Have you ever wondered who keeps the Nonsuch in ship-shape condition or the Winnipeg 1920s Gallery perfectly frozen in time after all these years – it’s our conservation team! The work of our conservators is evident in virtually every aspect of the Museum. But what is conservation and what does a conservator actually do?
Conservation is all actions aimed at safeguarding cultural heritage for the future. The purpose of conservation is to study, record, retain, and conserve as appropriate, the culturally significant qualities of an object with the least possible intervention. Conservators respect the object’s history, including the tangible and intangible.
Conservators use the principles of preventive conservation which include slowing down the most prevalent causes of deterioration from physical forces, thieves, vandals, fire, water, pests, pollutants, light, ultraviolet radiation, incorrect temperature, incorrect relative humidity, and dissociation. Conservation does not imply putting the object back into pristine condition but rather conservator’s try to understand the materials of an object in order to determine the degree of intervention needed in consultation with the curatorial team and community members.
Senior Conservator Carolyn Sirett performing conservation maintenance and tarring the rigging on the Nonsuch replica ship. Image © Manitoba Museum
Microscopic image of glass disease on historic glass beads. Image © Manitoba Museum
Senior Conservator Carolyn Sirett completing condition assessments of travelling exhibit Hockey, loaned from the Canadian Museum of History. Image © Manitoba Museum
Senior Conservator Carolyn Sirett preparing mannequin mount for exhibition. Image © Manitoba Museum