n.the principle that a conservation treatment can be undone without damage to the objectAppelbaum 1987Reversibility is still a major criterion of good conservation treatment, one that sets conservators apart from skilled restorers or repairers. The “Principle of Reversibility” is one of the factors which establish our unique intent to project our work into the distant future. Conservators have an obligation to assure to the best of their ability that the condition of an object remain unchanged long after treatment is completed. Knowledge of how conservation materials age, how they interact with the object, and how the object responds to its environment is therefore necessary to fulfill this obligation.Ritzenthaler 2010, 337Thus, in actual application, the rule of reversibility is applied in a reasonable manner and with the understanding that materials and procedures used during the course of treatment must be stable and incapable of interacting with the item being treated in ways that alter its physical, chemical, aesthetic, or historical integrity.returning the object to the condition it was in before conservation treatmentAppelbaum 1987The Code of Ethics of the American Institute for Conservation, however, was written mainly with the treatment of paintings in mind. Clearly, varnishing and inpainting are expected to be reversible processes. And, when the Code was written in the 1960s, wax linings were such an improvement over glue linings that we can assume that the reversibility of the lining process was not considered in any way problematic.
Encapsulation is considered reversible, whereas lamination is not.