The state of conservation in South African museums and other heritage repositories such as those at higher education
institutions are in a state of crisis, which can partly be ascribed to a lack of professionally trained conservators in this
sector, and a lack of university qualifications in the field of conservation. This paper discusses the recent award of a multidisciplinary
curriculum planning grant for Tangible Heritage Conservation and a subsequent series of conversations and
consultations held by the University of Pretoria with diverse national and international stakeholders as well as with crossborder
countries in the southern African region. This consultation approach aimed to seek synergies and to address how
the University of Pretoria could respond to the needs in the development of conservation training at postgraduate level.
It is within this context that this paper will further highlight the most recent state of conservation and conservation needs
based on site visits and assessments gathered during the consultation process, and to address the goals and outcomes from
critical stakeholder meetings. Whilst the results suggest an emergent picture of isolated pockets of conservation excellence,
the vast majority of institutional efforts toward conservation are in decline, with a broad range of challenges such as
poor succession planning, lack of conservation facilities, budget constraints and insufficiently trained and qualified staff,
in both theory and practice, to address preservation and conservation needs. Conclusions hope to advocate for the vital
importance of sustainable conservation in promoting the longevity of South African collections by offering a ray of hope by
contributing to a new future qualification in Tangible Heritage Conservation at the University of Pretoria.