PHYSICAL DAMAGE

Museum objects are often fragile and need to be handled with great care. Objects are at their most vulnerable when being moved, transported or removed from their packing. 

Damage can be caused by poor handling, impact, shock, vibration, pressure or abrasion. For these reasons a lot of attention is given to storage methods and materials as well as packing for transport, whether by road or air. 

Handling
Before moving objects the conservator will ensure that the route to be taken is free of hazards and obstacles (e.g. is the doorway wide enough?), that the object is properly supported at all times during the move (by using a padded box and a trolley) and that there is a safe place to put it. Even if just lifting a pot, for example, the base must be supported using both hands and never lifted by the handle or rim. Equally, a framed painting should be carried by the bottom edge with both side members supported, and not held by the top edge only.
 
Display
Nearly all of the collection is displayed inside showcases, primarily to maintain environmental conditions, but also to protect against pests, pollution and dust as well as public handling. Showcases are constructed and secured so that they do not wobble or vibrate when people walk by. Within the showcases and drawers objects are mounted and secured to backboards so they are not subject to vibration or abrasion and will not fall.
 
Storage
Racking that runs smoothly on rollers is used in the stores, together with padding and cushioning of appropriate materials, to prevent objects being knocked together. 
 
Transit
If an object goes on loan to another institution the packing has to be able to provide protection against being dropped accidentally, vibrations from the vehicle and adverse temperatures or humidity levels during transit.
conservation at the ashmolean museum phyiscal
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