Jean-Pierre Mohen

The Sciences of Cultural Heritage: Identifying, Conserving, Restoring Publication date : January 1, 1999

"I have more memories than if I were a thousand years old," wrote Baudelaire. But today ancestral rites and ancient traditions are no longer scrupulously handed down. How can we guarantee the survival and endurance of our cultural heritage? In many countries, these tasks have been handed over to specialised institutions who make use of increasingly efficient techniques.Jean-Pierre Mohen explores how modern societies deal with their cultural heritage. But first he examines current knowledge of the natural causes of change and destruction. How and why have scientists taken over this area of research? What is known about the techniques and materials that were used in the past by artists? What should be saved, and what processes should be used? How far should restoration go? How should it be approached? What role does ideology play in saving, conserving and promoting a nation’s cultural heritage?To answer these questions, the author has delved into several fields, including anthropology, chemistry, history, and politics, and illustrated his study of cultural heritage with pertinent, original examples.Jean-Pierre Mohen directs the research laboratory of the Musées de France. He is the author of Rites de l’Au-delà, published by Editions Odile Jacob.