The Spanish Historical Heritage Institute, previously known as the Cultural Assets Conservation and Restoration Institute, was created in 1985 for two fundamental reasons: Spain's joining with other countries through treaties, conventions and other administrative mechanisms related to Cultural Heritage and the need to combine all of the Bodies operating at that time into a single National Centre. This guaranteed unified basic criteria in the area of conservation and restoration of cultural goods.
- Drafting and executing the Plans for the conservation and restoration of Historical Heritage cultural real estate property, aside from the functions assigned to the Ministry of Culture's Office of Infrastructures and Equipment, as well as co-operating with other public Administrations and public or private entities in developing and following up on the plans.
- Drafting and executing the Plans for the conservation and restoration of Historical Heritage personal properties, as well as the collections that comprise the documentary and bibliographical heritage and co-operating with other public Administrations and public or private entities in developing and following up on the plans.
- Promoting and encouraging Spanish archaeological research projects abroad.
- Technical archiving and handling and dissemination of the documentation available on Spanish Historical Heritage and regarding the projects, operations and works done on that heritage; researching and studying criteria, methods and techniques for its conservation and restoration, as well as training technicians and specialists in conservation and restoration of real estate and personal properties comprising that heritage.
The Spanish Historical Heritage Institute is structured organisationally into five Services, to carry out each of the functions assigned:
Monuments. Its mission is the preparation and execution of plans for the conservation and restoration of real estate property.
It is responsible for:
- the conservation and restoration of buildings and urban sites through consolidation, repair and maintenance operations;
- excavating, researching and studying archaeological sites, conserving materials and disseminating the results;
- ethnographical research and documentation.
Books and Documents. Its activities focus on the conservation of documentary and bibliographical heritage by recommending appropriate preventive and restoration measures for manuscripts, printed documents, bindings, etchings, drawings, photographic materials, etc.
Personal Property. This service drafts and executes plans for the conservation and restoration of artistic, archaeological and ethnographical objects that are part of our Historical Heritage, and it provides technical advice to other centres.
- This service archives, processes and disseminates available documentation on Artistic Historical Heritage, as well as for projects, operations and works carried out related to that heritage.
- It carries out the Spanish Historical Heritage Institute's publications plan related both to the centre's professional activities and to research on conservation and restoration methods and techniques.
Laboratories. These contribute, from scientific and technical points of view, to the conservation and restoration of cultural assets. Their areas of action cover the material study of the work, state of conservation and techniques and factors that improve their preservation.