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Conservation work at our museums

We care for an extensive collection of museum objects.

Within the museum service we care for an extensive range of museum artefacts including social history, archaeology, agriculture, ephemera, paintings and textiles.

Conservation of our artifacts involves protecting the collection in a variety of ways to preserve as much of its original condition for as long as possible. Very little restoration is carried out within the museum service but if required to add support or help with interpretation, then measures are taken to identify this differently to the original areas of an object.

A large proportion of materials in our collections are vulnerable to damage and deterioration through harmful effects of the environment, light, dirt and pests.

Our conservation department work to ensure that our collections can be safely displayed or stored and preserved for the future. Various methods are applied through environmental control, inert packaging, careful handling and stabilising/repairing objects using conservation grade materials.  A large proportion of our work involves preventive conservation. 

Conservation work involves many different activities. 

  • Auditing item on display and in storage
  • Environmental monitoring and controls
  • Packing objects for transport, storage and display
  • Remedial conservation
  • Integrated pest management
  • Exhibition installation and mounting
  • Training staff and volunteers in collection care

The Institute of Conservation which is the national body of conservation for cultural heritage provides further information on caring for artefacts and training in conservation.