Its purpose is to preserve the objects from all curatorial departments through time by halting the degradation processes of the various materials. It is staffed by highly educated professionals with university and Master’s degree education that specialize in the conservation of different materials and applies modern scientific methods using the appropriate materials in accordance to international conservation standards.
The department undertakes conservation of paintings, sculpture, ceramics, metalwork, wooden furniture, clothing accessories, books, paper material and photographs, among a big variety of artefacts. It is fully equipped with contemporary conservation equipment, tools and materials.
Conservation actions vary depending on the object and its materials, but generally they focus on the following:
- documentation of the current condition status of the objects through macroscopic or microscopic observation, physicochemical analysis and photography in the visible and ultraviolet spectrum in order to diagnose the damaging agents.
- conservation measures using appropriate materials and methods.
- restoration of the object in its original state in a distinct way, to the extent that this is possible and ethical, without compromising the original materials.
- documentation of the artefacts with photographic material and detailed conservation reports or condition reports.
For conservation and physicochemical analysis, the conservation department has collaborated with various conservation studios, labs and academic institutions such as NCSR Democritus, IGME, EKPA, PADA and the Acropolis Museum among others.
In addition, the conservation department is responsible for the installation of the Museum ’s artefacts in the permanent exhibition and in temporary exhibitions inside or outside the walls of NHM.
Finally, it manages the preventive conservation of the museum’s collections, studies, proposes and implements, as the case may be, precautionary measures for the stabilization of the environmental conditions in order to safely store the objects both in storage areas and during their transport and exhibition in temporary exhibitions. To this end, the conservation studio also participates in the three-year European “Collection Care” program (Horizon 2020), an interdisciplinary consortium of 18 partners from 9 countries, funded by the European Commission.