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Museum loans

From a conservation perspective
18th February - 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Speaker: Dr Lauren Piper, Conservator, Royal Armouries

A key aspect of the Royal Armouries’ role as the national museum of arms and armour is the lending of objects from our collection to other institutions so that they can be enjoyed by new audiences.

This lecture will discuss the role of the conservator in this process and the complex behind-the-scenes work involved in the preparation of an object for loan, using the case study of an Edo period Japanese armour.

Lending and borrowing objects is an integral part of a museum’s operations – to have as much of their collection as possible on display to the public, or to present objects in new contexts. This lecture examines museum loans from the perspective of a conservator, using the case study of a loan of an 19th-century Edo period Japanese armour to Lotherton Hall, Leeds, for display as part of their ‘Making featured_home, Japan’ exhibition in 2019.

The lecture will follow the process from the initial condition assessment and conservation of the armour to its packing, transport and installation at the borrowing institution. It will delve into the intricate work required to conserve and mount a Japanese armour – specifically a gold-lacquered, red-laced tosei gusoku, probably drawn together from a mix of older and more recent components during the 19th century.

This is a rare opportunity to learn more about the kind of behind-the-scenes collaborations that are vital to the way in which museums maximise the benefit they offer the public. It also offers a chance to see detailed images of an armour that is not normally on display, and to gain a greater understanding of the role of the conservator in preserving objects for future generations.


Please register in advance for this lecture. A link to the online presentation will be sent in due course.


This is a free event but we would welcome donations to support our work as guardians of the national collection of arms and armour. The Royal Armouries is a charity and you can boost your donation by using Gift Aid.

Please note: Fees are payable on donations made on Eventbrite. Donations can be made directly to Royal Armouries.