John R. Watson

Artifacts in Use
The Paradox of Restoration
and the Conservation of Organs

John R. Watson received a Samuel H. Kress publications fellowship from the American Institute for Conservation to write a book about the conservation of pipe organs.  

"Restorative Conservation" is not a contradiction of terms, but the radical updating of restoration. In its conventional form, restoration involves replacing worn parts, restoratively altering old surfaces, and otherwise molding an artifact to the restorer's possibly informed but inescapably fallible idea of a past state. How is it possible to restore artifacts in a way that allows them once again to reveal their cultural role and significance, yet without losing the historical evidence embedded in their physical substance? By giving equal attention to aesthetic and utilitarian aspects (“Form”) on the one hand, and historical integrity and material stability (“Substance”) on the other, we can merge the insights of conventional restoration with the insights of conservation to create a holistic form of material and cultural preservation. This book summarizes the methods and rationale for this approach to restoration, using historical pipe organs as the primary case study.  

For the complete table of contents, and ordering information, see the the book's companion website:

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