Preventive conservation involves a number of co-ordinated efforts which aim at creating the appropriate environment that will slow down the rate of decay of cultural assets. The factors that may cause deterioration are environmental conditions, natural phenomena and human activity.
During the years 1996-1997, in view of the imminent relocation of the J.M.G. to its new premises, the Museum’s preventive conservation department carried out an inventory of the entire collection, noting its state of preservation. The department then packed all items for protection during transportation, while it also designed and supervised the biological decontamination of all artefacts made of organic materials, before these were placed in their final positions.
In the Museum’s new building, a special study resulted in a specific policy for the protection of the collection in the Museum’s storage facilities, as well as determining access and handling protocols. The items in storage were divided, according to the material of which they are made, into three separate groups housed in different rooms, under the conditions appropriate for each group.
The J.M.G. has chosen to concentrate on preventive, rather than systematic conservation of its collection, aiming at the better preservation of the stored artefacts. The items that are in immediate need of conservation and, in particular, those that are going to take part in temporary exhibitions, either on the Museum’s premises or in other locations, are handed over to independent restorers who carry out the work in their own private laboratories. Years of practice have proven that this system works extremely well. Its financial cost is quite low, whereas repeated inspections have shown the collection to be adequately protected and in perfect condition.