Introduction to the V&A Conservation Department

Welcome to the V&A Conservation Blog.

One of the largest in the country, the V&A’s Conservation Department comprises of more than forty Conservators and Conservation Scientists, who specialise in particular areas of conservation that reflect the wide variety of the collections held by the Museum. There are specialist studios for books, works of art on paper, easel paintings, sculpture, metals, ceramics & glass, stained glass, furniture, frames, textiles, costume and conservation science. In addition, as materials and technology advances, the department also increasingly faces the challenges of preserving non-traditional materials, including modern plastics, recorded performance, digital art and other time-based media.

Metals Conservation. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Conservators help facilitate access to the collections through the preparation of objects for the museum’s extensive Public Programme of exhibitions, loans and displays, while at the same time providing care for the museum’s core collection. The Conservators’ job is to ensure that the V&A‘s collections are preserved for current and future generations through careful examination, documentation, stabilisation, treatment, and through the use of appropriate storage and display methods. The work of the Conservator also serves to add to the intellectual value of Museum objects through obtaining a deeper understanding of how these objects were made, and in the identification of the processes, techniques and materials used by artists and makers in their creation. In parallel, the Conservation Science section carries out research that serves to advance our understanding of these materials and their interaction with the environment.

The Department’s work is carried out in a number of ways, including interventive conservation treatment, preventive conservation, environmental monitoring, scientific analysis, risk management, the provision of training, consultation with curators, and through lectures and workshops given here at the museum and all over the world.

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