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Conservation Lab

The IHS Conservation Lab is a state-of-the-art facility where we care for IHS’s manuscript, printed and visual collections – original manuscripts, manuscript volumes, maps, broadsides, photographs and pamphlets.

We’re fully equipped to allow a wide range of treatment options reflecting current advances in the conservation field. Conservators use a variety of tools – some exquisitely simple and direct, and others that are state-of-the art technology. Items are surveyed, cleaned, repaired and stabilized by a staff reflecting more than 50 years of experience.

Our paper conservation techniques rely on the conservator’s strong powers of observation and practical knowledge of historical papermaking and printmaking technology, early ink, dye and pigment formulation and use, and how they react under a variety of conditions. Our treatment proposals take into account the structure of the paper, inks and pigments, bindings, and applied photographic emulsion layers.

Additionally, the Conservation Lab strives to promote the long-term stability of its collections (often called preventative conservation) through correct storage, display and environmental conditions. As part of this strategy, we have an Integrated Pest Management plan in place which provides staff safety and ensures our collections remain insect- and mold-free.