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Why is conservation important in museums?

Conservation plays a key role in any museum. Although conservators aren’t always the most visible members of staff, they are involved in a huge number of museum activities behind the scenes, from monitoring light conditions to banishing woodworm!

Pieta Greaves in Conservation 14

Conservation at the Royal Armouries

At the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, we have three full-time conservators who staff our main conservation lab. They are regularly joined by volunteers and interns from conservation courses around the UK and from abroad.

What do conservators do?

Conservators are responsible for the care and preservation of the Museum’s entire collection.Work ranges from:

It is also important that Conservators test any materials which are going to be used in close contact with displayed objects to ensure they won’t cause the object to deteriorate, for example, silk will cause silver to tarnish if left in the same display case together.

Conservation Facilities

In addition to the main lab, the Museum has a large X-ray room where objects from the size of a small bullet up to a large cannon can be examined. X-raying objects helps us to understand how objects are constructed, helping us to choose appropriate treatments. It can also answer questions which Conservators and Curators have about a particular object, as well as identifying old repairs or intentional fakes.

Conservation Lab

The Conservation Team will be posting regularly about what they’re up to, keep checking back for more!

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