Artworks that constitute cultural assets are usually of great value, but also highly prone to damage. This can occur due to negligence or lack of care, but also due to excessive or inept renovations. Therefore, the government protects these valuables against damages, and only commissions skilled experts with restoration.
Restoration and conservation (and also other stages of the restoration process, such as reconstruction, copy making etc.) can only be conducted by a restorer authorized by the Ministry of Culture. The restorer’s work is then assessed by experts from the National Heritage Institute. A restoration department, or at least a single employee focusing on this agenda, is part of every regional site of the National Heritage Institute.
The restoration department at the National Heritage Institute headquarters is mostly involved in methodology and coordination; it also manages several heritage sites, and maintains the files of realized restorations.
The National Heritage Institute restoration experts prepare analyses and other specialized background materials for numerous institutions, companies and individuals. They make statements for executive bodies in heritage care (municipal, regional or city authorities), which can be used as background materials for binding statements on restoration, allocation of resources for restoration etc. An important part of the National Heritage Institute work is the publication of the lists of restorers. The National Heritage Institute employees also provide consultations, both on-site and in studios, cooperate in developing restoration concepts, and provide expert assistance during restoration. They are expert partners for heritage site owners, restorers and other parties involved. They also work in research and publish papers and books that enable better understanding of the heritage issues.
In the Czech Republic, the restoration of cultural assets is governed by § 14 par. 6 of the Act No. 20/1987 Sb. on national heritage care. Other essential documents for restoration and conservation practice include the International Agreement on Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (the Venice Charter, ICOMOS, 1964) and the Nara Document of Authenticity (ICOMOS, 1994).