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The Object of Conservation: an ethnography of heritage practice

Jones, S; Yarrow, T


S Jones


The Object of Conservation examines how historic buildings, monuments and artefacts are cared for as valued embodiments of the past. It tells the fascinating story of the working lives of those involved in conservation through an ethnographic account of a national heritage agency. How are conservation objects made? What is the moral purpose of that making and what practical consequences flow from this? Revealing the hidden labour of keeping things as they are, the book highlights the ethical commitments and dilemmas involved in trying to care well. In doing so, it reveals how conservation objects are made literally to matter. Taking debates in the interdisciplinary field of heritage studies forward in important new directions, the book engages with themes of broader interest within the arts, humanities and social sciences, shedding new light on time, authenticity, modernity, materiality, expert knowledge and the politics of care. The Object of Conservation is a thought-provoking and engaging account that offers original insights for students, scholars, heritage professionals and others interested in the work of caring for the past.


Jones, S., & Yarrow, T. (2022). The Object of Conservation: an ethnography of heritage practice. Routledge.

Book Type Authored Book
Online Publication Date Apr 14, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date May 5, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 15, 2023
Publisher Routledge
ISBN 9781138655676


Accepted Book (Introduction) (315 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Introduction This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Object of Conservation: an ethnography of heritage practice on 14 April 2022, available online:

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