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.
Objects 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 works
of art on paper, archival collections, photographs, ceramics,
glass, metals, leather, organic materials, textiles, and other
composite objects. Treatment services vary from simple preventive
stabilization to complete treatment and cosmetic reintegration.
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.
Activities 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
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.
Center Services Brochure
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 cost.
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
Working with a Conservator