Caring for specific types of collection
From Our Toolkit
Different types of collection material have different collection care needs. The resources listed below cover best practice care for the most common collection materials.
Conservation – a word of caution
Some of the resources below contain advice on basic conservation / cleaning techniques. We would strongly recommend that you take professional advice before undertaking any conservation to your collections.
- For artefact based collections: your local Museum Development Network often have links to regional conservators or you could contact one of the Subject Specialist Networks for specific advice.
- For archive based collections: The National Archives or your local county records office can provide support. The National Archives has produced a guide for what to consider and who to contact when looking for further Advice on conservation.
- Museum Development East Midlands have produced a helpful Introduction to cleaning collections.
- The National Archives’ Archive Principles and Practice – An introduction to archives for non-archivists includes basic advice on how to store and pack archive material.
- Museums Galleries Scotland includes information on Caring for paper collections in their series of advice guides.
- The Library of Congress provides more detailed advice for different types of archives collection including books, paper, comics, photographs and scrapbooks.
- The British Library Preservation Advisory Centre have produced a series of guides for caring for books:
Ceramic and glass
- The Canadian Conservation Institute include advice on preventative conservation for glass and ceramic collections as part of their collection guidelines.
- The National Park Services’ Conserve-o-gram covers Removing Dust From Ceramic And Glass Objects.
- The Victoria & Albert Museum has informative articles on Caring for your ceramics and Caring for your glass.
Leather, skin and fur
- The Canadian Conservation Institute includes detailed advice on the care of Leather, skin and fur as part of their collection guidelines.
- The National Parks Service includes thorough information in their Curatorial Care of Objects Made From Leather and Skin Products document.
- Western Australian Museum provides useful information and links for further reading on the care of different types of leather, fur and skin collections items.
Metals including silver and silver gilt
- Museums Galleries Scotland provide a useful Introduction to metal collections care which includes displaying, storing and recognising different types of metal.
- The National Parks Service provides detailed information in their Curatorial care for metals document and their Caring For Silver And Copper Alloy Objects Conserve-o-gram.
- The Canadian Conservation Institute includes detailed advice on the Caring for metal objects as part of their collection guidelines.
- The Victoria & Albert Museum provides introductory information in their article on Caring for your silver.
Paintings, frames and works on paper
- Museums Galleries Scotland have produced a series of resources to suport the care of art works:
- The Canadian Conservation Institute includes detailed advice on the Caring for paintings as part of their collection guidelines.
- Museums Galleries Scotland have introductory information on Caring for photographic collections which including packing, labelling and handling.
- The National Archives provides introductory information in their Caring for your photographs leaflet.
- The Canadian Conservation Institute includes detailed advice on the Caring for photographic materials as part of their collection guidelines.
- Museums Galleries Scotland provides useful advice on Protecting your textiles which includes information on what can cause damage to your collection and how to prevent this.
- The British Museum, as part of their collection skills training, have created a Textiles collections care film which looks at the de-installation of a touring tectiles exhibition. This covered the conservation and collection care involved in putting the textiles and transportation crates back into storage and the recording of the appropriate collection information.
- The Museums & Galleries Commission produced An Illustrated Guide to the Care of Costume and Textile Collections.
- The Canadian Conservation Institute includes detailed advice on the Caring for textiles and costumes as part of their collection guidelines.
The National Archive’s Managing Mixed Collections guidance focuses in the care of specific collection types in section 6.