Conservation

Background

  • The mandate of the conservation laboratories is to conserve and treat books, maps, manuscripts, prints, drawings, paintings and photographs in LAC’s collection.
  • The Conservation Section is equipped with five laboratories: books; maps and manuscripts; works of art on paper; photographs; and paintings. They are located at the Preservation Centre in Gatineau. There is also a Preservation Services Section at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa.
  • Conservators use various conservation treatments based on a risks/priority assessment approach performed in collaboration with the Preventive Care and Maintenance Section.

Considerations

  • Funding/resources: The Conservation Section has a vast mandate but does not have sufficient resources, human or financial, to handle all of the conservation issues that the collection faces. The Section must regularly reduce the scope of its projects, which leads to a backlog in preservation. See the document: “Preventive Care and Maintenance Section.”
  • Priorities: Conservators treat and prepare items from the collection for clients who request physical access to the collection and for institutions (such as the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of History, Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Prime Minister’s Office) that borrow items for exhibits and special events organized in collaboration with the Exhibitions and Online Content team. These requests are a priority and as such work related to the long-term preservation plan is sometimes neglected.
  • Health and safety: Ensuring the smooth operation and maintenance of equipment in the conservation laboratories while guaranteeing that employees have a healthy and safe work environment is becoming a bigger issue owing to stricter legislation.

Key messages

  • The Conservation Section works very closely with the Preventive Care and Maintenance Section to contribute to the long-term preservation plan.
  • The Section provides restoration services for items from the collection that are loaned out for exhibits and temporary events.

SME:

Marie Léonet, Manager, Conservation Section
Roxane Lafrenière, Acting Director, Care of Collection Division
Email: marie.leonet@canada.ca
roxane.lafreniere@canada.ca
Tel.: 613-404-8376
613-818-4381

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