JCU Welcomes Vittoria Cimino, Director of the Vatican Museums Conservator’s Office
On May 12, 2017, the students of John Cabot University’s Continuing Education program “Management and Digitalization of Cultural Heritage” welcomed Vittoria Cimino, Director of the Vatican Museums Conservator’s Office. Cimino discussed the main challenges in preserving the artwork and environment of the Vatican Museums, which host 6 million visitors a year. The museums were not originally conceived to be a tourist attraction, but to serve as a private residence for Popes.
The massive number of tourists visiting the Museums has a direct impact on the art. The masterpieces hosted in the rooms, as well as the ancient frescos and decorations, are extremely fragile. The works of art can be damaged and impacted by room temperature variations induced by human bodies. Moreover, the physical contact that the visitors may have with the artworks can cause its decay and impoverishment. For this reason, the Vatican Museums need accurate care, daily maintenance, restoration, and post-restoration interventions.
As explained by Cimino, a cultural institution like the Vatican Museums should enact a policy of precautionary conservation. This means passive or indirect intervention on the artworks and on the surrounding environment, to slow down, or at least keep under control, the risk of decay. In order ensure success, it is fundamental to have a deep knowledge of the art pieces and of the environment where they are located. The key competencies of the staff working at the Vatican Museums and an accurate periodic maintenance and monitoring of the status of the masterpieces ensures the highest standards of quality for the institution, said Cimino.