Heritage Malta sets up its conservation taskforce in four broad departments. Together they cover the whole heritage stock, be it on display in any of the Heritage Malta sites and museums or in the reserves. There are specific conservation departments dedicated to paintings and polychrome sculptures, wood and furniture, textiles, and paper.
The Paintings and Polychrome Sculpture Conservation Department and the Wood and Furniture Conservation Department treat artefacts that form part of the Maltese National Collection displayed in several national museums and sites entrusted to Heritage Malta. Both departments focus mostly on the conservation and restoration treatment of artworks exhibited at MUZA, the Grand Master’s Palace, the Inquisitor’s Palace and the Gozo Museum. While portable artefacts are treated inside conservation laboratories, immovable paintings, statues and furniture may be treated on site. Conservation projects necessitate an interdisciplinary approach as conservators from various departments collaborate together, together with art historians and staff from the Diagnostic Scientific Department. Conservators also tend to regular inspections of artefacts inside museums and carry out dusting to limit rapid deterioration. Such inspections are carried out in collaboration with museum curators and the Agency’s Preventive Conservation Unit.
The Textile Department deals with historical clothes, including accessories, uniforms, liturgical vestments, flags and tapestries. The Paper Department deals with historical maps, important documents, historical books, photography and flat work (etchings and lithographs). Particular importance is given to documentation which includes the objects’ history, manufacturing techniques and state of conservation. These phases are backed up with scientific investigation of the materials originally used.
Interventions are carried out according to internationally recognised conservation standards. Display and storage are important aspects and therefore customised supports, mounts and boxes are manufactured inhouse for the specific needs of each object. Upon request, the departments also provide expert guidance to third party organisations and individuals.
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