Micro-credential Optical Microscopy for Heritage Materials

Starts on 01.10.2024

Architecture and Design


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° n/a EN
Tags: heritage science, erfgoedwetenschap(pen), conservation, conservatie, restoration, restauratie, beeldtechnieken, microscopie, microscopisch onderzoek, microscopy, imaging techniques, research techniques, onderzoekstechnieken, micrography, heritage care, sa

Heritage Science Explained, part 1


Heritage science plays an increasingly important role in the fields of both active (treatments) and passive (preventive) conservation, archaeology and (technical) art history. Analytical techniques supply insights into the constituting materials and internal structure, the genesis, the material history and the degradation mechanisms of heritage objects and are key in developing mitigating strategies for a broad range of conservation issues.

Target Group:

This micro credential is relevant for people working in the heritage sector in different positions. It is especially relevant for researchers, conservators, restorers, archaeologists, art historians, guides, … who want to learn more or gain in depth insights in materials and techniques used in heritage.


The optical microscope (OM) is a daily tool for every heritage caretaker, who employs this for researching, monitoring as well as documenting conservation treatments. During this course, we will therefore extensively discuss all theoretical and operational aspects and put these into practice. The course is divided into four parts:

Part 1: Introduction to OM:

  • Components of the OM;
  • Functioning of the OM;
  • Types of OM used in heritage care;
  • Place of the OM in the material-technical research methodology.

Part 2: Sample extraction

  • When to sample: methodological and deontological considerations;
  • How to sample: an overview of common methods and tools by object type;
  • Where to sample: principles for a thoughtful sample location;
  • Protocols and reporting: the sample form.

Part 3: Sample preparation

  • Overview of methods and materials for preparation.

Part 4: Prepared samples and cross-sections under the OM

  • Best practices for safe and ergonomic use of an OM;
  • Best practices for micrography of both sample and sample location;
  • Contrast methods for specific materials.

All the theoretical aspects mentioned above, are also practiced during on-campus tutorials, for which attendance is compulsory.


Three micro credentials cover the entire domain of material research from a technical point of view, in heritage science. These micro credentials, each focusing on different techniques, can be followed separately or consecutively, according to the level of skills needed or learners’ interests.

The entire learning path consists of the following micro credentials:

  • Optical microscopy for heritage materials (part 1)
  • Analytical and Imaging Techniques for Heritage Objects (part 2)
  • Advanced analytical techniques (part 3)

Course number:
Short- en long-term programmes, Micro-credentials
Area of interest:
Architecture and Design, Art and Culture
Academic year:
2024 - 2025
Starting date:
Geert Van der Snickt

Universiteit Antwerpen: Stadscampus

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