Care and Conservation

The Museum is proactive in assessing the condition of the objects in its care and taking intervening action to safeguard them and prevent their further deterioration. Sometimes this may only require an improvement to their packing materials. At other times it necessitates a programme of restoration or repair.

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Learn how we care for our collections

Art restoration

Meet the professional restorer who transformed some of our most impressive exhibits, making them fit to be seen once more

Care and Conservation Policy

Our attitude to preventative conservation and remedial care

Count Bruhl's Tailor

What's the longest you've ever waited for your glasses? A week...two weeks? These days some high street opticians will produce them for you within an hour. In the first days of the National Health Service they could take 18 months.

Pickwick Capers

We like to offer guests a cup of tea, but not from the ornamental pots in our collection. One such English Staffordshire ware pot was fired in the shape of the Dickensian character Mr Pickwick, with his arm as the spout and his head as the lid. This lid was unfortunate situation since it was the presence of his oval eye spectacles in this position that made the object relevant to us.

Under the microscope

In 2005 antiques expert Vic Burness got under one of the microscopes from the Dollond & Aitchison Loan Collection*...and on top of it...all over it in fact. This Culpeper-type from circa 1800 needed its jammed draw tube releasing, a thorough clean and relacquering and the manufacturing of a new rack and pinion adjustment mechanism. This latter was a highly specialised job. The first picture on the left shows where this vital part had become detached.

Objects of veneration

Several religious and votive objects are included within the collection. To many ordinary people across Medieval and Early Modern Europe the only relief from eye complaints, not withstanding the availability in some areas of travelling oculists, was to be sought through prayer. The devout would claim miraculous cures granted to them via the intercession of, amongst others, Saints Lucia or Odilia. In rural Catholic areas, such as the Austrian Tyrol, the veneration of these saints continues today.