The Palace of Versailles is part of a preventive conservation program for works and decorative items displayed to the public in the palace and other historic houses, with the aim of establishing an innovative approach called EPICO (European Protocol in Preventive Conservation).
The winner of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2018, EPICO was praised by the panel of judges as being "a powerful tool for the preservation of European heritage".


EPICO was created in December 2014 by the Etablissement Public du Château, du Musée et du Domaine National de Versailles in partnership with its research centre, the centre for the conservation and restoration of cultural property, the “La Venaria Reale" in Turin, the Museum of King Jan III’s palace in Wilanów and the European Royal Residences Association. EPICO renews the preventive approach by developing a methodology for the evaluation of collections that is adapted to the specifics of historic houses.

 "The EPICO methodology allows a diagnosis to be carried out leading to informed decision-making based on conservation and restoration priorities. This approach is likely to become a powerful tool in preservation policies for European heritage, serving as a model for similar collections", says the panel of experts.

Teams from the EPICO research program during a condition assessment of the collections in the Stupinigi hunting palace, Turin, Italy.

©Danilo Forleo

The EPICO European Program

150 professionnels from museums in Europe, Canada, the USA, Brazil and Japan met at the Palace of Versailles for an international symposium dedicated to preventive conservation. The event laid the foundations for a new method for preserving collections in the very specific context of historic houses.

Preventive conservation in historic houses and palace-museums

The tools developed in the framework of the EPICO program are designed for informed and sustainable management of collections. The application of this new method allows the development of a preventive conservation strategy to preserve the state of the works in collections in European historic houses, which will prevent the acceleration of damage and recourse to restoration.

As a source of international synergy, the program brings together complementary multidisciplinary teams for the development of a common tool designed to:

  • obtain a comprehensive vision of the state and conservation conditions of collections;
  • highlight the relationship between the state of collections and conservation conditions;
  • develop an action plan tailored to historic houses.

Presentation of the EPICO program
© Colombe Durel

The Palace of Versailles research team

Danilo Forleo – Scientific Manager of the program

Nadia Francaviglia – Research Officer

Noémie Wansart – Scientific Collaborator

The winners of the Europa Nostra Competition can also win the Audience Award!

Vote for the EPICO program