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Centre for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France
The Research Laboratory of the Museums of France (LRMF), founded in 1931, is one of the oldest and largest laboratories in the museum sector. Installed at the foot of the Pavilion de Flore, since February 1995, the LRMF covers a vast floor space (5000 sq.m.) arranged on three levels and assumes a central role in the interplay between “Art and Science”. The
C2RMF results of the recent fusion, in December 1998, of the Research Laboratory of Museums of France and the Restoration Service of the Museums of France.

The C2RMF employs some 300 people belonging to the public and private sector (restorers). They are involved in 3 main areas of activity :
- Social sciences (curators, librarians and administrative staff),
- Pure sciences (researchers, engineers and technicians) appointed by the Research and Technology Mission of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, some representatives of the CNRS and CEA,
- public and private restorers.

The C2RMF has an on-going internal research programme. As a national service, it also responds to requests of curators, art historians and archaeologists of all museums in France. Its key activities focus on the study of public works-of-art at a national and territorial
level. Investigations are made prior to acquisition, restoration and exhibition. These functions are aimed at safeguarding the national heritage (restoration-conservation) as well as enhancing the cultural value of collections (through dating and authentication). Equipped with up-to-date scientific techniques for analytical researches, the C2RMF has focused its research on several key areas:
- research in history of art and history of techniques: physico-chemical characterisation of materials, non-destructive examination technique development and application etc.
- research in conservation-restoration: methods and chemical product property control and applications, ageing of materials, control of stability, protection coating, etc.
- research in preservation : environmental conditions, transport, stability, durability, biological degradation, etc.
- research in information technologies : database and databank management, image analysis and treatment, digitisation of films, 3D-R digitisation, multi-lingual indexing standardisation etc.

The C2RMF legal statute underlines its national mission to give scientific data access (reports as well as images), to the professional community. The computer electronic documentation management of these scientific information resulting from internal technical studies or acquired during restoration process, can solve the on line access by network.

Two large size multi-lingual electronic databases have been built in the framework of European projects:
1989-1992 project partner VASARI (DGIII),
1990-1994 project co-ordinator NARCISSE (DGXIII),
1996-1997 project partner VISEUM (DGXIII),
1997-1998 project partner MENHIR (DGIII),
1997-1998 project partner COST (DGXII),
1997-1999 project partner ACOHIR (DGIII),
1999-2000 project co-ordinator CRISTAL (DGX)
2000-2002 project partner ARTISTE (IST)
2001-2004 project co-ordinator CRISATEL (IST)
2001-2002 project assistant-partner CHERI (IST)
2002-2005 project partner SCULPTEUR (IST)

The multilingual painting database contains :
- 15.000 museological work files,
- the scientific and technical photo-archive files on 160.000 photographic and radiographic films made till 1931,
- 140.000 ultra-high definition digital images (6.000x8.000) are archived on 1100 CD-R,
- and the content of 4.000 reports which are partly published on html pages.

This database is available by all the internal professionals through Intranet. A part of this database (2.000 paintings and 20.000 full screen images) is also available on the Web-site of the Ministry of Culture.

The object database built with the same architecture than the previous one is made of
- more than 30.000 works of art (archaeological objects and art objects),
- 36.000 radiographic and photographic films as well as new 2D-R high definition digital images (2.000x3.000) for 3D animation (ACOHIR project),
- and 2.600 scientific reports.

This scientific electronic information opens a new way of applications :
- the automatic retrieval of objects by means of textual data,
- the automatic retrieval of objects by means of the image
content :
colour, texture and structural information,
- the visual access to images details,
- the automatic reports images integration to suppress progressively the image reproduction of on photographic paper,
- a simplified management of the slide,
- a simplified registration of the films,
- the following of the electronic study report in progress,
- the diffusion of multimedia products,
- the enlarged diffusion of the scientific data by Internet

Contact person:
Christian Lahanier
Head of the Documentation and Imaging Technologies Department
Centre of Research and Restoration of the Museums in France
6, rue des Pyramides
75041 Paris Cedex 01
tel : 33 1 40 20 58 71
fax : 33 1 47 03 32 46

© 2002 SCHEMA (IST-2001-32795)
A project financed by the European Community