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Collection care from home

A mannequin wears a striking headress and a floor-length cloak
18 June 2020

What do collection care staff do, when they can't be physically near the collection items they're supposed to care for?

Our Preservation and Conservation teams have resourcefully navigated this quandary since the Library closed in March because of COVID-19.

Before slipping out the door, they covered valuable items on display to protect them from deterioration. As you can see, Jessie Clarke's radiant Pageant of Nations costume in the Velvet, Iron, Ashes exhibition has been accessorised with a slightly sombre custom cloak to shield it from dust and light.

Working from home has generated a fruitful period for research and preparation, as the team ticks items off their perennial 'to do' lists.

They've devised new preservation principles for atypical materials like metals, textiles and plastics; documented safe storage for hazardous materials; attended online workshops at unorthodox hours; analysed climate data; fashioned pest boxes to display insects known to cause damage to collections, and even found time for ping pong.