What is Preservation?
Preservation encompasses the activities which prolong the usable life of archival records. Preservation activities are designed to minimize the physical and chemical deterioration of records and to prevent the loss of informational content.
What is Conservation?
Conservation attempts to preserve records in their original format. Conservators examine records and assess their condition and the materials which comprise them. Conservators then recommend remedial treatments to arrest deterioration or to improve condition. As they perform the recommended treatments, conservators carefully document the condition of the record as well as the procedures performed and materials used.
About Preservation Programs
The goal of Preservation Programs is to ensure that the records of our government will be appropriately preserved so they will be available for use. We work with staff across the National Archives (NARA) to support and promote preservation. You'll find Preservation Programs staff at work - preparing historic documents for display, rescuing burned military records, preserving electronic records, advising on design of storage and exhibition spaces, or protecting records in emergencies. We serve as a resource and offer guidance to NARA Archives, Federal Records Centers, Presidential Libraries and Affiliated Archives.