The Glucksman Conservation Centre is based on the lower ground floor of The Sir Duncan Rice Library at the University of Aberdeen. It is staffed by three qualified conservators and a collection care assistant who work with the Special Collections Centre staff to preserve the historically important book and archives collections.
The conservation team look after all aspects of the physical care of the Special Collections which include a range of materials such as paper, vellum and parchment documents, rare books, works of art on paper, seals, maps, plans, charts, photographs, pamphlets and other ephemera.
The care of the collection encompasses both interventive conservation and implementation of preventive measures to monitor or control agents that can cause deterioration to the collection.
The Centre also contributes to the department's outreach programme to specialist and non specialist audiences. To date, workshops and training sessions have been delivered on integrated pest management (including a workshop delivered by one of the leading experts on IPM in the cultural sector, entomologist David Pinnegar), several bookbinding workshops, and sessions on care and handling of books and archive materials.
The conservation team also supports the programme of exhibitions held in the Gallery on the ground floor of the Sir Duncan Rice Library. Details of past, current and forthcoming exhibitions can be found here.
Interventive conservation includes the physical and chemical stabilisation of artefacts by means of treatments such as mechanical cleaning, humidification, washing, deacidification and paper repairs. Book conservation treatments may also include stabilisation of the sewing supports and leather repairs. In line with the ethics of the profession all interventive treatments are documented in writing and photographically. Ethical considerations contribute to the decision-making process and treatment reflects current research into best practice. Repair materials and treatment procedures conform to archive and museum standards.
Preventive conservation covers the measures taken to monitor or control agents which cause deterioration to the collections such as: temperature, relative humidity, light, pests, handling, storage and disasters. Pest traffic and environmental conditions are monitored in all areas where the collections are stored and displayed. Special Collections has a written disaster response plan which is updated annually.
For more information about conservation, conservation training and private conservators please visit the Institute of Conservation website at www.icon.org.uk
Covering 250 square metres, the Centre includes the following areas:
The Documentation and Examination Room
All items undergoing conservation are documented both photographically and in written format before and after treatment. The documentation and examination room provides space for detailed examination and photography of items to be carried out under controlled conditions.
The Main Studio
The Book Conservation Studio
The book conservation studio contains book specific equipment such as sewing frames, a laying press and a nipping press. It is also where any ‘dirty’ jobs can be carried out, such as toning leathers or papers, and paring leather.
The Decontamination Room
All material that comes into the collection is assessed before entering the store areas. If mould or any evidence of pest infestation is found, then material will be held for treatment in the decontamination room. The decontamination room contains equipment such as a biological safety cabinet and a Bassaire unit (a dust box with suction) to allow for safe cleaning of affected material.
The Freezer Room
The freezer room contains a large freezer that can quickly reach temperatures of -40°C. Items suffering from pest infestation can be frozen in order to kill any pests. In the event of a flood or a fire, the freezer can also be used to freeze material that has been damaged by water. Freezing the material allows the condition to be stabilised until there is time/space to complete drying and treatment.
Glucksman Conservation Centre
Library, Special Collections & Museums,
The Sir Duncan Rice Library,
+44 (0)1224 273867
+44 (0)1224 272573
Collections Care Assistant