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How we care for our collections

All records, whether paper, parchment, photographic or electronic are vulnerable if not looked after

  • The archives are kept in secure storage areas, under climatically controlled conditions in line with national standards
  • We have accredited conservators who carry out remedial treatments and minimal repairs to slow deterioration and stabilise damaged material
  • We are working to ensure electronic information, particularly digital information will remain accessible for as long as is needed

This short video shows the preservation and conservation activities at Gloucestershire Archives. It was created to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Conservation's Accreditation scheme. This sets the high standards which professional Conservators must uphold.

Good collections care ensures that all our treasured documents are stored, accessed and handled in a way that prolongs their life.

  • We have dedicated Collections Care staff who specialise in the preservation and conservation of archive materials
  • We assess the needs of our collections; identifying damaged items and prioritising our work according to levels of use
  • We limit deterioration through environmental control, protective packing, careful handling, and by making information available through digital or microfilm copies
  • We carry out remedial treatments and minimal repair to slow deterioration and stabilise damaged paper, parchment and vellum, books and photographs.
  • Archive materials are susceptible to damage
  • Paper and parchment naturally age and deteriorate over time
  • Some materials or structures age more quickly because of the way they are made, or the way they have been kept in the past. You may have seen discoloured and brittle newspapers or faded colour photographs
  • Some documents are difficult to use such as large maps, heavy books, and fragile paper, and so will easily become damaged
  • Reduce the risk of damage
  • Slow the processes of decay
  • Repair some of the already existing damage
  • Help to make documents more accessible.
  • Be aware. All who use archives play a part in Collections Care
  • Please handle documents carefully following search room guidelines
  • Find out about caring for your own records and memorabilia at home
  • Contact Gloucestershire Archives Collections Care staff for further information here

Conservation Register

Guidance on caring for a range of objects and materials is available via the Conservation Register website here. The information:

  • Describes how to contribute to the preservation of your possessions
  • Gives examples of the types of deterioration and problems that should be referred to a professional conservator
  • The Conservation Register can also be used to find qualified and experienced conservators in your local area.

The Conservation Register is owned and operated by Icon, the Institute of Conservation 0203 142 6799

Further reading

Please see a list of links to relevant policies and websites below.

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