Cincinnati Museum Center’s Preservation Department is responsible for the preservation and conservation of the museum’s paper-based collections. It was established in 1984 in order to address the deterioration of the history library’s book and manuscript collections. During the library’s move to Union Terminal in 1990, a new conservation laboratory was designed to provide new equipment and ample space for the repair and treatment of our growing and diverse history collections.

The lab treats materials from our library and archival collections, including books, maps, broadsides, letters, journals, posters, prints, architectural drawings, photographic materials and paper-based three dimensional objects. Treatments performed in the department include removal of adhesive tapes, paper mending, surface cleaning, polyester film encapsulation, deacidification, rebinding and book repair, pamphlet repair and binding and construction of custom enclosures.

The Preservation Manager works with the curators to conduct a comprehensive preservation program for the collections, including monitoring of storage and handling practices, environmental monitoring, disaster preparedness and response, staff training, and preservation advice and information for the staff and public. The department also reviews collection items selected for exhibition and performs exhibit preparation work on these materials in support of the museum’s exhibit programming.