Large Object Conservation
How do we care for our aircraft and other large objects?
Find out more about the Museum’s policy and practice of technical conservation.
In accordance with universal museum best practice, our policy is to preserve all collection items in the state in which they came to us (ie. ‘original’ condition). We do this by maintaining the best possible physical conditions, and not undertaking any form of intervention or non-reversible treatment.
For the majority of our Collection, this simply means stabilising the item by carefully removing any excess dust, dirt or mould, housing it in an acid-free box or custom enclosure, and storing it in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment. Access to our collection stores is strictly controlled to ensure the long-term security and preservation of the artefacts in our collection.
The attempt to slow the extent of physical deterioration as much as possible for as long as possible does not always sit comfortably with large objects, such as aircraft, aircraft structures, vehicles and engines. There is almost always a need to protect the object from further deterioration by applying reversible treatments such as corrosion preventative compounds.
Due to the age of many of our large objects, there is often some evidence of corrosion, or there may be some structural damage. This will require more invasive corrective measures to address the issue, though our approach is always one of minimum intervention. Original material will be used in preference to new unless there is a question of structural integrity or safety of the object.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Browse our Frequently Asked Questions to find out more about aircraft conservation and restoration.