Call in the experts
There are many resources out there that can offer advice and guidance when it comes to general collections management, object handling, basic cleaning and preventative conservation methods. Seek advice from the artist if they are still alive, ask other institutions who have artworks by the same person or similar materials and properties - but if in any doubt or not completely confident in whatever you are trying to achieve – then call in an expert!
The Institute of Conservation has a section on caring for your collection.
For conservation advice, always consult a professionally qualified and accredited art conservator – we recommend using the UK Conservation Register.
The Conservation Register website also features helpful sections on:
If you need materials and equipment for storing, handling and hanging works of art, search the suppliers listed by the Museums Association.
Further advice and resources
General collections guidance:
- AIM's (Association of Independent Museums) very useful 'Success Guides' offering practical advice and guidance on a variety of different topics including setting up a new museum, fundraising, venue hire and corporate events, running museum cafes and getting started with social media and conservation and collections care.
- English Heritage collections conservation advice and guidance.
- Museums Galleries Scotland publishes very useful advice and guidance for people working in the museums and galleries sector.
Marking and labelling collections:
- National Museums Liverpool guidelines on marking and labelling methods and positions.
- 'Labelling and Marking Museum Objects' booklet by Collections Trust.
- 'The Contents of a Museum Labelling and Marking Kit', a video guide.
- 'Marking museum objects using the starch paste method', a video guide.
Conservation and preservation material suppliers:
Collection storage advice and suppliers:
- Benchmarks in Collections Care 2.1 will help you make sure you have an exhibition and storage area fit for purpose, give you guidance on how to improve and maintain environmental conditions and the best way to handle and display a wide variety of objects.
- SHARE Museums East 'Packing Museum Objects' booklet.
- SHARE Museum East 'Packing Museum Objects' guidelines.
- Polstore Storage Systems
- Rackline, Museum Storage Solutions
Collection display suppliers:
Object handling and collection upkeep:
- SHARE Museums East 'Handling and Moving Museum Objects' guidelines.
- SHARE Museums East Conservation Housekeeping: Equipment List.
- SHARE Museums East Conservation Housekeeping and Maintenance Checklist Calendar.
Emergency planning for collections:
- SHARE Museums East 'Be Prepared: Emergency Planning Toolkit for Museums'.
- Emergency planning e-learning tool by the Museum of London.
- Guidance on how to be prepared in an emergency by the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material.
Here are some of the funding bodies that have recently helped artwork conservation projects:
- Bank of America Art Conservation Project
- The Clothworkers Guild
- The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
- Gabo Trust for Sculpture Conservation
- Heritage Fund
- The Kress Foundation
- The Pilgrim Trust
- The Radcliffe Trust
- Woodmansterne Conservation Awards
Much of the advice regarding the preservation and conservation of sculpture from our Collection Care and Research pages is taken from the 'Sculpture Care Toolkit' prepared by Clare Mitchell, Director of Mitchell Heritage Limited, on behalf of Art UK.
Mitchell Heritage Limited provides consultancy support and collections management services to the heritage sector and private collectors.