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Conservation at the Museum of the History of Science is carried out in two ways; remedial and preventative conservation. Sample projects of remedial conservation are available below. Most projects which will appear on these pages represent a summary report on the conservation process, but there are more in-depth reports available too.

Also see further details about conservation in the museum.

Before open 1 instruments in situ (Inv. Num. 36524)

Set of Drawing Instruments

MHS Inventory No. 36524
Added by Cheryl Wolfe on 24/02/2009

Initially, it appeared that the leather on upturned side of this small box of instruments, had been over exposed to excessive daylight and the leather had faded. However on closer inspection it appeared to be excessively soiled from an accumulation of dirt over quite a number of years.

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Inv Num 35086 before cherub D in situ in display case 1

George III Silver Microscope

MHS Inventory No. 35086
Added by Cheryl Wolfe on 28/10/2008

This very ornate silver microscope had been the casualty of a very poor attempt at cleaning it; subsequently it was on display in a very poor condition. This previous attempt at cleaning had left it very unevenly tarnished, the iron components corroded and a great deal of residual cleaning product left in the intricate details.

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Before, case (Inv. Num. 21126) front view

A Well Travelled Camera Case.

MHS Inventory No. 21126
Added by Cheryl Wolfe on 14/10/2008

This leather case is part of T.E. Lawrence’s archaeological camera kit, on display in the basement gallery in the museum. The camera itself is in very good condition, but this case had a number of problems, particularly the long split along the hinged lid. This was in danger of becoming completely detached so intervention was required before this became a reality.

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Before, showing the lamp (Inv. Num. 23845) with large crack in the fabric, friable surface and extent of surface loss

A Crumbling Lamp.

MHS Inventory No. 23845
Added by Cheryl Wolfe on 29/07/2008

During a search for other objects this rather problematic lamp was discovered by our Collections Manager, who brought it to the attention of Conservation. It was clearly in a bad way with much of the front section of the lamp fragmenting and delaminating into the tissue paper wrapping it was in. A small box was made for it to prevent further damage to the already fragile material whilst a conservation plan was formulated to prevent the problem from escalating.

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Condition of chemistry set (Inv. Num. 92768) on receipt

A Wet and Mouldy Chemistry Set.

MHS Inventory No. 92768
Added by Cheryl Wolfe on 29/07/2008

This unfortunate object was found in a very poor state in storage. At some point it had got rather wet and had slowly dried leaving the pasteboard and paper box in a fragile and damaged state. To add insult to injury, mould had started to grow not only on the exposed surfaces but between the pasteboard and paper covering, and, further to this the pot of carbon powder within the set had deposited a good portion of its contents all over the interior.

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