Our conservators’ wide range of specialist skills, thorough knowledge of materials and history of technology is backed by scientific analysis and research enabling them to identify the state of preservation of objects and previous restoration, investigate their history and provenance and where necessary develop and apply the appropriate treatments.
Conservation staff is involved with examining and assessing objects in order to determine the most appropriate level of treatment required. Analysis, which is carried out by the Science Lab, often in collaboration with external institutions, will help to inform appropriate decisions. Besides carrying out and documenting treatments, our team also prepares objects for new galleries and exhibitions, making sure they are sufficiently stable to travel on loan to exhibitions at national and international venues and is also responsible for a wide range of museum operations related to the preservation of works, ensuring that objects are safeguarded for future generations.
Conservators work with curators, scientists from other institutions and also in teams. The above interaction helps in advancing the understanding of materials and techniques used by artists and craftsmen. Multi disciplinary team work is also part of our work when preparing for exhibitions. We then collaborate closely with designers, installers, the museums technical staff, providing expertise that ensures all art, whether during transport, installation, or display, is handled in a conscientious manner.
The department houses specialized sections, for the treatment and care of paintings, metals, glass and organic material, paper, ceramics, textiles and photographs, which are supported by the science lab. Staff, skilled in the treatment of different materials, often works together when handling composite objects.
The department advises on preventive conservation, the museum environment, storage, pest control, the condition of new acquisitions and the safe transit of objects during touring exhibitions. Staff also acts as couriers for national and international travelling exhibitions and loans.
As part of our commitment to education, we provide training and development within conservation through internships. We also share our expertise with colleagues around the world, participate actively in national and international research programmes and have highly benefited from collaborations with external institutes.
The conservation and research work undertaken by the members of our team is published in a number of available material such as the Benaki journal, exhibitions catalogues, special museum editions, books, conference proceedings and our blog.
The department also advises, conserves and provides exhibition design services to museums, cultural organisations and private collectors on commission.