Cleaning, folding and fixing - a conservation training day

March 05th 2020 by Nathanael Hodge

A recent training day at the Archive, run by conservator Victoria Stevens, saw volunteers try out conservation techniques including cleaning, repairing and housing documents.
Poster Image

The course was funded by our recent grant from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust. Everyone who attended found the day a rewarding and enjoyable experience. We asked one of our volunteers, Kolja, for his view:

It was a fascinating course which aimed to provide methods and understanding for how to care for collections. The course outlined different types of material you would conserve in collections and different methods for cleaning and storing these items.

It began with explaining that risk assessment was key for cleaning. You have to look at the condition and fragility of any items, before considering how to clean and conserve them. We were given practical demonstrations of a range of cleaning methods, from as simple as using a brush, to latex sponges, to a specialised conservation vacuum – a conservac. This was followed on by looking at different methods of storage, and what was most appropriate for different objects, such as old books and photographs, through to larger old maps and designs.

Kolja, Nathanael and Noor folding archival packaging

Victoria demonstrating use of the conservation vacuum on a Rex Wailes drawing.

Cleaning with a latex sponge.

A Thomas Hennell drawing from the Rex Wailes collection, before and after cleaning