Frequently Asked Questions about Conservation and Preservation Activities

What does conservation mean at the Archives

The purpose of our conservation activities is to prevent damage from happening to any of our records, and sometimes to repair items that have been torn or water damaged, for example. We try to make sure that the records in our collection will last for a very long time

What does a conservator do?

A conservator uses his or her specialized training to apply treatments to damaged items, and to provide advice on how to avoid damage in the future

What does the archives do to make sure its collection is safe?

The Archives facility has very good environmental controls so that there is always an ideal level of temperature and humidity in our building. We use archival-quality envelopes and boxes, which are often custom-made, and keep our facility very clean

What can I do to make sure the collection is safe?

The best thing you can do is to handle items very carefully when you are looking at them in the Research Hall. Many of our items are fragile and brittle, and can be damaged very easily. Please follow the advice of our staff when it comes to wearing cotton gloves, or using pencils instead of pens, for example

Will the Archives conservator provide treatment for something that belongs to me?

Unfortunately, no. The conservator may be able to provide advice, but cannot provide treatments for anything outside of our collection

How can I learn more about conservation?

Information about our conservation activities is often provided when tours and public events, such as Doors Open Toronto, are hosted at the Archives

Conservation Case Studies