Conservation FAQs

The conservation area at Glenbow Museum consists of three labs:

Each lab has a conservator who is specially trained to understand and repair the materials in their designated collections.


Glenbow Museum does not work on private commissions. The conservators work only on Glenbow Museum collections but are able to give advice when time allows.

While we hope you find the information here (and the information provided by those organizations we have linked to) of use and interest, we expect people to recognize that any work done on an object is a risk and is best performed by trained professionals. Glenbow Museum is not responsible for any damage done to items due to information provided herein.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is conservation?
Conservation is the profession that deals with the stabilization and repair of cultural property. Conservation attempts to care for an object in order to maintain it, as much as possible, in its current condition, including wear and "historic dirt." It includes preventative conservation, documentation, treatment, and, if necessary, restoration.

What do the conservation professionals at Glenbow do?
The conservators ensure that artifacts in the collection last as long as possible and that the artifacts can be displayed for public and research purposes.

The first avenue of protection is preventive conservation. Preventive conservation includes things such as building maintenance, environmental monitoring, and "integrated pest management." It deals with deciding on the long term needs of objects, including controlling light levels, humidity, temperature, creating storage mounts, and using proper materials. By placing objects in an environment as ideal as possible, you can slow the aging process, making the objects last longer. If an object is damaged or disfigured a conservator can treat the artifact. For different materials this means different things. Sometimes it could be as simple as dusting, or it could involve intensive chemical treatments. See some conservation treatments in Behind the Scenes.

How do I find information about caring for my artifacts?
Any treatment on an artifact involves a degree of risk and should be done by a professional qualified to treat the material. For information on the basic care of family treasures and antiques, these websites are of great use.

AIC: Caring for Your Treasures - The site contains electronic versions of brochures that were widely available from the American Institute for Conservation. The first brochure covers many environmental concerns.

Caring For: Objects - Canadian Conservation Institute Caring for and Protecting Heritage Objects, Collections and Interiors.

Canadian Conservation Institute Notes

Conserve O Grams

How do I find a conservator?
Conservators can be somewhat difficult to find as there are few in private practice in Western Canada. However here are some suggested sites to search.

Canadian Association of Professional Conservators - The Canadian Association of Professional Conservators (CAPC) is the national accrediting body for conservators, and they have a listing of members both geographically and by speciality.

The American Institute for Conservation

What are some basic conservation guidelines?
Below are some general guidelines. See the websites listed above under "How do I find information about caring for my artifacts?" for more detailed information.

Storing and keeping your objects in the proper environment is important. Different objects have different environmental and storage needs that are often difficult to accommodate in a home. Here are some basic tips.

More Information about Conservation

Canadian Association for Conservation

Conservation OnLine

130 9th Ave S.E.
Calgary, AB T2G 0P3

Located in the heart of the Calgary downtown core between Stephen Avenue and the Olympic Plaza
Cultural District.

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