Conservation

RAMM’s in-house conservation team is responsible for all aspects of caring for the museum collections.

Our work falls into two categories; preventive conservation and interventive or remedial conservation. Preventive conservation concerns all aspects of storing and displaying objects in the right environment and with appropriate packaging or mounting.

Monitoring light levels, humidity and temperature in the museum and the stores are  a key part of this aspect of our work. It also involves checking on and improving conditions of our stored collections and managing museum pests.

Remedial conservation includes all work carried out directly on an object. This can range from simple cleaning to re-adhering broken pieces and filling in missing parts. The thorough examination of an object during its treatment helps us to understand an object better. We can reveal information about how it was made, what materials were used and why it deteriorated.

What is the best way to preserve our collections and ensure they don’t deteriorate? Morwena explains how RAMM’s conservation team work on conserving delicate items in the textiles collection and reveals their specialist skills and tricks of the trade. Find out about how the damp and mild conditions of the South West causes problems for textiles, see Morwena prepare a mannequin for display and discover the emotion behind conserving stunning garments from history.

We also support RAMM’s busy schedule of temporary exhibitions by conserving objects for display and assisting with the installation of exhibitions. In addition, we condition check objects that were borrowed from other museums and galleries for one of our exhibitions or prepare our own objects for loan.

Much of our work is invisible, but each object you look at in the museum has been checked or treated by a conservator.

The team behind the displays

The technical team play an essential part in the museum, helping RAMM to present spectacular exhibitions and displays for our visitors to enjoy. Our technician George takes us behind the scenes to the workshop and highlights the challenges of caring for and displaying objects in a way that shows the collections at their best. Hear about the privilege of being able to hold, and sometimes smell, the objects, as well as experiences of managing the safe installation of visiting exhibitions.

Conservation student placement and volunteering opportunities

RAMM offers placements in object conservation to students who need to build up their practical skills as part of their conservation training. Students work alongside staff on our current projects and gain experience in a full range of conservation tasks. Over the years we have welcomed students from universities here in the United Kingdom and as far afield as Mexico, Canada, India, Germany, Italy and Finland.

Occasionally we are able to offer volunteering opportunities of one to two days a week over a longer period. These are aimed at local people who would like to apply to a conservation course or trained conservators who would like to gain new skills.

Contact us to find out more about conservation internships at RAMM.