IPERION CHIntegrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Cultural Heritage


ARCHLAB comprises an encyclopaedic archive of knowledge and technical data accumulated in the past and preserved at the most prestigious European museums or conservation research institutes. ARCHLAB enables access to the combined knowledge in repositories in Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Spain and UK.

Two calls for proposals are scheduled per year, at which potential users can apply for access to all participating providers to carry out comparative studies related to a scientific Heritage research project on which they are working. As such ARCHLAB is an essential pillar within the integrated Iperion approach, as the interpretation of data in the context of other findings on similar CH objects/sites is essential within Heritage Science projects. The panEuropean character of ARCHLAB access is very important for Heritage research because objects and works of art of a similar or the same artist, period, culture or archaeological site are often preserved (and studied) in different countries.

Typical users of ARCHLAB are for example:

  • conservators/restorers, either working in an institution, as a private company or belonging to an SME, who carry out a study prior to any interventive conservation/restoration campaign in order to establish what are the constituent materials or the typical execution technique of an artist or architect in a given period of his career, important knowledge required to inform any treatment
  • researchers who, during the development of a study on the analysis of constituent materials or investigation of technologies, need to compare the results obtained in their research with those obtained during previous studies on analogous artworks or materials
  • curators who exploit the knowledge acquired in previous studies to reconstruct the practice of an artist or craftsman in terms of drawings and/or techniques in paintings, or in creating polychromies, wooden and stone sculptures, glasses and glazes, ceramics etc. in order to confirm a dating or an attribution, or to better understand the relationship between works of art or the development in practices over time

The ARCHLAB TNA helpdesk can provide draft proposals with any technical and scientific support, anytime, so that tailored proposals can be submitted before the deadlines.


Name: Hilde De Clercq
Email: hilde.declercq@kikirpa.be

British Museum – Department of Conservation and Scientific Research Archive

ARCHLAB access is offered within the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, which is located on the British Museum site in Bloomsbury, central London. Researchers will be based in the departmental library.

Please note that access will not be granted to two important categories of records held by the Department:

  • Data relating to the examination or analysis of objects not in the British Museum collections
  • Data in the course of publication

Website: http://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/departments/conservation_and_science.aspx

Contact Person
Name: Carl Heron
Email: CHeron@britishmuseum.org

C2RMF Archive

C2RMF – Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France – is an institution of the Ministry for Culture of France.

The access is offered within the Department of Archives and Innovative Information Technology, which is located at the C2RMF in the Palais du Louvre in Paris. The Department preserves all the records from the studies carried out at the laboratory since its creation in 1931. Especially on the works of the museums of France, from Prehistory to 21th Century (main categories : paintings, archaeology – ceramic, glass, stone, metal, textiles -, sculpture, graphic arts, modern and contemporary materials, decorative arts – enamel, orfevrery, earthenware -, bio-materials).

ARCHLAB access will be to the files of the laboratory, that include essentially:

  • scientific reports (28,000) and analytical data
  • scientific images (150,000) such as X-rays, infrared and fluorescence images, infrared reflectography, multispectral images, 3D-scanning

Researchers will have access to the EROS multilingual database, that is not currently accessible outside the C2RMF. Developed by the Department of Archives, the EROS database contains 69,000 references to the records kept at the C2RMF. All the works and objects that have been studied are recorded in this database, with search based on multiple criteria (historical, technical, etc.). Reports and scientific images are partly available in the database and a search engine allows full text searching in all the attached electronic reports (14,000).

Reports and data, apart from those in course of publication, that are not yet available electronically will be obviously available in hard copy. Researchers will also benefit from the assistance of researchers from the C2RMF in their field of research and of the documentation staff.

Website: http://www.c2rmf.fr/

Contact person
Name: Elsa Marguin
Phone: +33 01 40 20 24 14
Email: elsa.marguin@culture.gouv.fr

KViC library

The facilities offered by the Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation, CATS with respect to ARCHLAB is the access to information stored in documentation files in the KViC library which is hosted at the School of Conservation at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK) in Copenhagen. The KViC library facilities at KADK cover appr. 7,000 books, 150 conservation journals, 600 conference papers and 18,000 indexed articles. All within the subjects fields of conservation and restoration of art works, sculptures and murals, historical and natural objects, graphics, books, photographs and newer data carrying media, building conservation and preservation, methods of analysis, technical history and museology. An online database is available here.

In addition, access is allowed to a large collection of reference materials via the CATS Reference Database, where metadata of pigments, cross-sections, canvas samples, analyses etc. are collected from the three CATS partner institutions (Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK), National Museum of Denmark (NMD) and the School of Conservation at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK) and is continuously being developed.


Website: http://www.cats-cons.dk

Contact person
Name: Jørgen Wadum Save
Email: j.wadum@smk.dk

IPCE archives and libraries

The contribution of ICPE to ARCHLAB is offered through a complex network of archives and libraries.

General Archive

The General Archive is responsible for the safekeeping of documentation generated by the IPCE itself and by the institutions which, from the 1940s onwards, preceded it in its functions of conserving and restoring Spanish Cultural Heritage. It contains the following archives:

Conservation and restoration project archive. This preserves the records of the conservation and restoration of movable and immovable cultural assets, including reports, memoranda and graphical and photographic documentation of the process of work performed since 1961.

Architectural Heritage Inventory (1979-1982). The Architectural Heritage Inventory (link to: http://ipce.mcu.es/documentacion/archivo/fondos/inventario.html), a document record dating back over 30 years, has once again come to light thanks to the retrieval of the former database created in the late Seventies and early Eighties of the last century. The Architectural Heritage Inventory belongs to the task of inventory and cataloguing historical and cultural heritage which began in Spain in the mid-19th century with the creation of the Monuments Commissions, a task continued by the National Artistic, Archaeological and Ethnological Information Service in 1961, inherited by the Artistic, Archaeological and Ethnological Information Centre, which in the late 1970s created six inventories courtesy of the Directorate-General for Fine Arts. The Inventory constitutes a hugely important record of the characteristics of Spain’s architectural heritage three decades ago, and many of the properties included in it were, following their listing, subsequently placed on the Register of Assets of Cultural Interest.

War Archive. This is the name given to the documentation generated by the two institutions created during the Civil War to protect Spanish Historical Heritage: the Madrid Delegated Requisitions Board, on the Republican side, and the Artistic Recovery Service, on the Nationalist side.

Blueprints Library (link to: http://ipce.mcu.es/documentacion/archivo/fondos/planoteca.html). The Blueprints Library of the Institute of Cultural Heritage of Spain comprises more than 20,000 blueprints of churches, monasteries, palaces, castles and historical/artistic sites across all of Spain’s provinces. Most of these correspond to restorations performed from the 1940s up to the late 1990s by the bodies responsible for the restoration of monuments, of which today’s Institute is the successor. It nonetheless also includes blueprints associated with the Architectural Heritage Inventory datasheets generated by the Artistic, Archaeological and Ethnological Information Centre during the 1980s.

The documentation dates in the main from the 1970s and 1980s, although an intriguing collection, dedicated essentially to castles and historic/artistic sites, predates this period.

Historical Heritage Photo Library
The IPCE Photo Library (link to: http://ipce.mcu.es/documentacion/fototeca.html) comprises more than 700,000 photographic documents covering a timespan from the 1860s to the present day, dealing with subjects which reflect the transformation of Spain’s Cultural Heritage from the early days of photography. In the case of the oldest collections, the original negatives are available, although the Photo Library also has a notable volume of period positives. Taken as a whole it constitutes an archive of remarkable value, and its holdings are in continuous expansion. They are sourced and added to via two routes:

Through acquisition by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, by means of purchases or the acceptance of bequests

Through contributions by the IPCE itself, which has continuously expanded its photographic collections as a part of the process of documenting and archiving its cultural restoration and conservation projects since 1962.

The archives which belong to the Photo Library are:

  • Arbaiza Archive
  • Baldomero & Aguayo Archive
  • Cabré Archive
  • Conde de Polentinos
  • Conservation and Restoration
  • Artistic Information
  • Loty Archive
  • Monuments and Archaeology
  • Moreno Archive
  • Pando Archive
  • Ruiz Vernacci Archive
  • Vaamonde Archive
  • Villanueva Archive
  • Wunderlich Archive
  • Other holdings


Research and Training Area Archive

This archive dates back to 1967 when the IPCE was first created (originally as the ICROA). It is a State-owned archive, its holdings generated by the technical staff of the Institute and other institutions (CENIM, INTA, etc.) or companies contracted for this purpose, its entire holdings being the property of the IPCE. This archive contains more than 2,000 x-rays, micro-samples, stratigraphic charts, spectrums and photographs performed with a range of innovative techniques applied to the study of the types of cultural assets available to the laboratory:

  • Paintings: murals, on board, on canvas, on metal sheeting, on leather, etc.
  • Sculptures: wood, metal, plaster, terracotta, etc.
  • Textiles
  • Archaeological materials: ceramics, glass and crystal, metal, stone, bone, mosaics, etc.
  • Graphical documents
  • Palaeontological remains, etc.

It may be viewed as a fundamental reference point for the study of the cultural assets of periods, artists and schools ranging from Prehistory to the transition between the 19th and 20th centuries. These cultural assets are drawn from libraries and museums with a range of owners (public – national, regional or local – and private), church institutions and a range of public bodies (universities, royal academies, foundations, research centres) all of them covering a nationwide scope. On occasion, in consideration for the loan of the work, typically for temporary exhibitions, interventions have been performed on privately owned works.


With 40,000 volumes and more than 1,600 journal titles, the IPCE Library enjoys particular specialisation in the conservation and restoration of cultural assets, and in the various aspects of Historical Heritage. The Library was designed by Fernando Higueras and Antonio Miró in 1985, within the context of the refurbishment of their own plans for the building constructed 20 years earlier. It occupies the circular space beneath the concrete cylinder which supports the central courtyard of the IPCE. It was, in fact, the first library with a circular layout to be built in Spain. It comprises three rings which are open to users (the furniture likewise designed by the same architects), plus a further two depository rings.

Monument Catalogue of Spain (1900-1961). (Link to: http://biblioteca.cchs.csic.es/digitalizacion_tnt/index.html). In February 2008 the Directorate-General for Fine Arts and Cultural Assets of the Ministry of Culture, through the IPCE Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute, and the Institute of History of the Centre for Human and Social Sciences of the CSIC (Higher Scientific Research Council) signed a specific collaboration agreement for the restoration, digitization and dissemination of copies of the Monument Catalogue of Spain. These copies, held for many years in the photo library of the Department of Art History at the Institute of History, are now located at the Tomás Navarro Tomás Library at the Centre for Human Social Sciences. The collaboration agreement has led to a number of initiatives. To begin with, the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute has restored and digitised around one hundred and fifty volumes which, over the course of the first half of the 20th century, served to inventory the most significant artistic and archaeological monuments of most Spanish provinces. Meanwhile, the Tomás Navarro Tomás Library, together with the Scientific Research Information Resource Unit at the CSIC, has created a website providing simple, intuitive and user-friendly access to all the digitised copies of the Monument Catalogue of Spain, in addition to key information about the cultural project which prompted the catalogue to be produced. These digitised monument catalogues will also be included in the CSIC collection of digitised Holdings, Simurg. Through these initiatives, experts at the Spanish State’s leading body specialising in restoration, research, documentation, training and consultancy for the conservation of Historical Heritage, in partnership with researchers at the Institute of History with an interest in the generation of knowledge about cultural heritage, and librarians and experts in scientific documentation at the CSIC, have joined forces to upload a unique cultural product for universal online accessibility: the Monument Catalogue of Spain. A walk-through of all manner of monuments, some of which have now disappeared, has now been made available to any citizen with an interest in Spain’s cultural heritage.


Website: http://ipce.mcu.es/

Contact person
Name: María Martín Gil
Email: maria.martingil@mecd.es

KIK-IRPA archive

Within ARCHLAB, KIK-IRPA is offering access related to the following types of objects: paintings, historic interiors, mural paintings, textiles, metals, glass, leather, paper, stone sculpture, wood sculpture, monuments and modern materials.

Main language(s) used in the records/reporting are French and Dutch.

Following records/reports/data(base) are available:

  • Photographic records
  • Scientific imagery records, in the form of X-radiographic images and IR-reflectographic images
  • Records/reports on analytical/material-technical/dating analyses
  • Records/reports on conservation treatments
  • Records/reports on art historical research
  • Records/reports on archaeological research
  • Chromatographic and spectral analytical data (such as SEM-EDX, Raman, FTIR, XRF, XRD, …)
  • Historical archive
  • Access to reference samples for further analyses within ARCHLAB requires the permission of the responsible involved


 Website: http://www.kikirpa.be/EN/

Contact person
Name: Hilde De Clercq
Email: hilde.declercq@kikirpa.be

National Gallery Archive

The National Gallery Archive contains records of the Gallery’s activities from its foundation in 1824 to the present day. The archive holds public records generated by the Gallery itself, and private papers relating to individuals or activities closely associated with the Gallery.

The records document the history of pictures in the Gallery’s collection. They also record the history and development of the Gallery as an institution.

The records are wide in scope and include:

  • Minutes of the Board of Trustees meetings
  • Annual reports
  • Administrative correspondence
  • Internal memoranda and reports
  • Publications by and about the Gallery
  • Exhibition records
  • Photographs
  • Press cuttings
  • Architectural plans
  • Publicity material


Website: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/

Contact person
Name: Marika Spring
Email: Marika.Spring@ng-london.org.uk

Opificio delle Pietre Dure archives
Short description

The records of all the activities developed to date by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure are collected in three different archives, located in central Florence:

  • the Historical Archive which contains all the documentation on the history of the Opificio till the 70’s
  • the Conservation Archive related to the conservation/restoration works since 1975
  • the Scientific Data Archive, founded in 1977 by its former Director Mauro Matteini

The language used in all these three archives is Italian.

The records held by the archives refer to a wide range of objects related to the Conservation Departments activities: stone and wood sculpture, bronzes, tapestries and textiles, ceramics, wax and glass, paper, movable paintings, wall paintings, jewellery, mosaics, mainly from Middle Ages to present times.

Access is offered to:

  • conservation reports
  • primary images
  • analytical data
  • sample collection

mostly relating to the conservation works performed by the OPD.

The Historical Archive: records held in the Historical Archive refer to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure activity from 1789 to 1970 and follow the transformation of the Institute from a workshop belonging to the Granduke (1789-1860) to the new set-up at the beginning of 20th century when, beside the production of “commesso” objects, restoration activity started to be undertaken.

The Conservation Archive: 12.600 records associated with OPD conservation works since 1975 are held in this archive. It includes different format images and records, only partially digitized.

Beside normal photos, special recording technique images are included, as micro- and macro-images, raking light photos, UV photos, X-radiographs, etc.

Images are provided to the user in analogue or digital form and their use is subjected to the current national laws (Ronchey law).

The Scientific Archive: the scientific archive collects the diagnostic results related to the restoration works performed by the Opificio from 1977 to nowadays (S files) and to other research projects.

Records include an introductory part in which the identifying data of the artwork, the aim of the investigation and the analytical techniques used, are reported. In the following part, for every collected sample, a photographic documentation (sampling site and sample) and the analytical results are shown. The oldest files contain essentially analysis by optical microscope on cross sections. Later reports also contain results of AAS, FTIR, µFTIR, SEM/EDS, XRF and CI analyses. The techniques used vary according to the investigation needs.

At the moment more than 2000 records are stored in the archive. Most of the oldest part of the data and images in records are only in analog form, the most recent are in digital form.

Since 2002 the photographic documentation has been collected directly in digital form. Since the end of 2004 the diagnostic activity reports for each artwork is stored only in digital form. However, the whole archive is currently being digitalized.

A wide collection of about 9000 cross- sections coming from different artworks is also available under request.

The use of unpublished data of the Scientific Archive is subjected to an agreement with the referent of the archive.

Website: www.opificiodellepietredure.it

Contact person:
Name: Monica Galeotti
Email: monica.galeotti@beniculturali.it

Prado archives

The Prado Museum will contribute to the ARCHLAB platform by offering access to various types of data held by the Museum/Department:

On line gallery available from the PRADO web page. Access online to approximately 3000 works of the Museum’s collection. This data base will be enlarged until it holds the complete collection. The Advanced Search engine facilitates consultation, using categories such as artist, title of work, subject, chronology and reference number

PRADO central curatorial database (SAC), containing records for more than 18000 objects. ARCHLAB access will be to the internal version of the database until now only available to museum staff.

The Historical Archive of the Museo Nacional del Prado that contains the documentation generated by the various departments of the Museum since its foundation in the first third of the 19th century up to the present day. A portion of the Archive has been computerized up to the level of individual files and can be consulted in the Prado’s Research Centre on the Reading Room terminals. The Archive can be consulted by all researchers interested in the Museum’s collections and in line with the prevailing legislation. Right of access includes the option to obtain copies of documents if authorized by the Museum’s technical staff.

The Conservation data base includes different kinds of information: restoration reports including historical procedures, technical images (X- radiographs, infrared reflectographies, high resolution visible photographs etc…) and laboratory reports (cross sections images and analytical data from original or added materials using FTIR –ATR; optical microscopy; GC-MS; HPLC – PDA, RID, FD; SEM – EDX; XRF). This technical information is currently available on request directly to the Conservation Department with authorization.

The access will not be granted to two important categories of records held by the Department:

  • Data relating to the examination or analysis of objects not in the Prado collections
  • Data in the course of publication


Website: www.museodelprado.es

Contact person
Name: Maria Dolores Gayo Garcia
Email: dolores.gayo@museodelprado.es

RCE archive

The facilities offered by RCE with respect to ARCHLAB is the access to information stored in documentation files in the RCE library which is hosted in Amsterdam. This documentation consists of all research done in the last 45 years at the former Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN) which is now part of the RCE and the RCE. The RCE often does research in collaboration with museums and other cultural heritage institutes and often on their objects. Permission from the object owner is needed for access to this information.

Typical objects and materials which were investigated are paintings, historic interiors, textiles, furniture, metals, glass, ceramics, leather, plastics, pigments, binding media, varnish, resin, paper, books, inks all from periods varying from pre-historic up to today. Research involves both material analysis and properties of the materials investigated. Typical information present are reports, analytical data, images, samples (including cross-sections) and art historical information.

The information is partly in Dutch, partly in English, partly in German. In addition, access is allowed to a large collection of reference materials of over 10.000 materials including all of the materials mentioned above. Furthermore, access to instrumentation and expertise is offered if appropriate.

Instrumentation offered is microscopy, SEM-EDX, XRF, XRD, FTIR, RAMAN, HPLC-PDA, LC-MS and GC-MS.


Website: http://www.cultureelerfgoed.nl

Contact person:
Name: Jan van’t Hof
Email: j.van.t.hof@cultureelerfgoed.nl

SPK archives

With its museums, libraries, archives, and research institutes, the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (SPK, Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) is one of the important cultural institutions in the world. It was established in 1957 by federal law as a foundation directly responsible to the German government. The Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz has taken over tasks of national interest in various thematic areas including research and documentation of museums as such and best management practices. Because of its structure as a cross-disciplinary cultural institution, the Foundation has extensive knowledge about the preservation of cultural assets and digitization.

The active part of the SPK facilities for IPERION-CH is the Rathgen-Forschungslabor (Rathgen Research Laboratory, RF). It is the leading institution for heritage science of the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin, SMB), one of the five institutions of the SPK.


Website: http://www.smb.museum/en/museums-and-institutions/rathgen-forschungslabor/home.html

Contact person
Name: Ina Reiche
Email: I.Reiche@smb.spk-berlin.de