The Conservation Centre

The conservation team in Hintze Hall

The Museum’s Conservation Centre is one of the world's leading conservation and preservation facilities.

Our staff prepare, conserve and care for specimens from all the Museum's scientific departments.   

We look after a range of items, from modern anthropological and ethnographic specimens to glass models, zoologic and fossil skins, and dinosaurs.


Our preparation and conservation efforts include preventative work on vulnerable or delicate specimens, and the restoration and repair of Museum objects. We use cutting-edge preventative and remedial techniques to conserve Museum specimens.

We are responsible for assessing risks to the Museum’s collection and defining standards of care. We also advise other Museum staff on best practice.

Our development of preventive conservation techniques is recognised internationally and our staff lecture widely on the topic.

We provide advice and technical support to other museums, libraries and related institutions.

The centre is a world leader in the use of passive and active controlled environments, in particular oxygen-free environments, to limit specimen deterioration.

We also work with commercial contractors to develop new conservation products. Recently, we developed a new passive anoxic enclosure for specimens sensitive to oxygen and humidity.

We also have a worldwide reputation for developing new techniques for stabilising and restoring Museum objects. This includes the development of new laser methods for cleaning Museum specimens.

Specialist remedial treatments used in the Conservation Centre include:

  • stabilisation of sub-fossil bone
  • pyrite treatment
  • cleaning and consolidation of inorganic and organic materials.


The Conservation Centre houses a range of specialist conservation equipment in two main laboratories. We also have a comprehensive training library.

The Centre’s flexible environment is designed to be adaptable to any task. It can also be used as a conservation teaching facility.

We also have a dedicated acid laboratory for the cutting-edge chemical preparation of fossil specimens.

There are photography, metalwork and paper conservation facilities elsewhere in the Museum.   


Our state-of-the-art equipment includes:

  • dual wavelength laser
  • humidity chambers
  • micro-environmental control and monitoring equipment
  • lifting and handling equipment for objects of up to two tonnes.

Training and consultancy

Find out more about our work with:

  • casting and moudling
  • training courses
  • consultancy
  • exhibitions

Conservation research

Our staff contribute regularly to current research in conservation, from preventive and remedial conservation to pest management.

Staff undertake testing of all the materials used in the lab to ensure that they are of conservation grade and will not harm the objects we work on.

Projects include:

  • laser cleaning
  • reduced-oxygen environments
  • passive environmental management
  • remedial techniques in conservation
  • material stability and Oddy testing

Get in touch

Do you have a question or would like to make an enquiry?