The fundamentals of natural history conservation

Learn practical preservation techniques for different materials, and best practice for optimum museum environment control.

The Natural History Museum is uniquely placed to share world-leading conservation expertise. Our collection comprises 80 million specimens, and our conservation work has to facilitate regular handling for analysis and research.

About this course

Covering practical preservation and conservation techniques, the course will include tips and tools that can be applied to any material type, including taxidermy, paper and wet specimens. It will also cover best practice for optimum monitoring and control of the museum environment and collections.

The course will be led by our conservation team and will be structured, participative and stimulating. Delegates will get printed course materials which will be used on the day and can be taken away for future reference.

  • Course contents

    This one day course will cover:

    • ethics
    • agents of deterioration
    • specimen hazards
    • documentation
    • surveys and assessments
    • condition reporting of objects
    • collections management policies and procedures 
    • strategic planning and environmental standards 
    • monitoring and control of the museum environment 
    • building stable environments
    • handling and transportation 
    • storage and packaging
    • surgery session – get some individual feedback on a current problem you are facing.
  • Outcomes

    By the end of this course delegates will be equipped with the skills and ability to:

    • define the main elements that adversely affect natural history collections
    • conduct a basic assessment of specimen condition
    • recognise situations that may require expert/specialist conservation intervention
    • identify possible health and safety hazards within collections and know how to mitigate risks
    • apply the principals for creating appropriate environments and physical storage for specimens and collections
    • identify and plan appropriate conservation documentation for natural history collections.


Contact the Training and Development team on +44 (0)207 942 6182 or email us.

New dates coming soon

New dates to be announced soon, sign up to receive updates on the Museum's training and development courses.

Course details

  • at the Natural History Museum
  • one-day course 
  • £395
  • concession and early-bird prices available


Who is it for?

  • individuals new to their role in a museum or heritage team
  • individuals who do not hold a formal qualification in conservation
  • those seeking an introduction to the field of conservation

Sign up to receive updates on courses