Visitors often wonder who does the preservation work for the Museum. All preservation and conservation projects are done under direction of the Conservation Manager, however, much of the actual work may be done by volunteers. If an artifact is to be operated, it may require the replacement of original parts with new ones. New parts may not be appropriate if restoration is for exhibit only. In most cases, the more original an artifact is, the more valuable it is for historical purposes. For example, a phonograph which is operable but has minor scratches on the wooden cabinet is more desirable as an artifact than one that has been refinished.
Preventive maintenance is emphasized by the Conservation Program. To reduce deterioration, temperature and humidity fluctuations must be kept to a minimum. Conservators advise on care and handling methods for artifacts. They recommend what materials are safe for use in conservation, and they decide to what extent treatment will take place on an artifact. For example, should an artifact appear as it did when it was last used, or should it appear as it did when it was new? An artifact does not have to look pretty to be historically important, although this is often what the visitor expects. The Curatorial Centre in Saskatoon provides safe environments for a wide cross section of artifacts - from steam traction engines to wooden trunks to silk handkerchiefs. If early treatment can reduce deterioration, much of the need for extensive preservation in the future can be eliminated.
Conservation Case Study - Liquor
Work was performed on an 1891 Northwest Territories Liquor permit originally signed by then Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories, Joseph Royal.
Conservation Case Study - Auto Parts
A number of documents in the George Shepherd Library of the WDM are machinery parts catalogues used in machine shops for decades. To enable the library to use these resources, layers of soot must be removed without damaging the underlying paper substrate. A system of removing the soot was developed and is outlined here.
Short Line 101 Restoration
Restoring a Vulcan 0-4-0 locomotive.
What does a Conservator do? Find out here or watch "A Day in the Life" of a Denver Art Museum conservator.
A help guide for individuals wanting more information on how to preserve their personal treasures.
Reference materials for museums of all sizes for the care and management of artifacts and museums.
A quick how-to on encapsulating materials as the alternative to lamination.
What have you done (and are going to do) to ensure that your museum building and collections are protected from the spring melt?
Downloadable forms for collection care and museum management.
Post secondary programs: