The Department is responsible for the protection and conservation of the epigraphic collection, promoting its enhancement, documentation and scientific study. These institutional tasks are carried out by means of targeted restorations, new exhibits, exhibitions and publications.
With regard to the exhibition layouts, in 1981 the Lapidario Profano ex Lateranense was extended with a section of Urns, Commemorative stones, Altar stones and Sarcophagi, and with an external area; in 1985 the Jewish Lapidarium was added. The storage deposits of Fistulae (1982), Equites singulares (1986) Brick stamps (1989-1995) and Quarry-stones were then organized. Further layouts were arranged in the sector of the Necropolis of Tor Sapienza in the Gregoriano Profano Museum, the Medieval and Modern Lapidarium, the sectors of Urns, Commemorative stones and Arulae. New layouts relate to the Medieval Lapidarium (formerly Medieval and Modern (and the inscriptions of the Fratres Arvales. The musealization of the inscriptions from the excavations of the Necropolis of Via Triumphalis (Piazzale di Santa Rosa) date from 2002-2003. The extraterritorial area of the Antiquarium of the excavations of Saint John in Lateran (1998-1999) is worthy of mention.
Publishing activity has been intense, including six volumes in the series Inscriptiones Sanctae Sedis, conceived by Professor Ivan Di Stefano Manzella and initiated in 1995 with the Index Inscriptionum Musei Vaticani. 1. Ambulacrum Iulianium sive “Galleria Lapidaria”. The catalogue of the exhibition Le iscrizioni dei cristiani in Vaticano (1997) represents the first experience of its type in the history of the Vatican Museums. The fourth volume (2000) is also dedicated to Christian epigraphs, whereas the third (1998), fifth (2009) and sixth (2010) regard the collection of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls. The final one relates to the collection of Cardinal De Zelada. As well as these monographs, there are also the contributions published in the Bollettino of the Museums and in other published works. A didactic volume describes the architecture and the archaeological collection of the Cloisters of Saint Paul. Further publishing projects are planned in relation to the Lapidary Gallery, the Lapidario Profano ex Lateranense, the Necropolis of Via Triumphalis, and the Saint Paul collection, as is an expansion of didactic materials.
Worthy of note are the enrichment of the photographic documentation and the initiatives in the field of information technology applied to epigraphy. The SIDERA database, conceived as a specialized sector of the General Inventory of the Museums, is of fundamental importance. Currently online only for internal use, it is expected to be developed and strengthened. The Department collaborates with the Inventory for the online catalogue project.