The Conservation Department
The BCM Conservation Department consists of nine workshops, and operates as a centre for research, conservation and documentation.
The Department engages in preventive and interventional conservation, manages and documents collections and promotes conservation research.
The BCM Conservation Department:
• documents and evaluates the state of preservation of the artefacts in the BCM’s collections;
• standardizes, monitors and evaluates the environmental conditions pertaining to 1) the Museum’s exhibition spaces, storage areas and workshops, and 2) the means of transport and storage used for Museum artefacts;
• undertakes the physical and intellectual management of the collections, new acquisitions and confiscated items in the Museum’s new and old storage areas;
• plays an active role at every stage in the implementation of exhibitions at the Museum;
• documents the Museum’s collections;
• collaborates with cultural, academic and educational bodies in promoting conservation research;
• participates in European programmes piloting innovative conservation methods.
A guide to conservation terminology
Conservation covers every activity which seeks to preserve an artefact’s physical state, and the information it contains, into the long term. Conservation thus incorporates understanding and documenting the decay suffered by an artefact, as well as ways of remedying this decay and caring for it over time.
Preventive conservation involves designing controlled changes to an artefact’s environment so as to eliminate, as far as this is possible, the factors responsible for its decay. Preventive conservation includes the tasks involved in handling, moving, exhibiting and storing artefacts.
Interventional conservation includes every action taken which involves removing material from, or adding it to, an artefact or changing its nature by chemical means.
Restoration denotes interventions in which new material is added to an artefact in order to bring it closer to its original appearance, thus making it both more easily understood and more pleasing to the eye.
The histroy of conservation at the BCM
The history of conservation at the BCM can be considered to have begun in 1915 when, just one year after its foundation, the Museum introduced conservation in a primitive form which would rapidly evolve after World War Two.more
Conservators behind the scenes
The Museum’s conservators play an active role in the various stages of its permanent and temporary exhibitions: They ensure that artefacts are moved safely, and that suitable lighting and modes of display are used. They also study and regulate the environmental factors pertaining in the Museum’s display areas, and monitor the condition of exhibits constantly.more