When the Conservation-Restoration course of the Arts Academy of the University of Split was initiated in 1997, it was the first university course in conservation in Croatia. Although this country has a long tradition in heritage protection institutions, before that year it did not have a single degree or diploma granting course in conservation or restoration. In 2005/2006, the course Programme was aligned with the Bologna guidelines and evolved into a five-year programme of study leading to an MA in conservation-restoration.
The conservation science is developing rapidly. Today’s conservators and restorers are not any more simple craftspersons “repairing” works of art: They are educated researchers taking an active role in the heritage protection.
The Conservation-Restoration Department of the Arts Academy, Split, is conceived as a strategic focus of educational, professional and research activities, as well as a defining force in the heritage safeguarding in the region which boasts the highest concentration of the heritage objects in the country. The course Programme accepts all the challenges of modern conservation, with a special emphasis being placed on academic qualifications in the various areas of specialization, which puts it in line with the Bologna Declaration Guidelines and similar university programmes across Europe.
The foundation of the Department was actively supported by the Croatian Restoration Institute, the Department of Conservation of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, the Archaeological Museum, Split, the Museum of the Croatian Archaeological Monuments, Split, the City Museum of Split, the Ethnographic Museum, Split, the Maritime Museum, Split, the Gallery of Fine Arts, Split, the Meštrović Gallery, Split, and many other institutions and firms involved in the protection of cultural heritage. Some of them provide technical and intellectual support to the course, as well.