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EPICO European Protocol In preventive COnservation

3 years international research program on Preventive Conservation 

Historic houses and palace-museums are multi-facetted sites, originally places of power, of delight and representation; today they are museums, areas for reception, contemporary exhibitions and institutional events. All of these activities often co-exist inside one residence so this implies specific risks for collections that are different from those of a classical museum, as the conditions for their use and for visits have been designed on an ad-hoc basis. The interiors of historical houses and their collections composed of furniture, art objects, paintings, sculptures and textiles require specific conditions for conservation.

Today, the necessary professional skills and surveillance tools are widely available. However, we are aware that there is a distinct absence of any methodology applied to exhibited objects in historic houses and palace-museums or any approach which could be considered systemic, reproducible and transferable to other historical houses. This methodology would enable us to evaluate the efficiency of preventive conservation over time and across different spaces.


Developing a method for the evaluation and planning of preventive conservation, specifically applied to historic houses and palace-museums. The purpose of the programme is to draw up a methodology for developing a preventive conservation strategy for collections on display in historic houses and palace museums.

Its aim is to provide an overall view of the state and conservation conditions of collections, to throw light on the cause-and-effect relationship of deterioration in order to prioritise and set up an action plan.


EPV, Public Establishment of the Palace, the Museum and National Estate of Versailles and CRCV, Palace of Versailles Research Centre

The scientific management of this programme is assured by the Conservation Department in collaboration with the Palace of Versailles Research Centre. Methodology and collections management skills will be provided thanks to a multidisciplinary team.

The Network of European Royal Residences, France

The network enables partners to work together and share their experience in the preservation and promotion of the rich cultural heritage in their care. Project progress and results will be shared with the whole network of royal residences.

Fondazione Centro per la Conservazione e il Restauro dei Beni Culturali « La Venaria Reale », Italy

In charge of the specific conservation problems of the Savoy residences, the CRR provides its skills on scientific research and experience on conservation management of historic house collections.

Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów, Poland

Thanks to a multidisciplinary team, Wilanów Palace takes part in many important European conservation projects and has been putting preventive conservation into action for years.


Scientific Committee

  • Lorenzo Appolonia, President of the Italian Group of the International Institute for Conservation, Italy
  • Françoise Auger-Feige, Independant preventive conservation specialist, France
  • Florence Bertin, Responsible for preventive conservation, Museum of Decorative Arts, France
  • Danilo Forleo, Head of the EPICO program, Palace of Versailles, France
  • Nadia Francaviglia, Research associate for the EPICO program, Palace of Versailles Research Center, France
  • Denis Guillemard, First Director of the Preventive Conservation training program at University Paris 1 Panthéon- Sorbonne, France
  • Aagnoko-Michelle Gunn, Responsible for preventive conservation, Centre des Monuments Nationaux, France
  • Bertrand Lavédrine, Director, Research Center for the Conservation of Collections – National Center for Scientific Research, France
  • Stefan Michalski, Senior Scientist, Canadian Conservation Institute, Canada
  • Béatrice Sarrazin, General Curator for Heritage, Head of Paintings and Graphic Arts Department, National Museum of the Palaces of Versailles and Trianon, France
  • Sarah Staniforth, President, International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, UK


Duration: Three years from November 2014 to December 2017

Phase 1 (2015) – Bibliographical research and overview of existing methodologies: bibliographical research, inventory of existing methods and tools 

  • November: Follow-up meeting, dissemination of results about bibliographical studies and analysis of methods and tools, discussion and choice
  • December: 1st meeting with the Scientific Committee

Phase 2 (2016) – Implementation of the methodology applied to historic houses: Based on a self-analysis made by the partners with quantitative and qualitative data about the collections and their management, and thanks to the critical review of existing methods, the most suitable ones will be tested on three pilot sites (Versailles Palace, Wilanόw Palace, Pitti Palace in Florence).

  • May and June: test and feedback of the proposed method
  • December: 2nd meeting with the Scientific Committee

Phase 3 (2017) – Implementation of a prototype and adaptation of the methodology to the management tools of each partner site: each partner will test and adapt the designed prototype to the management tools they use on their sites.

  • January 2017: Call for papers for the international conference on preventive conservation in historic houses, with presentation of EPICO research programme.
  • 29th, 30th November, 1st December 2017: Closing international conference on preventive conservation in historic houses that will be held in Versailles.