of treatments.

This standard is for anyone who is responsible for carrying out basic conservation of cultural heritage under the direction of a conservator.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. ​assess cultural heritage on a regular basis to identify material that inhibits use or interpretation or has the potential to cause deterioration
  2. clarify your findings and methods to resolve them with appropriate people
  3. remove, reduce or neutralise potential and active agents of deterioration in ways that do not cause damage to cultural heritage
  4. remove or reduce material that inhibits use or interpretation in ways that do not cause damage to cultural heritage
  5. repair or strengthen damaged objects or components within the remit of your training and expertise and industry professional standards
  6. inform appropriate people about your actions and the need for any qualified specialists when requirements are outside of your own training and expertise
  7. identify essential environmental requirements and parameters relevant for the cultural heritage with which you are working
  8. identify action required to minimise further deterioration, bringing them to the attention of relevant people
  9. assess the need for ongoing preventive or protective measures on a regular basis
  10. make accurate and clear records of treatments in organisational systems

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. ​industry professional standards and your organisation's policies and practice relating to conservation and treatment
  2. organisational procedures for salvaging and protecting objects in the event of fire, flood or other emergency
  3. the range of active agents that cause deterioration and how to remove, reduce or neutralise them
  4. the range of routine conservation and emergency treatments relevant to the cultural heritage with which you are working and how to undertake them
  5. why it is important to test cleaning methods for effectiveness before implementing them and how to do so
  6. how to identify the need for preventive and protective measures after treatment
  7. the use of strategies to prevent further deterioration of salvaged objects including support and protection
  8. how to access and use your organisation's recording procedures
  9. appropriate environmental conditions for the cultural heritage with which you are working
  10. conservation judgement and ethics appropriate to your role
  11. how to recognise signs of damage and deterioration
  12. who you report to and when you need to do so
  13. the limitations of your training and expertise and when further advice is needed


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2026





Originating Organisation

Creative and Cultural Skills

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Archaeology and Archaeological Sciences, Architecture, Building and Construction, Conservation Associate Professionals, History, Leisure and Travel Service Occupations, Leisure, Travel and Tourism

SOC Code



conservation; accretions; active agent; deterioration; treating; stain; cultural heritage; artefact; heritage building; heritage structure; heritage site;