Preserve Your Treasures at
the Ford Conservation Center
The Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center is a regional conservation
facility that is part of the Nebraska
State Historical Society. The Ford Conservation Center
offers services to private individuals, public museums and libraries,
corporations, and state and federal agencies. Services include
the conservation examination and treatment of objects, consulting
on many collection related topics, educational activities, public
outreach programming, and assessments and surveys of collections.
requiring varying levels of technical study and evaluation can
be brought to the Ford Conservation Center for examination. Examination
may be requested as a prelude to conservation treatment or as
an effort to better understand the object. The staff conservators
can assist in recommending and facilitating scientific testing
and can interpret technical data generated during analysis.
Treatment: Treatment services are available for a wide range
of object types including paintings, ceramics, glass, metals,
leather, organic materials, and composite objects. Treatment
services vary from simple preventive stabilization to complete
treatment and cosmetic reintegration. While we cannot provide
treatment for paper or textiles at this time, we are happy provide
referrals to conservators in the region who are trained in textile
and paper conservation.
Conservators at the Ford Center are available to consult on a
wide variety of issues related to collection care and conservation.
Advice is available on topics such as storage techniques, exhibition
materials, new museum construction, and object housings.
Collection Management Consultations: Assistance is available for those faced with making
decisions about all aspects of collection management including
crate construction, mount design, material selection, storage
techniques, housing materials, framing, matting, and many other
issues relating to collection use and care. The Ford Center conservators
can provide up-to-date technical information for collectors and
Conservation assessments of institutional and private collections
are available. Conservators will provide a written overview of
the institution, or collection, and its efforts in collection
preservation that includes an evaluation of storage areas, exhibition
techniques, pest control methods, housekeeping, and any other
factors that affect the long-term survival of objects.
Surveys to document the condition and treatment needs of individual
objects in a collection can be conducted by Ford Center staff.
A specific report detailing the condition, treatment priority,
and conservation needs for each object can be prepared with an
overall review provided as a planning tool for the long-term
conservation of a collection.
and Training: The Ford Center
provides lectures and workshops on a variety of topics for many
audiences. Lectures and clinics are available to the public,
workshops and programs are offered for the museum and collecting
community, and specialized sessions are available for conservation
professionals. We welcome prearranged visits by groups.
Preparedness: The Ford Center
staff can assist with the preparation of emergency preparedness
plans, training, and drills. The staff is available in the event
of an emergency, and can provide on-site response, as well as
long-term collection treatment.
How Does One Go About
Getting an Object Conserved?
1. Make an appointment to have a
conservator examine your objects and give you a verbal indication
of what needs to be done, what can be done, and how much it might
2. If you decide to proceed, you
need to pay a conservator to prepare a written proposal of work
with a formal written estimate of costs. ($100) This documentation
can be used for insurance purposes.
3. The conservator will prepare a written
list of treatment steps needed and will test your object
to be sure the methods and materials are safe and effective.
The proposal and estimate will be mailed to you.
4. Read the proposal and estimate
and decide whether or not to have the work done. If you do decide
to have the work done, sign the proposal and estimate and return
them to the conservator. This will give the conservator permission
to proceed with the treatment. ($ costs depend on treatment proposed.)
5. After the treatment work is completed,
you will be billed for the work. After payment is received, you
can arrange a time to come and pick up your object from the conservator.
Your conservator should give you before and after treatment documentation
images and a written treatment report for your permanent records.
Why Do I Need an Appointment?
Conservators do a lot of work off site,
in museums for example, often in other cities and states, so
they may not be at the conservation center when you arrive without
an appointment. Conservation labs cannot accept the liability
or having objects dropped off, nor do they have the storage space
to keep many objects. When you make an appointment, the staff
will make sure someone is there to meet with you and help you
move or carry your object. They will prepare a safe place to
put your object so it can be unpacked and examined. Without an
appointment these steps can not be done prior to your arrival.
Find a Conservator
If you find you need the services of a
professional conservator you can find one by using the referral
service of the American
Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. This service will give you a list of conservators
in your area for the type of object you have questions about.
If you are in the middle of the country, you can contact the
Gerald R. Ford Conservation
Center. You can also visit the Regional
Alliance for Preservation website for information and
the location of conservators.
The Ford Conservation Center's staff offers a wide variety of professional services to historical,
cultural, educational, private, and corporate clients in Nebraska
and the surrounding region.