Detailed conservation work using a microscope

Sustainable conservation projects

Although we take measures to slow the rate of degradation, The National Archives' collection includes inherently unstable material, which will deteriorate rapidly even if it is never handled. Unstable documents are given priority for conservation treatment.

Selecting documents for treatment depends on thoroughly understanding the condition of all our records. Mapping our collection provides valuable information to improve storage and prioritise records in need of conservation.

With the centenary of the First World War approaching in 2014, we are currently carrying out essential conservation work to our popular unit war diaries (WO 95), ahead of their digitisation.

Find out about a previous large-scale project at The National Archives to remove miles of pressure-sensitive tape in one collection.

Read more about some other collections we have conserved in the past:

Conservation research projects

Find out more about our current collaborative, externally-funded research projects to address the degradation process and ensure appropriate environmental conditions for materials:

We have also launched a project 'Mind the Gap: Rigour and Relevance in Heritage Science Research', which investigates collaborative research practices between academic researchers and practitioners.