Declaration of San Antonio (1996)

ICOMOS Symposia

The Declaration of San Antonio was the result of a symposium held in Texas in 1996 on the subject of authenticity in the conservation and management of the cultural heritage of the Americas. The document is a regional response to a larger international debate on the nature of authenticity and conservation. The San Antonio Declaration sees a direct connection between authenticity and identity: cultural identity is the foundation of the cultural heritage of the Americas and its conservation. Understanding of the history, significance, and values associated with a site is important to identifying authenticity. The Declaration considers only the original, historic fabric to be authentic. Thus it is important to understand the social value of the site not just the significance of the physical fabric. The Declaration makes a distinction between dynamic sites, where material changes may be acceptable as part of an ongoing evolution of the site, and static sites, where the physical fabric is felt to require the highest level of conservation and alterations should be minimized. The Declaration contains a number of recommendations concerning architecture and urbanism, archaeological sites, and cultural landscapes.