Without the work of the conservation department many of the treasures of the Leeds Collections would not be accessible to the public. The conservators look after the physical welfare of objects and the historic sites.
Looking after the collections may mean remedial treatment when a fragile object is damaged or dirty, but equally important is the prevention any future damage or by monitoring procedures and environment during display, loan, storage or in transit. Understanding the materials, construction and historic context of the objects is also vital when deciding on how to care for and treat the objects kept in trust for the people of Leeds.
These specialised skills extend the lives of fragile, rare and sometimes highly valuable objects so everyone can see them in their best state of preservation now and in years to come.
Leeds Museums and Galleries employ full-time conservators to care for our collections. Many volunteers, interns, school and community groups help with conservation work; from medal cleaning projects and taxidermy projects to making specialist coat hangers for our delicate textiles collections.
Besides a conservation lab and workshop at Temple Newsam House there is also a state of the art studio at Leeds Museum Discovery Centre. These work spaces are equipped with an array of tools to aid the conservators in their work. This includes a steam cleaner used to remove stubborn dirt and a giant walk-in freezer used to kill pests or insects without the use of potentially harmful chemicals.