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Objects up close

conservator examining a sculpture

Conservators examine objects carefully before they decide how to care for them. They determine how an object was made, what materials it is made from and the cause of any damage and deterioration.

Close examination reveals new information about objects which helps us to understand, interpret and decide how to preserve them for future generations and prepare them for display. This information underpins choosing the right conservation treatments and allows us to make sure that the object looks right when on display in a museum gallery or when it's viewed by researchers. Sometimes the new information can make a major contribution to our understanding of the object, and these findings are presented alongside the object in the exhibition, for example in the 2003 exhibition Henry VIII Revealed.

The many examination techniques used by conservators and conservation scientists range from viewing objects in different forms of light to sophisticated analytical techniques such as scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis.

This section describes some of this work and shows how we look closely at objects.

Have a look at some of the objects from National Museums Liverpool's collection and find out the challenges that they present to conservators in our Highlighted objects feature.