Conservation Stations at HOD: Open Laboratory and Live Demo at Athelstan Museum

Icon member and Object Conservator Kayleigh Spring will lead the events

25 Aug 2023

Icon is working with Heritage Open Days to raise awareness of the work of conservators, particularly through matching local sites with experts.

Conservation Stations are being set up across the country for Heritage Open Days, where the public will be able to learn about the important work conservators do.


The Conservation and Museums Advisory Service (CMAS) introduce two Conservation Stations taking place this year:

At the Conservation and Museums Advisory Service (CMAS) we aim to promote excellence in the care and use of collections by providing conservation advice and practical treatments to heritage organisations and the public.

We work as part of Wiltshire Council, our main area of focus being Wiltshire and the South-West. As part of the Heritage Open Days, we are opening our doors to give people an insight into how the Conservators in our team carry out their day-to-day jobs. 



Athelstan Museum has been a part of CMAS’ museum membership scheme for many years, and we’ve had the opportunity to carry out conservation treatments and offer preventive conservation advice for several different elements within their collections.

The museum was first founded in 1931 and not only holds collections that give an insight into the history of Malmesbury but holds important items such as a Turner watercolour and an Athelstan Silver Coin, which shows King Athelstan wearing a crown and the extended title ‘Aethelstan Rex to Brit’ (King of All Britons).

On Saturday 16th September between 10:30am and 12:30pm we will be at the museum with a selection of conservation tools and materials to talk to people about how we help protect these important objects. 



Conservation in Action at Athelstan Museum 


Athelstan Museum, The Julia and Hans Rausing Building, Oxford Street, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN169AX

Saturday 16 September: 10.30 - 12.30

Icon member Kayleigh Spring, Objects Conservator from the Conservation and Museums Advisory Service at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre will demonstrate her work and talk to people. She will have tools such as a microscope and museum vacuum to show what happens during conservation of an object.

Find out more and book here.

Prior to this, we will also be opening our lab doors at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Chippenham, on Saturday 9th September, for a behind the scenes tour of our conservation studios. We will have on show some of our ongoing projects so visitors can see our work in progress. 



Behind the Scenes - Conservation Open Laboratory


The Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 3QN

Saturday 9 September: Tour 1000-1100 & 1200-1300

A chance to look behind the scenes and explore our conservation laboratories, take a look at the items that our skilled archive and object conservators are currently working on, and chat to them about how they preserve them for the future.

Normally out of sight of the public, we work on a wide variety of items in the laboratories, including archaeological finds, natural history specimens, ceramics, social history, documents, photographs and parchment scrolls.

Come and find out more about the techniques our conservators use and pick up some tips on how to look after your own treasures and heirlooms!

Find out more and book here.


Leading the events will be Object Conservator and Icon member Kayleigh Spring.

Kayleigh entered conservation after graduating with a BA Honours degree in Conservation & Restoration from the University of Lincoln in 2008.

She spent the proceeding 4 years working for the Science Museum Group in London in a variety of conservation roles before relocating to her native Southwest, working for the National Trust and the National Collections Centre.

She joined the CMAS team in 2019 and utilises her experience of medical and social history collections whilst carrying out object treatment, analytical services such as xray and materials suitability testing, and providing training and preventive conservation services. 

Being an object conservator, and working as a Local Authority service, Kayleigh’s day-to-day work is extremely varied.



"It may involve being in the lab carrying out treatments on anything from archaeological finds to football boots to wasp nests, or carrying out site visits to support museums, offering advice or surveying collections. This variety makes being a Conservator for CMAS exciting and challenging, but as we do not hold a collection of our own it is difficult to make our achievements visible.

We hope that the Heritage Open Days will give us an opportunity to share our experiences with wider communities within conservation and beyond."  


Meet Kayleigh and CMAS at Heritage Open Days.


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