Prevention is better than cure, an important principle in the preservation of artifacts in museums and archives. Many factors accelerate the inevitable ageing process of museum objects and organic materials such as paintings, paper, leather and parchment. Poor handling, packaging and inappropriate environmental conditions are just a few examples. Fortunately measures can be implemented to retard this process. Duplication, inert packaging, good housekeeping and the provision of appropriate environmental conditions are all important aspects of an effective preservation policy.
Conservation is actively involved with preventive conservation, which involves managing and monitoring the environmental, biological and physical attributes that will influence the stability of collections. The Conservation Studios can advise on these and other preservation measures.
Conservation treatment may be required for damaged material. This follows careful assessment by a conservator in consultation with the custodian. Treatment commonly involves a degree of cleaning and repair, which require high levels of skill and experience. Repairs should be reversible, sympathetic, compatible, and evident. Only materials of the highest archival quality may be used.