Cultural heritage preservation has developed from an insular vocation into a field of innovative scientific methodologies characterized by a holistic approach combining a range of scientific fields. Unfortunately, preservation education has not been able to keep pace with all these developments. In this paper authentic learning is analyzed as a possible educational scenario to help improve preservation education to connect to the state of affairs at the preservation workplace. The purpose is to sketch an educational framework based on knowledge and experiences with authentic learning in other engineering fields as a primer for the design and implementation of ‘authentic learning for preservation’. From the analysis it becomes clear that authentic learning can support the selection of valuable unknown experiences and support the design and development of ‘authentic learning for preservation’ experiments to help closing the gap between preservation education and cultural heritage practice. The authentic learning model as presented here clearly supplies a framework to consider in this endeavor. As such the paper can be helpful in the discussion about the usefulness and feasibility of this approach.