Library Services



The mission of UCL Special Collections’ Conservation Department is to provide specialised input for the care of collections as well as to implement preventive and interventive measures and treatments.

A close up of a loose leaf being conserved.  Metal weights sit on fine Japanese rice paper, which in turn sit on the page that is to be flattened, cleaned and repaired.  A Conservator uses a paint brush to gently moisten the item.

Everything deteriorates. It is impossible to maintain objects in their original state. Conservation is about managing change, making sure that objects are stored, handled and conserved properly, following standards and strict codes of ethics and professional deontology.

At UCL Special Collections, the Conservation Department's work is essential to ensure all of our collections fulfil their role as teaching and research instruments, supporting the ethos of the department and allowing each object to tell a complete story.

Our conservators specialise in books and paper conservation. They work mainly on material from Special Collections, but also collaborate with and support other departments and institutes with their collections.

The department are responsible for:

  • Preventive conservation, environmental monitoring.
  • Collection surveys.
  • Research; imaging projects in collaboration with the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and UCL Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering and recentely with UCL Department of Chemistry who are analysing samples from one of our archive collections.
  • Management of loans and preparation of exhibitions.
  • Management of collection emergencies and disaster preparedness.
  • Engagement, Volunteering and Internship Programmes.
  • Formal Training, promoting good practices for staff as well as MA and PhD students who handle items from the collections.
  • Supervision of work contracted to third parties.