A pen portrait of a Collection Care Conservator

Many conservators are responsible for the care of collections - find out more about their job and skills

26 Feb 2021

A pen portrait of a Collection Care Conservator

Many conservators are responsible for the care of collections - find out more about their job and skills

A Collection Care Conservator is a problem solver who makes strategic decisions about entire collections by measuring, documenting and analysing details related to agents of deterioration.

Our holistic, risk management approach prevents or slows down the effects of time as we care, store, display, transport and manage the environment of heritage collections and significantly reduce the money spent on repairing damage in the future. We think sustainably, considering our activities in the context of environmental change, always looking to reduce energy and material usage.

We identify potential risks to collections by monitoring and understanding forces that influence objects throughout their lifecycle. Our knowledge of material science allows us to recognise the physical and chemical characteristics of  collection materials and enables us to resolve issues in appropriate, cost effective ways.

We use our critical judgment, assimilation and communication skills to plan, develop, implement and manage collections.

We advocate for collections, working with colleagues to gain support and develop policies and procedures that raise awareness of  collections' needs whilst ensuring their stories remain accessible for all.

On a daily basis we:

  • develop and communicate emergency and salvage plans
  • manage display and storage conditions, such as light, RH, and pollutants
  • carry out Insect Pest Management to ensure activity remains at a minimum
  • devise guidelines and training programmes for colleagues and visitors to reduce handling and access risks
  • monitor and address issues related to damage, theft and dissociation
  • commission and manage conservation projects

Find out more about the care of collections with our special interest group.