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Conservation

The Collections Conservation and Care team sets the standards and guidelines for the preservation of the collections whether on display, in storage or on loan.

The Collections Conservation and Care (CCC) team works towards the preservation of the collection by using preventive and interventive conservation measures.

Preventive conservation

Preventive conservation measures are those that prevent and slow down damage and deterioration of the collections. Such measures include: 

  • correct object handling;
  • providing appropriate environmental conditions, especially in respect to temperature, relative humidity, light, gaseous and particulate pollutants and pests;
  • testing appropriate storage furnishing and packaging materials;
  • advising on showcase construction and exhibit mounting; and
  • testing materials for display.

Preventive conservation measures are not only carried out by the CCC team, but also developed in collaboration with others across the Horniman, particularly Collections Management, Exhibitions, Curatorial and Facilities. There are also aspects of preventive conservation, such as pest management, where the direct support and cooperation of all staff and visitors is required. 

Interventive Conservation

Interventive conservation measures are carried out when damage or unacceptable change has occurred to collections. The aim of these conservation and restoration treatments is to understand and retain the object’s physical integrity as well as its cultural significance.

All treatments are documented in writing and photography in order to archive an account of the findings from the initial object examination, through subsequent conservation work, to final results.

Publishing

The CCC team also publish their work in professional journals, and are committed to ongoing professional development. The Head  of this section holds a PhD on work relating to analysis of the Musical Instrument Collection.