The choice of what things to conserve and how to conserve them simultaneously reflects and creates social value. This pamphlet demonstrates the social value of caring for the material world, and highlights the importance of conservation as being integral not only to the culture and heritage sector but also to social well-being.
How things are kept and cared for demonstrates their significance not just as objects, buildings or landscapes, but in terms of how much value we place on them. Conservation sustains and refreshes the values of the past – giving us an understanding of where we have come from – and reflects values for the present and the future.
In addition to providing recommendations for conservators, this pamphlet calls for action from policymakers, cultural professionals and the public as well. All of these groups have an interest in conservation and caring for the material world, and they all have a part to play in connecting conservation to some of the major challenges we face as a society, both in the UK and internationally. Caring for the material world is an essential part of the maintenance of our public realm. It is rooted in the profession of conservation. We need both to protect that profession, and put the values of conservation at the heart of policy thinking.