ConservationSpace Update

In January of 2012, theĀ  funded the continued development of the ConservationSpace initiative. The goal of ConservationSpace is to develop an open-source software application that will address a core need of theĀ  conservation community for a shared solution to the problem of documentation management. The conservation community has long recognized that a digital approach to managing its documentation would improve continuity in procedures, increase access, expand research opportunities, and better ensure the preservation of its documents.

The National Gallery of Art remained as the lead institution. Six partner institutions also renewed their commitment to the project: Courtauld Institute of Art, Denver Art Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Denmark’s Statens Museum for Kunst, and Yale University. The NGA and its partners are poised to release the final Request for Proposals (RFP) and supporting documentation that will bring a software developer on board to build the first version of the system. Once the software developer is selected, the work to develop a “core” version will begin. This version will be a hosted BETA solution that will be tested by all of the partner institutions. The first version of ConservationSpace will focus on: examination (single object), examination or survey (multiple objects), treatment (single object), treatment (multiple objects), and basic document/system management.

On October 11, 2012 the NGA released, on behalf of the partners and the conservation community, the Request for Proposals to hire the developer to build the open source application. The full call for proposals can be seen by visiting the Federal Business Opportunities website at

The deadline for submissions is November 13, 2012. The NGA and project partners hope to award the contract by the end of 2012.

As part of the RFP development, the partners in working groups or teams, created a substantial dossier of documents, notes, and drawings to represent the “universe” of conservation work, documentation, and data. The NGA and the ConservationSpace team would like to direct interested parties to its Google work site. Although final versions of critical project documents will continue to be hosted on, the Google site allows the conservation community to see the process and considerable effort of the partners behind the work to-date.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation continues to generously support ConservationSpace, and the partner institutions remain committed to this challenging and exciting project.

For more information, visit

Christine E. McCarthy
Chief Conservator
Preservation Department
Yale University Library
130 Wall St.
New Haven, CT