When considering textile preservation particularly Wedding Gown Preservation, It may be helpful to understand the difference between Preservation and Conservation. Several of the members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialist belong to Conservatory Groups which research, publish, and maintain a culture of Conservation for their members. The term Conservation is the term used in the sense of ‘preservation for the future. Preservation on the other hand is the act of keeping safe or free from harm or decay. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably but often incorrectly. Museum Care Preservation (Conservation) includes a strong emphasis on the environment in which the item is kept as well as how it is prepared for keeping. You try to maintain the quality or the condition of an object in the act of preservation. Preservation of artifacts and archives are quite commonly seen in museums such as the Louvre or Smithsonian both very well controlled environments for the items housed there. Conservation of wedding gowns includes not only the characteristics of careful preservation, ie the type of materials, the actual preservation container/chest, but includes the important environmental aspects, both within the preservation chamber, as well as the environment and its controllable characteristics in which the preserved chested gown is kept. It is often deteriorated environmental conditions which cause the gown and its chest to be negatively affected by the those conditions. This is why we at Iowa Bridal Preservation stress the great importance of proper storage, planned inspection, re-chesting for valuable archival quality preservation of wedding gowns.
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