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This week in objects conservation: Record keeping! Did you know that one of the most important parts of conservation is keeping a detailed and thorough record of every treatment? A treatment record is invaluable for the continued care of an object. It allows future conservators to identify repairs as well as to identify past treatment materials to eliminate the guess work of how to reverse and re-treat an object if necessary. Treatment records also include any analysis or discoveries made during the treatment, and help us keep track of how the condition has changed over time.
Right now our objects conservator is working on the treatment report for the recently completed 19th C Lacquer Chest. In addition to a written report that describes the method, materials, and outcome of the treatment, digital drawings of the chest are annotated to show the exact location of all repairs and added materials. Once completed, the reports are stored digitally in our collections catalog as well as in a hard copy file with all associated information on the object.
Keeping the reports connected to the objects ensures that future conservators have all the information they need to keep the object in the best condition to last for future museum visitors!