Conservators are able to use their specialist skills to stabilise fragile and deteriorating objects and carry out often painstakingly careful cleaning so that they can be put on display. Sometimes fragments of damaged objects are put back together, or missing parts of the object are filled, to make it whole again – these are processes known as ‘restoration’, a term which is often confused with ‘conservation’, the stabilising and cleaning of the object.
An important part of our work is ‘collection care’, where we ensure that temperature, humidity, light, dust and pests levels in the displays and stores are carefully controlled. Much of this work cannot be physically seen, but without this the bulk of our collections would be actively deteriorating.
Although there are Conservators specialising in most materials within the conservation profession, in the Museum of London we have Conservators in the fields in which we have the most needs: Archaeology; Applied Arts (historical objects); Paper; Textiles; and Collection Care.
For distance self- learning, we have created a number of e-learning and self-assessment tools: