RHS logo

Ravensthorpe Historical Society

Conservation Policy

1.0 Statement of Intent

This conservation policy aims to provide direction to Ravensthorpe Historical Society Inc. for maintaining objects in a stable condition. It is also aimed at preserving evidence of the objects’ active life contained in their construction, materials and fabric, so that museum users may gain an appreciation of the use and purpose of the displayed objects. The policy will provide guidance to the care of objects and to prevent changes that may reduce the above values. Deterioration caused by past use of an object is part of the object’s story and is different to deterioration caused by neglect once in the museum’s care.

2.0 Mission Statement

The Ravensthorpe Historical Society Inc. collects, holds, interprets and preserves objects, artefacts and information for the enrichment of all Ravensthorpe Shire Communities and their visitors.

3.0 Indoor Collection

The indoor collection shall be housed in as stable an environment as possible, excluded from direct light, dust and dirt. Pests shall be controlled as needs arise. Collected items will be displayed in purpose built cabinets which are lockable and dust proof. Objects not on display shall be stored in acid free archival containers.

Indoor collection items of particular concern include:

4.0 Outdoor Collection

Collection items which are housed outdoor will, as far as possible be housed under cover, in open fronted sheds. Priority is given to wooden exhibits, such as drays and farm implements containing wood. Machinery still in working order (e.g. trucks) shall be checked regularly for oil, air and water; the motor will be serviced, started and run on a regular basis to keep all parts lubricated.

Other outdoor collection items needing particular attention include:

  • Wooden drays
  • Stationary farm & mining implements liable to rusting.
  • Museum buildings are included in the outdoor collection. Ravensthorpe Shire employees are to check on termite activities on a regular basis and treat as necessary. Museum volunteers shall monitor any damage occurring to buildings due to wear and tear or climatic events, report these to the Shire if applicable, and initiate repairs as necessary.

    5.0 Conservation Work

    There are three levels of conservation entailing differing approaches to an object’s preservation. Any conservation work shall be in accordance with guidelines set out by Collection Australia Network, reCollections:Caring about Collections Across Austraia.

    The three levels are:

    5.1 Preventive Conservation

  • All objects shall be provided with a safe and benign environment protecting them against the agents of decay whether in storage, on display or in transit.
  • Museum workers are to be provided with guidelines and procedures for the handling and moving of objects. This includes lifting and hygiene such as cotton gloves.
  • Cleaning of objects shall only with the curator’s permission and in accordance with guidelines set by Museum Australia.
  • Objects on display and in storage shall be routinely inspected, but at least once a year, for evidence of insects, mould and other damaging agents by museum volunteers.
  • Temperature and humidity are to be controlled by air conditioners as required.
  • 5.2 Interventive Conservation

  • Any interventive conservation shall be done following the advice and guidelines of the Curator or of an accredited conservator and/or WA Museum staff. This may include cleaning, rust proofing and insect control.
  • Interventive conservation shall be limited to stabilising objects and does not include restoration.
  • Documentary evidence of interventive conservation shall be kept for each object so treated and recorded on the object’s datasheet.
  • 5.3 Restoration

    Ravensthorpe Historical Society Inc has neither the expertise nor the manpower to undertake restoration of objects. Members will therefore limit treatment to stabilising objects and prevention of decay (e.g. rust proofing of outdoor metal exhibits).

    6.0 Further Information

  • Heritage Collections Council, ReCollections, Caring for Collections Across Australia, Managing Collections – Purpose and Policies p7-14
  • Museums Australia Inc (NSW). Museum Methods: a practical manual for managing small museums, Section 4.1 Developing a preventive conservation policy.
  • Policy to be reviewed in 2016