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Preventative Conservation Activities

What is Preventive Conservation?

“Conservation embodies minimizing change and maximizing longevity”
from Conservation Concerns: A Guide to Collectors and Curators

preventing or slowing the course of an illness or disease

preservation or restoration from loss, damage, or neglect

A fundamental responsibility of the Museum is the prevention of deterioration of art and artifacts through control of the environment in storage and exhibition. Preventive conservation entails storing, displaying, handling and maintaining a museum's collections in ways that promote long term stability and do not lead to deterioration. Preventive conservation activities include monitoring temperature, humidity and light in the Museum galleries and storage areas, developing methods for secure display and storage, and working with other staff members to ensure the safety of works of art during their transport and loan to other museums.

Principles of Preventive Conservation

Different types of collections need different forms of care. Many objects are composed of more than one material, each of which may respond differently to a variety of environmental factors. The major factors of deterioration are listed below.

Major factors of deterioration:
  • Light
  • Temperature and Humidity
  • Pollutants
  • Pests

The Museum has undertaken many projects in preventive conservation, while ongoing preventive conservation at the Museum is practiced in all areas of the collection and through the Gallery Maintenance program. On a weekly basis, each and every object, exhibit case, painting and sculpture in the Museum is carefully cleaned by a team of trained gallery maintenance professionals.