Collection Care and Conservation Policy and Action Plan

2017-2020

New Hall Art Collection, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge

Authors: Eliza Gluckman, Curator, New Hall Art Collection & Dr Lydia Hamlett, Fellow (History of Art)

With support from Helen Draper, Conservator

Date June 2017

Review Date: June 2020

 

The purpose of this document is to guide collections care and conservation related activities in line with the Collection’s Forward Plan and its resources. The document also outlines the Collections Care and Conservation Action Plan (2017-2020), as approved by the Art Committee.  The policy will be available online to all staff and interns.

 

  1. Introduction

The New Hall Art Collection (NHAC) at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge is Europe’s largest collection of international art by women.

Established in 1986 with the acquisition of a series of works by the prominent US artist Mary Kelly, the Collection has grown through generous donations by the artists themselves and support from donors and benefactors.  It now numbers 525 modern and contemporary paintings, works on paper, photographs and sculpture, the earliest of which dates from 1905. The majority of the Collection is on display in Murray Edwards and its gardens. The College undertakes to conserve, interpret and promote the historic and contemporary works in its care. Its collecting policy is to reflect the best in recent women’s art practice.

 Our vision is for the Collection to embody the ethos of the College as an accessible, vibrant and innovative place to study, work, live and visit. Through collaboration, programme activity and formal accreditation, we aim to create a permanent base for the academic study of women’s art as well as a destination for the wider public.

 

  1. Collection Mission, Aims and Objectives

New Hall Art Collection Forward Plan reflects the College’s mission and upholds the University of Cambridge’s mission to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research at ‘highest international levels of excellence.’

Furthermore the College and its management aspire to conserve the Collection and archive for present and future generations, and maintain it as a resource for research. Through innovative learning programmes, exhibitions and commissions of modern and contemporary art the Collection will welcome diverse audiences and inspire public engagement. Financial sustainability will be ensured through strong management and by building upon the support of donors, trusts and foundations.

 

2.1 Aims for the Collection:

  1. To develop the Collection into one of increasing international significance and quality
  2. To create, by dynamic displays and activities, an inspirational and thought-provoking environment for those who live and study in the College
  3. To stimulate intellectual interest in and understanding of women’s art and creativity as a contribution to the academic excellence of the college
  4. To encourage access to the Collection by local, regional and international visitors to make the College better known and understood
  5. To maintain and display the collection to professional standards
  6. To secure financial and other resources to deliver these objectives

Furthermore the College and its management aspire to:

  • conserve the collection and archive for present and future generations and as a resource for research
  • present exhibitions, displays and commissions of modern and contemporary art
  • welcome and engage diverse audiences through innovative learning programmes and public engagement
  • ensure financial sustainability through strong management and the support of donors, trusts and foundations

 

  1. Collections Care and Conservation Policy

3.1. Principles for Care and Conservation

Murray Edwards College is committed to caring for its collections according to sector guidelines and other approved standards, within the limits of its resources. It aims to strike a careful balance between long-term preservation and continued accessibility. The care and management of the Collection is the responsibility of the Curator supported by the Art Committee and the College Administrator. These stakeholders take guidance on standards of preservation and conservation for the Collection from University of Cambridge Museums (UCM), UCM conservators and external professionals to ensure that care and conservation standards (outlined below) are, wherever possible, met.

 

3.2. Definitions

For the purposes of this document the following definitions have been adopted:

  • Collections care (preventive conservation)

Measures necessary to prevent damage to museum objects and structures; and to avoid, slow or minimise the deterioration of objects by, for example, controlling their environment.

  • Conservation (remedial conservation)

Action applied directly to an object with the aim of arresting the processes of deterioration, and to stabilize its structure in order to preserve it. It may or may not include restoration work.

  • Conservation (repair or restoration)

Action applied directly to an object with the aim of mitigating the structural or visual effects of deterioration or damage. On a painting, for example, this may include retouching areas of lost paint.

 

3.3. Ethics and Legislation

In caring for its collection, NHAC adheres to the following legislation and ethical guidelines:

  • Museum Association Code of Ethics updated 2015 [https://www.museumsassociation.org/download?id=1155827]
  • ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums (2006)
  • Museums and Galleries Act (1992) and amendments
  • Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and amendments
  • COSHH regulations (2002)
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (2004) and amendments
  • University of Cambridge Statutes and Ordinances (2013)

 

3.4. Standards

The NHAC Care and Conservation Policy is informed by the following standards:

  • SPECTRUM: UK Museum Collections Management Standard – version 5.0 expected June 2017
  • Benchmarks in Collections Care for Museums, Archives and Libraries 0 2011 [http://collectionstrust.org.uk/resource/benchmarks-in-collections-care-2-0/]
  • University of Cambridge Environmental Policy (2011)
  • PAS 197:2009 Code of Practice for Cultural Collections Management
  • PD 5454:2012 Guide for the Storage and Exhibition of Archival Materials
  • PAS 198:2012 Specification for Managing Environmental Conditions for Cultural Collections

 

3.5. Premises and Storage

Murray Edwards College continues to monitor, improve and maintain the physical condition of its buildings. The College considers the buildings suitable for housing the NHAC in line with current British standards (see 3.4. above).

As far as possible, the Collection is stored in a way that allows access for the purposes of supporting research and teaching. The Collection art store’s environment is stable and its regulation is guided by the advice of UCM and conservation professionals. The store receives an annual check by a qualified art technician.

 

3.6. Conservation Assessment and Treatment

Current Practice

NHAC considers preventive conservation to be the most effective means of preserving its objects. The physical condition of the display spaces and the Collection itself will continue to be monitored and assessed by staff in order to identify conservation priorities and provide the basis for on-going strategic planning. This information in turn informs the Collections Care and Conservation Action Plan (2017-2020) (see 6. below).

The Curator oversees all assessments of the condition of works on display and in storage, including loans, and designates those requiring conservation.

 External loans will be examined by the Curator or Registrar and in certain instances (assessed on value and destination) a professional conservator, who will supply a written Condition Report and recommendations based on the findings. The report, along with photos taken when the item is inspected and when it returns, form the basis of settling any dispute which may arise over the work’s condition, and would be required by insurers.

Preventive and remedial conservation treatments on the Collection, including loans, are carried out by qualified professionals who are either UCM partners or external contractors. Work is only undertaken when a conservator has examined the object, provided a written Condition Report with recommendations for treatment, and discussed the options with the Curator and, in some cases, with other stakeholders.

All contracted conservation work is undertaken on the basis of the College’s guidelines for competitive tendering and professional practice. All conservation treatments are photographed, fully documented and archived appropriately.

 

3.7. Environmental Monitoring and Control

The Curator and other members of staff, including volunteers, are aware of the central importance of the role played by environmental monitoring and control in maintaining the Collection and mitigating against its deterioration. All personnel understand the need to regulate temperature and relative humidity (RH) levels to maintain them within an acceptable range and avoid fluctuations.

Of equal importance is a general awareness of the need to control light levels in display areas in line with current best practice, and to eliminate the risk of works being exposed to direct sunlight. Similarly, works must not be displayed or stored in close proximity to sources of heat or cold, including radiators and air vents.

Archival and conservation grade materials are used routinely in storage, mounting and framing works of art.

 

3.8. Housekeeping and Pest Management

All display areas, but not the works themselves, are cleaned daily to reduce the risk of pests and mould, and to minimise the general level of dust. The cleaner is briefed on priorities and follows a schedule for housekeeping activities. Cleaning methods, products and tools have been selected to reduce the risk of physical and chemical damage to Collection items. Stores are carefully cleaned by curatorial staff who also inspect the display areas every two months.

New acquisitions are inspected for dust, mould and pest infestation before being placed either on display or in storage. Should pest or mould infestations be identified, a conservator will be consulted and steps taken to deal with the problem efficiently and without risk to people or objects. Display and storage areas are monitored for the presence of insects and rodents, and traps are changed regularly as outlined in the Integrated Pest Mould and Management Policy and Procedures.

Policy requires the Collection to be visually inspected every six months and if infestation is discovered it will be treated as a matter of urgency. Trapped insects will be identified and recorded.

A check-list risk assessment, in terms of the potential for damage or theft, is made for each work of art within the display area designated for each room used by the events team in the College (implementing 2017). In this way the unique vulnerabilities of each can be considered, along with the hazards created by unpredictable behaviour or localised crowd surges, for example, within the display area.

Objects identified as being particularly fragile or vulnerable and at increased risk during special events are roped off, covered or removed by trained staff and stored.  Removal is, however, considered a last resort as it entails placing a degree of stress and risk on the object.

Food and drink are never permitted in storage areas.

 

3.9. Access and Handling

Public access to display areas is monitored and controlled by front of house staff, Porters and CCTV, while College students enjoy access to non-public areas used for display, including the dining hall.

Murray Edwards College is part of the University of Cambridge and thus benefits from the networks and partnerships that provides.  This includes access to advice from University of Cambridge Museums as well as allowing easy collaboration with other departments, research groups and resources, such as the University Library.

Requests to see works not on public display can be made by application to the Curator.

As noted above (at 3.8.), all handling entails placing a degree of stress and risk on the object being moved and is only done after careful planning and preparation. Heavy and cumbersome items, for example, are only moved by those who have completed appropriate training, and after risk and health and safety assessments have been carried out and approved by the relevant staff.

Curatorial staff are trained in handling objects and any additional people asked to help move objects for special events, including programming and visitor services personnel, are monitored to ensure best practice is adhered to. Contractors, students, researchers and volunteers are made aware of their responsibility to exercise caution in and around all display and storage areas and are given appropriate guidance if expected to handle the objects. The Curator is working towards the provision of training to all College staff involved in monitoring and handling works of art.

 

3.10. Education and Training

NHAC staff members and volunteers are either recruited because they have experience of working with gallery or museum objects, or because they have transferable skills and are willing to undertake training. The induction process identifies gaps in training and expertise. New and existing personnel are required or encouraged to attend courses, workshops and other professional development events related to collections care and conservation.

Each new intake of students is made aware of the Collection and the special privilege and responsibilities access to it entails.

All staff members, volunteers and students are made aware of this Policy document and its impact on them.  Copies can be obtained from the College Administrator.

 

3.11. Health and Safety

A risk assessment is undertaken by the College Administrator on an annual basis, and is approved by the Art Committee.

The College Maintenance team is trained to oversee the movement of equipment such as scaffolding and ladders, and to ensure that all movement of large works is done in compliance with the Ethics, Legislation and Standards identified above (3.3 and 3.4).

NHAC’s Curator performs a health and safety risk assessment of the spaces and materials used by staff in the care and conservation of works in accordance with the same guidelines.

 

3.12. Security

The College is aware of the need to assess all risks to the Collection regularly and to mitigate against them to a level that is acceptable. It is important to balance risk management against the need to maintain accessibility and allow for the smooth running of the College for all its constituents.

The Collection is protected from theft using a variety of security systems, including: CCTV; contact alarms on doors and swipe cards to restrict access; panic alarms in the Porter’s Lodge; additional locks on external doors.

As a further deterrent to theft, works hung in public areas are hung using special security screws or fixings. An ongoing programme to replace all fixings with security ‘Ryman’ fixings is underway.  Works of considerable value are mainly hung out of reach (e.g. the Dome) or within locked, private rooms accessible by staff and Fellows and tour groups.  Similarly any movable three-dimensional items are kept in these spaces.

Porters patrol the building twice daily as they undertake opening the college and closing up. Any notices of changes to works or damage are logged and reported to the College Administrator and the Curator.

 

3.13. Emergency Planning

Murray Edwards College has put measures in place should an emergency occur. Copies of the Emergency Plan can be found in the designated fire department emergency box as well as in backup locations within the building. The plan is available to all College staff.

In the event of an emergency occurring, the Collections Care Support Network of the UCM will provide conservators and other professional staff to assist the College.

All staff and volunteers are made aware of the Emergency Plan upon their induction.

Any incidents which threaten to have an adverse effect on the buildings, or the Collection, would be reported to the Art Committee and, where appropriate, to the College Council. Such incidents would be assessed and recorded in order to inform future revisions of the emergency plan.

Risk assessments are drawn-up for exhibitions and projects, as appropriate, and archived.

 

  1. Funding

NHAC seeks to uphold the standards of conservation with the collection with in its core internal budget committed by the College.  This includes prioritising conservation and framing within its budget planning. The College also seeks external funding for specific conservation projects, as agreed by the Director of Development and Art Committee. Annual assessments are carried out by the Collection staff with the assistance of Volunteer conservators and support from the UCM.  External funding will be sought to carry out a full audit from the Pilgrim Trust. See Conservation Action Plan.

Special projects such as the extensive conservation work are allocated as needed in discussion with the Art Committee.

 

  1. Support and Advice

NHAC seeks support and advice on matters of collections care and conservation, when required, through UCM and from independent professionals.

The Collection Curator is a member of the Museums Association. NHAC and College management are committed to exploring all avenues of advice and support, and the Curator continues to visit or consult institutions whose experience and expertise could be transferable to the NHAC.

 

  1. Collections Care and Conservation Action Plan 2017-2020

The Collections Care and Conservation Action Plan will enable Murray Edwards College to minimise the risk of harm to the NHAC from people and the environment. It is central to the Collections Care and Conservation Policy above and should be read in conjunction with the Forward Plan.

 

6.1. Action Plan 2017-2020: Scope and Composition of the Collection

As the Collection is displayed in 24 spaces throughout the College’s extensive complex of buildings and grounds, the majority of the works acquired have been paintings on canvas or solid supports. These objects are readily accommodated within a busy working environment used for academic teaching, residential use and events (internal and external). All the works are modern or contemporary (20-21st centuries), and the Collection has grown over 30 years to number over 525. There is a general acknowledgement, however, that historically it has lacked consistent investment of both professional expertise and funding. The appointment of a permanent although part-time Curator prompted an overall re-assessment of the Collection, which in turn identified the need to formalise conservation strategy, and to achieve Accreditation.

The New Hall Art Collection comes under the terms of Accreditation; the College’s own collection, the student collection, Library and Archive collections do not.

NHAC on display:

507 objects including paintings; pieces in collage or mixed media; watercolours; prints; photographs; sculptures in bronze, ceramic and wood; furniture; textiles; ceramics; glass; metalwork; as well as artists’ books .

NHAC in the art store:

18 objects which are either photographs on rotation; works awaiting re-display or conservation; and those in need of framing or re-mounting. These are dealt with in order of priority and within the limitations of budget.

 

6.2. Action Plan 2017-2020: Objectives and Outcomes

Objectives:

  • Ensure that NHAC is protected for the benefit of the works themselves, the Collection’s users, and Murray Edwards College
  • Enhance the physical stability and therefore the status and potential of the Collection
  • Make more works accessible, enhance exhibitions and facilitate loans
  • Create a safe and effective working environment for displaying and storing the works
  • Create a safe and comfortable environment for the Collection’s users

Outcomes – investigate and improve / develop:

  • Procedures for assessing environmental risks to the Collection and its users
  • Measures for minimising environmental and other risk factors affecting the works
  • Procedures and expertise in assessing the condition of the works
  • Preventive conservation procedures for the Collection
  • Provision of professional conservation services for the works on a sustainable basis
  • Access to sources of internal and external funding for conservation

The key to achieving these outcomes lies in building a comprehensive understanding of the physical nature of the Collection and its environment, and the stability, or otherwise, of each object. We will initiate a new process of assessment aimed at identifying the precise care and conservation needs of NHAC and its spaces. Once this is established the Curator will be able to examine the effectiveness of procedures and measures currently in place and make robust changes where appropriate.

In 2017, NHAC will undertake an Environmental Risk Assessment (see 6.3. below) of all display and storage areas, and perform assessments of the risk of potential damage to works in each. While the survey will concentrate on the risk to objects, it will also bear in mind the safety and needs of the Collection’s users. [It is expected that Murray Edwards College students, some from other colleges, and people drawn from a general call for volunteers will be given basic training in how to examine spaces and identify potential risks so that they can participate in the survey. This would enthuse current students, raise awareness of the Collection and highlight the challenges faced by it and its staff.]

In 2017-1, NHAC will commission professional condition surveys for objects from each conservation discipline including, for example, paintings, sculpture, and works on paper. The resulting Collection Conservation Audit (see 6.4. below) will be used to set priorities; inform a 5-10-year Collections Care Plan; and will form the basis of a five-yearly review of progress. Fundraising will be required to cover the cost of the NHAC Collection Conservation Audit and to assist in achieving the conservation objectives identified by it.

Existing Surveys

  • NHAC was surveyed by Bonhams in 2005 and 2011 as part of an insurance evaluation.
  • In 2016-17 Maria Azcoitia – a curator of photographic work – conducted a condition check of the photographs in the collection which contributed to the Collection database and Volunteer Seana Wilson made a similar check of locations and generally condition of works to add to the database in anticipation of a more formal audit

Schedule of surveys:

  • Photography
  • Painting
  • Drawings and prints
  • Sculpture
  • Textiles
  • Books

 

6.3. Action Plan 2017-2020: Environmental Risk Assessment

In the course of the Environmental Risk Assessment each display and storage space containing NHAC works of art will be evaluated taking into account the following factors in determining potential risks to objects (and people):

  • Design or features of the room, or of the building as a whole, including floors, windows and doors
  • Vulnerability of the space to natural or man-made disasters, particularly flooding
  • Proximity and use of moveable items, including furniture and personal belongings
  • Unmonitored or unexpected actions of visitors and special event attendees
  • Unmonitored or unexpected actions of museum staff
  • Environmental controls, or lack of them, including for the regulation of temperature, relative humidity (RH), light levels (sunlight and artificial), and airborne pollutants
  • Poor housekeeping including the ineffective control of dust, detritus and cobwebs
  • Ineffective pest control measures
  • Proximity of non-archival materials used in framing and mounting
  • Proximity of incompatible Collection items or materials
  • Security, including the type and effectiveness of devices and other measures, if present
  • Emergencies and evacuation of people and objects
  • Consequences of actions by services in response to an emergency

Types of damage to works of art associated with the above risk factors include:

  • Accidental structural damage caused by people, furniture, bags or other personal or professional belongings and equipment; emergencies and evacuation (affects works in all media)
  • Water damage caused by flooding, sprinkler systems, fire-fighters, and liquids carried by visitors or staff (affects works on fabric solid supports, including paintings, photographs and books; textiles; some sculpture)
  • Vandalism, causing deliberate defacement or structural damage (affects works in all media)
  • Theft, opportunistic or premeditated and planned (affects works in all media)
  • Structural changes caused or exacerbated by unregulated environmental conditions including warping or shrinkage (affects works on fabric and solid supports, including paintings, photographs and books, sculpture)
  • Structural changes caused or exacerbated by unregulated environmental conditions including loss of adhesion between paint layers and canvas or solid supports (affects paintings on fabric or solid supports)
  • Structural and visual changes exacerbated by unregulated environmental conditions, particularly high RH and light exposure, including discolouration of acidic paper (affects works on paper supports, including watercolours, prints, photographs and books)
  • Structural and visual changes exacerbated by unregulated environmental conditions, particularly high RH, including mould growth on paper and fabrics (affects works on fabric, wood-based and paper supports, including watercolours, prints, photographs and books; textiles; some sculpture)
  • Structural changes caused or exacerbated by exposure to direct sunlight including desiccation or cracking (affects works on fabric or solid supports, including paintings; books; textiles; some ceramics and sculpture)
  • Irreversible visual changes to fugitive pigments and photo-sensitive materials caused by unregulated light levels (affects painted and printed works on fabric or solid supports, including paintings; photographs; textiles; some ceramics and sculpture)

Table of Risk Type and Mitigation Progress for audit in 2017 will include:

HIGH

  • General theft:
  • Fading of artwork
  • Damage due to insufficient storage space
  • Storage New storage systems implemented;

MEDIUM

  • Visitors touching objects
  • Visitors breaking objects
  • Corporate events breakage
  • Corporate events spillage
  • Moth infestations
  • Inappropriate mounts and frames
  • Storage assessed and replaced as needed.
  • Skylight water ingress – Environment Manual monitoring for leaks.
  • Dehumidifier overflow – Environment Manual monitoring for overflow

LOW

  • Corporate events
  • Pests
  • Increased cleaning

 

6.4. Action Plan 2017-2020: Collection Conservation Audit

The fully-funded, phased Conservation Audit will assess and describe the condition of each work of art in terms of its constituent materials; method of construction; physical and visual vulnerabilities; its current degree of structural stability; and its care requirements (if any).

The Audit will be conducted – in several carefully delineated phases – by qualified conservators, each with a different field of professional expertise, who will be assisted by curatorial and other NHAC staff and volunteers.

Not only will the Audit establish the exact condition of each item in the Collection and its care requirements, but – in conjunction with the Environmental Risk Assessment (see 6.3. above) – the preventive steps needed to ensure that its setting is a suitable one. To this end the Audit’s findings will be meticulously recorded and cross-referenced within the Collection Database.

In its entirety, the Audit will provide an invaluable overview of the physical nature of the whole Collection and, together with the Environmental Risk Assessment, the information required to plan and fund the care measures necessary to protect, display and store it with minimal risk, but also with maximum benefit to its users.

The Audit presents another important opportunity to include and enthuse College students and other volunteers about the scope and importance of the Collection, its physicality and its needs. The exercise in itself will raise awareness, but it will also be a pretext for the Curator and others to attract greater attention to NHAC. Conventional and ‘social’ media interviews, published papers and conference sessions describing the Collection and its Audit would be of great interest to local and general audiences as well as curators, art history academics and collections care professionals.

Procedure in Preparation for the Audit:

  • Inspect all works (including mixed-media pieces) to ensure that are accurately classified in terms of their materials and method of construction, and update the database accordingly.
  • Using the updated database, define the broad categories of objects to be assessed, including 1. paintings on fabric and solid supports; 2. works on paper (i.e. watercolours, prints, drawings, manuscripts, books etc.); 3. photographs; 4. sculpture; 5. textiles; 6. ceramics, and so forth.
  • Design the separate phases of the Audit, basing each on one of the six or so categories of objects noted above. This will include deciding upon the type of information and level of detail required; the means of recording it – using, for example, check-lists on paper or tablets, and/or simultaneous entry into the database.
  • Decide upon the specific outcome desired from the Audit in terms of the information and benefits derived set against the cost. Clearly, data on the condition of the objects is required, but also useful is an indication of the type of treatment (if any) recommended for each work; and of the number of hours involved in treatment. Taken together these data sets will inform the NHAC planning process including setting priorities, budgeting and fundraising, and achieving the long-term aims of the Collection. Collecting all this information at once will lengthen the process, and cost, but will achieve best value for money.
  • Commission suitably qualified conservators, each with professional expertise in one or more of the six or so categories of objects identified.
  • Agree with stakeholders the timetables and arrangements necessary for the Audit to proceed in its various stages, including College management, the Art Committee, relevant College staff departments, Health and Safety Officers, conservators, insurers, and so forth.
  • Train suitable NHAC staff and volunteers to provide supervised assistance including handling and measuring objects during the Audit; entering information directly into the database; re-displaying and re-wrapping works after assessment.

Procedure for an assessment phase of the Audit:

  • Map the location of each object to be assessed within one of the six or so broad categories – for example, all works on paper, bearing in mind that this category may or may not include photographs depending on the expertise of the conservator.
  • Ideally, all objects would be assessed off display so that all parts can be examined, and paintings should be removed from frames, but in practice this is not always possible or safe. Decide, in consultation with the conservator, whether works can be examined on display or should be removed.
  • Make provision for all stored works to be safely un- and re-wrapped.
  • Decide, in consultation, whether there will be a single room where off display objects will go to be assessed, or whether the conservator will go to them.
  • In consultation with the conservator, identify suitable spaces in which to conduct assessments, and supply any equipment required including, for example, tables, lighting, archival materials, and so forth.
  • Consider the implications of these decisions for the smooth running of the College and mitigate against any possible disruptions caused whilst carrying out the Audit.
  • Agree with stakeholders the timetable and arrangements necessary for this phase of the Audit to proceed, including College management, the Art Committee, relevant College staff departments, Health and Safety Officers, conservators, insurers, and so forth.

Procedure for assessment of a single object in the course of the Audit:

The conservator will examine the object from all possible angles to confirm or clarify the existing description of its materials and its mode of construction. The principal aim being to determine the degree to which the object is in stable condition in structural terms. A determination will also be made as to whether the stability or integrity of the work of art has been compromised in visual or aesthetic terms.

Evidence will be noted of:

  • Changes in, or inherent degradation of, any or all materials present including delamination, warping, discolouration, cracking, rust, fading, desiccation.
  • Physical damages, including tears, dents, scratches, deliberate defacement.
  • Any accumulation of surface matter including dust, dirt, fly-spots, cobwebs, liquid stains or food particles.
  • Any signs of mould or fungal growth, pest infestation or damage including, for example, woodworm and moths.
  • Any losses of original material through degradation or damage including, for example, flaking areas of paint, corrosion of a sculpture, chipped ceramics, torn works on paper.

Recommendations will be made as to the type of treatment, if any, needed for each work  and an estimate provided of the number of hours involved.

A prioritised list of objects for conservation based on the Conservation Audit will be maintained and reviewed every three years. New acquisitions to any part of the collection will be assessed on arrival.

Where the need for conservation work of any kind is identified it will be undertaken by a trained conservator.  Any conservator contracted to carry out work for the NHAC should be included on the Conservation Register and/or be a conservator employed by the UCM.

 

6.5. Action Plan 2017-2020: Current Practice and Areas for improvement

This section highlights some problems and highlights areas the NHAC do not comply with yet in the Care Policy because of restrictions on budget, staffing, etc.

  • to assess environmental risks to the buildings, the Collection and its users
  • to minimise environmental and other risk factors affecting the works
  • to assess the condition of the works
  • by way of preventive conservation measures for the Collection
  • to provide professional conservation services for the works on a sustainable basis]

It is crucial to maintain general awareness of the condition and requirements of the Collection by ensuring that all objects on display are subject to regular visual inspections by members of staff. Any signs of damage are logged and photographed and, if necessary, a conservator is consulted.

A plan for redesigning the collection store is being drawn up and fundraised for.