34 Pages

Collection care and conservation

WithChristian Baars

The collections in the care of a museum form the principal resource from which all other activities arise. Conservators are acutely aware that the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies not only to the universe in general, but to museum collections in particular. The aim of caring for collections is, of course, to enable access to cultural heritage: by facilitating the continued availability of items in a usable state, conservators ensure that collections can continue their lives. Many objects are damaged through handling, either when the object is moved by staff or explored by visitors – museums do, of course, want visitors to have the closest possible experience of collections. Extensive data collection at National Museum Cardiff demonstrated that replacing old lamps in galleries with LEDs reduces heat production and, subsequently, demand on air conditioning. Regular monitoring of collections both for damage and for the occurrence of pests is crucial.