ARTISTS' INTENT: MATERIAL CULTURE STUDIES AND CONSERVATION
Studies in the field of conservation traditionally have approached their objective from a materials-based perspective that examines the physical structure of objects. Technology and aesthetic style studies use visual information to seek the significance of tangible attributes found in artifacts and art objects. In these times of greater awareness of cultural diversity and cultural preservation in museum activities, many conservators are finding that the study and conservation of objects may include additional complex issues. The development of an interest in artists' intent on the part of conservators is notable because the AIC Guidelines for Practice do not specifically identify artists' intent as an obligation or concern. This development suggests that the conservation field is expanding to include the preservation of nontangible qualities. Because most material culture collections include objects that were not made for an aesthetic purpose, many ethnographic and archaeological conservators seek a methodological framework that expands their knowledge of the workings of people but does not involve theories of aesthetics.