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Caring for our archive documents

How do you care for your collections?

We look after our collections by:

  • Storing and preserving all our collections in strong rooms, where they can be kept clean and dry.  Temperature and humidity is carefully controlled to give the best possible storage conditions.
  • Having trained conservators who can repair documents and books, so they can continue to be used by the public.
  • Ensuring that items are handled correctly, and we ask all our users to help support us in this.

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What is conservation?

Conservation is the repair and protection of damaged documents and books.  This damage can be prevented or reduced by:

  • Proper handling
  • Monitoring storage conditions
  • Having a disaster response plan

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What are conservators?

The people who repair the books, documents, maps, photographs, audio and film recordings in our collections are called conservators.

The archives and local studies service has a professional conservator, who is helped by technical assistants and volunteers.

Conservators learn about structure, materials and chemistry so that damaged documents can be mended and made usable.

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Where do you conserve your collections?

There is a conservation workshop in the Treasure House to help care for our collections.

This has been fitted out with the specialised equipment and tools conservators need to do their work.

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Can I see the conservators at work?

Yes, the conservation workshop in the Treasure House has a viewing window so the public can watch the conservators at work.

You can also arrange for a guided tour of the Treasure House , which can include a look around the conservation workshop.

Please contact us by completing the archive service enquiry form (opens in a new window) or telephone us on (01482) 392790 to organise a visit.

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As a reader can I help care for the collections?

Yes, our readers play an important part in helping to look after our collections.

By reading and observing our handling guidelines when you visit our research room, you will help to look after our written heritage. 

Handling guidelines (pdf 46kb opens in new window)

You can also help by pointing out to staff those documents which are damaged so that our conservators can keep a record of work that needs to be done.

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Can you repair my documents?

Regrettably, we do not usually repair documents that are not part of our collections.

The priority of the conservation workshop has to be the repair of items already in our care, but please contact the conservator if you need any advice

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How do I contact the conservator?

If you have any questions about the work of the conservation workshop that we have not answered then please contact us by completing the general enquiry form on the right hand side of this page.

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