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 a qualified conservator 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, 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 contributes to the department's outreach programme to specialist and non specialist audiences. The conservation team also supports the programme of exhibitions held in the Gallery on the ground floor of the Sir Duncan Rice Library.


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 main studio is where most of the practical conservation work undertaken by the conservation team is carried out. It is divided into wet and dry working areas and has been designed to allow for maximum flexibility in terms of use of the space.

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.