The activities and expertise of the Research Laboratory within the INP are consistant with the initial training programme of the Department of Conservators. Conveniently located close to the conservation-restoration workshops, the laboratory welcomes and supports students to conduct advanced testing and analyses. On a wider scale, it provides a steady pedagogical methodology in the scientific field.
The laboratory team is composed of 4 people, each with her specific speciality.
Activities of the laboratory are divided into 3 principal missions : analysis, instruction and research.
The laboratory is in charge of establishing preliminary scientific cases for conservation and restoration works in all specialties. It is provided with scientific imaging equipment (radiography, UV and IR imaging, photography) including several microanalytical techniques thus making it possible to propose a wide range of analytical approaches (internally : stereo microscopy and optical microscopy, micro x-ray flourescence, gas chromatography-mass spectometry, infrared spectroscopy : externally : scanning electron microscopy).
The studies conducted focus on the techniques used in the making of objects, their state of conservation and any previous restoration carried out. These studies also lend support to the conservators in formulating a process of investigation.
The laboratory also works closely on the pedagogy of the initial training program of conservators and the laboratory staff contribute to teaching in her field of expertise : introduction to scientific imagery of objects, preparation and observation of cross-sections, metallographic preparation and observation, lecture on water properties including a module on characterization techniques used to investigate cultural heritage materials. The laboratory also participates in a variety of modules throughout the course of studies (composite object modules, choice of disssertation theme module etc.).
The laboratory participates in mentoring students on experimental study projects, the 3nd year module prefigures the technico-scientific subject, research applied to an artefact, of the 5th year. On this occasion, students must learn how to address a specific problem and conduct an experiment in order to respond to it.
The laboratory participates in the implementation of technico-scientific subjects, research applied to a specific conservation problem, during the 5th year, before handing over to external scientific rapporteurs. The laboratory also provides students with the necessary expertise and equipment and an existing network for the successful execution of studies conducted.
Supporting research projects
Laboratory research has developed over the last few years and four projects in particular are anchored or co-anchored by the laboratory staff. These projects fall within the materiality of works within the INP and deal with knowledge of heritage materials used through methodological developments in experimental sciences such as in human sciences. There are two types :
- Knowledge of old, rare or unrecognised techniques,
- Development of conservation-restoration protocols.
These projects are multidisciplinary and allow for meetings and dialogue between scientists, restorers, historians, art historians, conservators, architects, etc.
The Research Laboratory is part of the « heritage » research laboratories network, via (C2RMF, BnF and MQB-Jacques Chriac, Arc’Antique, Arc’Nucléart, LRMH, CRCC) and through its active participation in the Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine (Labex Patrima) including DIM Matériaux anciens et patrimoniaux de la région Ile-de-France (heritage and ancient materials).