CRM Journal

Media Review

ICCROM: International Centre for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

ICCROM; accessed January 8 and 13, 2004.


Established in Rome, Italy, in 1959, the International Centre for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) was formed to promote the conservation of all types of cultural heritage, both moveable and immovable, and is one of the few organizations of its type with a worldwide mandate. An intergovernmental organization, 100 member states support ICCROM. The Secretary of State is the official United States representative to ICCROM.

The ICCROM website offers two major services to online users: technical publications and training announcements. The first is a comprehensive online catalog. Although text heavy, it allows for fast downloading of papers in its archives on a range of heritage preservation subjects. The online catalog is extensive and supplemented by links to reference materials at other heritage organizations. It covers topics such as brick, clay, stone, as well as authenticity, theory, and history.

The website allows quick access to information about ICCROM's training programs, such as Project Terra, which addresses the conservation of earthen architectural materials and practices. ICCROM courses are impressive in their breadth and complexity—from heritage planning and policy, to the history of craft traditions, to conservation techniques for textiles, paint, or stonework. ICCROM's website also serves as a center for information on conferences in its member states, such as a conference on ancient sites on the Silk Road in Duhuang, China, and the International Rock Art Congress in Agra, India.

The website highlights ICCROM's efforts to train and expand the pool of heritage professionals in developing nations. In North African countries for example, ICCROM provides workshops and symposia on multiple disciplines. The website describes the organization's efforts to form a network for indigenous professionals to help them care for their cultural heritage.

With so much to offer, there are some drawbacks. Centralizing large quantities of information through a single entry portal appears to be problematic in maintaining current information on all of the pages. For the programs offered in North Africa, there are direct links to websites developed by organizations in these countries. However, for courses in the United States and United Kingdom, there are brief and incomplete contact information and course listings. Of the seven references reviewed, the most current listing was 2002.

ICCROM's website is a valuable resource of information that is unavailable elsewhere and provides a central access point for programs and professionals in many countries.

Michael Hill
Shaw Eco-Village