The principles of Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (E-SEM) are explained and discussed. The performance of the E-SEM compares favorably with the performance of traditional SEM instruments. This new technology has significant advantages in art conservation and archaeology. In this paper we describe several pilot studies which explored potential uses of the E-SEM. Electron micrographs recorded from moist, outgassing, and difficult to coat samples are presented, together with X-ray spectra recorded from uncoated samples of electrically nonconductive materials.