We care for our collections in a variety of ways. Firstly, we try to prevent damage from occurring in the first place through preventive conservation measures. We aim to store and display objects in a way that slows down and minimises deterioration by controlling environmental factors such as light, temperature and humidity, as well as by controlling pests that can eat museum objects. Conservation staff monitor conditions in the stores and galleries and devise improvements to the museum environment. We also test new materials used in displays and stores to ensure that these are not harmful to objects. When objects are stored and displayed correctly they are less likely to require remedial treatment.
When an object in the collection is in poor condition we treat it by cleaning, repairing and stabilising it, enabling visitors to better understand and enjoy it. Before undertaking any treatment we consider what materials an object is made of, how it was made, its condition, its intended use and the causes of deterioration, then we decide what kind of treatment is most suitable.