Materials Conservation

The Western Australian Museum has a vital role as a custodian of the State’s collections of scientific and cultural heritage. One of the Materials Conservation department's primary functions is to ensure that these collections are permanently preserved for reference, research and exhibition.

The conservation and preservation of the Museum’s collection is accomplished through the use of preventive and remedial conservation techniques in accordance with international and national standards of best practice.

Museum staff member performing textiles conservation

By minimising the rates of deterioration for artefacts and specimens in the WAM collections (preventive conservation), the extent of interventive conservation treatments is reduced. This philosophy helps us retain and maintain the integrity and original condition of the collection artefacts and specimens in the Museum’s care.

The Materials Conservation department also possesses a research division in its overall structure. Traditionally, the research division has been primarily focused on applied maritime archaeological conservation, however, all research has direct benefits to artefacts in the Museum’s collections. Knowledge derived from these research projects leads to the development of improved treatments and increased care and preservation of the Museum’s collections. Direct collaboration between the conservation scientists and the conservators is one of the key strengths of the Materials Conservation department, allowing problems to be tackled and resolved very effectively.

The Materials Conservation department provides services for Museum staff who study the objects and specimens, visitors to the museum, external researchers, government, private clients, conservation students and professionals.