We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Special Collections


Conservation workshop
There has been a Conservation Unit at the University since the 1950s. Originally part of the Department of Palaeography and Diplomatic, it became part of Archives and Special Collections within the University Library in 1990. In 1994 a new conservation unit was created with funding from the Andrew Mellon Foundation at Palace Green Library.
The Unit has two permanent members of staff at present and can accommodate up to three conservators on grant funded projects.
Recent conservation projects include a Pilgrim Trust funded project to conserve an important collection of 15th to 17th century bound manuscripts, and a National Manuscripts Conservation Trust funded project to conserve a series of 17th century Receiver Generals' account rolls in paper and parchment.



Training in care and handling of paper-based collections through the Collections Care Scheme

MLA North East and Durham University Collections Care Framework

This scheme which started in July 2002 provided advice and training in collection care to libraries, archives and museums with paper based collections throughout the north east. In April 2006 it expanded to provide preservation advice on museum objects as well, in partnership with the NE Museums Hub. In September 2007 it won the Award for Care of Collections at the 2007 Conservation Awards.

The North East Collections Care Framework responds to requests for advice on storage conditions, disaster planning, benchmarks and other preservation issues, and can organise training days on practical topics such as the care, handling and cleaning of collections.


In House

Work for the University Library includes:

Preservation and collection care

  • Making exhibition mounts
  • Environmental monitoring and integrated pest management throughout the collections.
  • Checking through new accessions in the decontamination room
  • Training of staff in the care and handling of collections
  • Advising on day to day preservation issues.
  • Maintenance of a disaster plan
  • Repackaging collections
  • Exhibitions : digital photography, creation of surrogates and mounting
Repairs being made to an account submitted to the Bishop of Durham in 1550

Remedial conservation of the collections

  • Paper conservation by hand and by leafcasting
  • Parchment repair
  • Seals
  • Maps
  • Architectural drawings
  • Book conservation
  • Binding
  • Boxmaking

Contact details

Special Collections
Palace Green Library
Palace Green
United Kingdom
: +44 (0)191 334 2972