Touch Decisions: For Heritage Objects

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Abstract

Conservators have a complex relationship with touching things. As the conservation profession looks to the future, conservators need to be, and be seen to be, co-creators of considered access rather than gatekeepers to collections. The benefits of touch can be physical and tangible, but touch can also inform our emotions, support empathy, or provide a connection. Touch can be used to understand how something moves or to learn how to manipulate things. This paper reviews conservation's engagement with touch, attempting to extract a more nuanced understanding of the values that can be achieved through touching defined by context. By examining issues surrounding who conservation is for, the nature of touch and how conservators discuss it, this paper invites the profession to be more systematic about enabling touch experiences whilst managing these effectively with our conservation responsibilities.

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APA

Henderson, J., & Lingle, A. (2024). Touch Decisions: For Heritage Objects. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, 63(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/01971360.2023.2175983

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