ashmolean

Conservation Department

Loans

AN1887.2. Packing the Guy Fawkes Lantern for loan - Stage 1
AN1887.2. Packing the
Guy Fawkes Lantern
for loan - Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 4
Stage 5 - only the lid left to fix on the travelling box.
Stage 5 - only the lid left to
fix on the travelling box.

The Ashmolean Museum is one of the UK's major lending institutions. In collaboration with other departments, loans form a significant part of the work carried out by the Conservation Department.

First protective layer for a large Egyptian blue painted vase returning from loan.
First protective layer for a large Egyptian
blue painted vase returning from loan.

When a request comes in from another institution, a conservation assessment must be made of all of the objects requested, and if necessary a treatment proposal made. Factors taken into consideration include the fitness of the work to travel: is it too fragile, will further exposure to light cause deterioration, will significant and long conservation treatments be necessary?

Once a loan is agreed any treatment is carried out. In the case of a single object this may only take two hours; however, when the request is large, as is increasingly the case, then time taken may extend to nearly two hundred hours for sixty five objects.

Removing the protective layer
Removing the protective
layer

Documentation takes the form of written and photographic reports, which are essential in today's museums. Should there be any question about the condition of an object on its return to the Museum we then have a clear and concise report to fall back on. Each time the object arrives at and leaves a venue it will be checked, so for an object that travels to three venues it is checked eight times.

This may all seem excessive, but it is important to remember that this is the result of hundreds of years worth of experience and learning from past problems.