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.

Archive collections


  • The British Library Preservation Advisory Centre have produced a series of guides for caring for books:
  1. Caring for damaged books
  2. Care for bookingbindings
  3. Cleaning books and documents

Ceramic and glass

Leather, skin and fur

Metals including silver and silver gilt

Paintings, frames and works on paper

  • Museums Galleries Scotland have produced a series of resources to suport the care of art works:
  1. Preserving paintings and frames
  2. How to pack paper and unframed artworks
  3. How to softwrap objects
  • The Canadian Conservation Institute includes detailed advice on the Caring for paintings 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.

Mixed collections

The National Archive’s Managing Mixed Collections guidance focuses in the care of specific collection types in section 6.

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