Conservation may be defined as "any action taken to preserve or prolong the life of museum artifacts". This means that the conservator does everything possible to prevent ongoing artifact deterioration and destruction due to structure, material, people or the environment.
Restoration may be defined as "any action taken to return an artifact to its original intended state". This includes removing signs of wear and replacing missing parts.
It is the practice of the Bata Shoe Museum to conserve rather than restore: we believe that worn footwear has a more significant cultural meaning than unused pristine shoes. Signs of wear such as stretched leather, dirt on soles, even alterations & modifications are evidence that these are real shoes worn by real people.