University of Cambridge Museums

Projects, events and news from the University of Cambridge Museums

Discovering more about Collections Care and Conservation

Within our eight museums and the Botanic Garden can be found the country’s highest concentration of internationally important collections outside London. We are the guardians of more than 5 million works of art, artefacts and specimens, so collections care  and conservation form a huge part of the work that we do.

Through examination, analysis and treatment, conservators help unravel the stories behind the objects and preserve these extraordinary collections for future generations.  Whether monitoring for pests and damaging light levels or reconstructing precious oriental vases our conservators’ roles are varied, highly skilled and specialist.

We offer talks, demonstrations and behind-the-scenes tours, so that members of the public can share in the excitement of getting very close to the collections: discovering the secrets of how objects were made, finding out more about the problems that they develop, and learning how conservators can stop deterioration and keep the objects safe. Our series of Collections Confidential one-day seminars for very small groups also allows adults to explore the context and history of some of our most treasured artefacts in greater detail while learning about the conservation techniques used to care for them.  For more information about collections care and conservation events for the public, please visit our website.

The professional knowledge of the group has allowed the University of Cambridge Museums, working with national and international partners, to offer museum professionals training and education in many aspects of collections care and conservation.

After running for  three years in Cambridge, the popular Masterclass in Project Management in Conservation and Collections Care is now being offered in London on 9 May at the Victoria and Albert Museum . Our next seminar in Cambridge is on May 12 and will look at the specification and performance of museum display cases. To find out about forthcoming courses for museum and heritage professionals, please visit our website.

In April 2015 we will hold an international conference and workshop called ‘Subliming Surfaces: Volatile Binding Media in Heritage Conservation’. These intriguing materials are widely used in conservation as temporary supports for fragile objects under treatment. The event will explore some of these uses and ask questions about the potential and problems of VBMs. Find out more about the conference on our website.

From the dismantling of a huge Finback whale skeleton to the conservation and redisplay of an Inuit gut parka, from treatment of 17th century books to the preparation of a 4 metre long bark cloth for exhibition, discover more about the fascinating work of our conservation and collections care team here.

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This entry was posted on April 2, 2014 by in Behind the Scenes, Events, News and tagged , , , , .
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