Conservation Volunteers prepare First World War objects for a new exhibition

Over the past few weeks our conservation volunteers have been hard at work at the Discovery Centre on some special objects for a new First World War exhibition. 

They have been preparing a number of objects selected by our youth curators group, the Preservation Party, for display in the upcoming In Their Footsteps exhibition at Leeds City Museum.

Volunteer Alexandra shown cleaning a piece of medical equipment for exhibition.  Wearing gloves and a lab coat, and using cotton swabs to clean.
Alexandra cleans a piece of medical equipment

The Conservation Process

Volunteer Jill wearing lab coat and gloves is cleaning a Commemorative Penny with cotton wool swabs and an appropriate polish.
Jill Cleaning part of the Medal Collection

All the objects were condition checked by myself and then the volunteers got to work on objects that need a little tender loving care before they can be displayed.  As you can imagine many of these objects are at least 100 years old.  

Some just required cleaning with cotton wool swabs and deionised water, others required a little more effort with conservation grade polish and microcrystalline wax. They all have a story to tell.

Conserving Medals 

We are also displaying some of our medals in the new exhibition. The medal cleaning and rehousing project was the first conservation volunteer project that we ran nearly five years ago. The team documented, photographed, cleaned and re-packaged the entire medal collection. 

We have managed to fill 34 albums with a vast range of medals from this country and worldwide. There are a lot from the First World War period, not just from this country but many from overseas too. 

The Conservation Volunteer Team

Some of the medal cleaning team showing holding cleaned Commemorative Penny from the First World War.  All wearing lab coats and gloves.
Some of the Medal Cleaning Team: Michael, Jill, Carol, David & Victor

The conservation volunteers have been working with me every other Thursday down at the Discovery Centre for nearly five years. They are a very diverse group of people with an interest in history and preserving the past for future generations.  

Michael is our longest serving member, having been here from the start. Jill, Victor and David joined about three years ago, when some of the original members went on to pastures new. In the last few months Alexandra and the two Lindas have joined the group.

Find out more about the In Their Footsteps exhibition at Leeds City Museum!

By Emma Bowron, Conservator

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