Preservation and Conservation Policy

1. Mission Statement

The aim of Gwynedd Archives Service is to protect the archival heritage of the county by collecting, preserving, giving access and promoting the use of the archives to offer experiences that will enrich, inspire, educate as well as enjoy.


2. Definition of terms

2.1 Preservation

The passive protection of an archive, where no direct physical or chemical treatment to the item occurs beyond the provision of safe environmental and storage conditions

2.2 Conservation

The active protection of an archive, by minimal physical and chemical treatment necessary to prevent further deterioration, which will not adversely affect the integrity of the original


3. Introduction and Context

The Preservation and Conservation Policy is a statement of the principles and activities that guide Gwynedd Archives Service.

3.1 Preservation and conservation mission statement.

In conjunction with the mission statement above, Gwynedd Archives Service is committed to the preservation and conservation needs of its collections. The principles that guide the preservation and conservation activities are stated here in the Preservation and Conservation Policy. 

3.2 Purpose of policy.

To state and communicate the principles that guides the preservation and conservation activities of Gwynedd Archive’s Service both internally externally.

3.3 Policy principles

These principles are:

  • Preservation
  • Conservation 
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Storage
  • Pest management
  • Emergency planning
  • Loans and exhibitions
  • Access

3.4 Implementation of the principles within the service

The preservation and conservation principles that guide Gwynedd Archive’s Service are implemented through the activities stated within the policy.  The activities are stated in sections 4 – 10.


4. Preservation and Conservation

4.1 Priorities for Preservation and Conservation

The priorities for preservation conservation are;

  • Public demand
  • Historical significance
  • Level of existing damage, potential further damage through handling and chemical changes

These are implemented through;

  • Surveys
  • Data base of conservation work
  • Staff vigilance

4.2 Preservation

Preventative conservation is carried out through the activities stated below

4.2.1 Correct handling

  • Information posters stating the correct handling of documents
  • Search room rules
  • Staff vigilance and advice
  • Advice to search room staff from conservator on handling items
  • Handling aids such as cushions, weights

4.2.2 Use of surrogates

  • Microfilm
  • Microfiche
  • Paper copies

4.2.3 Correct storage

Storage facilities comply with;

BS 4971:2017 Conservation and care of archival and library collections.

4.2.4 Correct packaging

All packaging materials are of archival quality.

4.2.5 Accession

All materials deposited to Gwynedd Archives Service is assessed for preservation and conservation needs

4.3 Conservation

Gwynedd Archives Service has an in-house conservation unit that conducts conservation work internally for the service and externally for other bodies or individuals

4.3.1 Conservation standards

All Conservation work that is carried out at Gwynedd Archives Service complies with:

BS 4971:2017 Conservation and care of archival and library collections.

4.3.2 Ethical Guidelines

The conservation treatments carried out atGwynedd Archives Service complies with:

The principles stated within the Statement of Conservation Principles for the Cultural Heritage of Wales

The Institute of Conservation (Icon) Professional Standards & Judgement & Ethics 2020.

Icon Ethical Guidance 2020.

European Confederation of Conservators-Restorer’s Organisations (ECCO) Code of Ethics 2002?

Archives & Records Association Best Practice Guideline Preservation and Conservation (2014).

4.3.3 Documentation

Prior to any conservation work being conducted a condition report is carried out. If conservation treatment is needed then all works are recorded within the conservation report. All work carried out is done with minimal intervention, and complies with:

BS EN 16095:2012 Condition recording for movable cultural heritage.

4.3.4 Training

Participation in relevant training events, meetings, forums and conferences to keep up to date with the latest developments in the conservation field.  In house training is provided on:

  • Document handling
  • Cleaning and Packing
  • Surveying collection
  • Integrated Pest management (IPM)
  • Disaster response
  • Environmental monitoring

Conservation officer is an Accredited member of Icon (ACR) or working towards accreditation. Upon accreditation a CPD review must be completed every 2 years to maintain the accreditation status.

4.3.5 Conservation techniques

All conservation techniques comply with:

Icon Professional Standards and Judgement & Ethics 2020.

Icon Ethical Guidance 2020.

BS 4971:2017 Conservation and care of archival and library collections.

BS EN 16853:2017 Conservation of cultural heritage. Conservation process. Decision making, planning and implementation.


5. Environmental monitoring

The storage environment is monitored daily using a LoRa system which is calibrated annually. The data is securely stored, and the data gathered is used to control the environment within appropriate parameters as set out in the standards below.

The archive environment complies with;

BS 4971:2017 Conservation and care of archival and library collections.

BS EN 16242:2012 Conservation of cultural heritage – Procedures and instruments for measuring humidity in the air and moisture exchange between air and cultural property.


6. Storage

The storage facility complies with;

BS 4971:2017 Conservation and care of archival and library collections.


7. Pest Management

7.1 Prevention

All new material is inspected for signs of pest upon receipt and treated accordingly.

We adhere to standards set in BS EN 16790:2016 Conservation of cultural heritage – Integrated pest management (IPM) for protection of cultural heritage.

7.1.1 Environmental management

Adhered to standards set in BS 4971:2017 Conservation and care of archival and library collections.

7.1.2 Surveillance

Staff members are trained to look out for evidence of pest infestations with in a document and its environment. Insect traps are used and checked on a monthly basis.

7.1.3 Cleaning

The archive is cleaned on a daily basis. The strong rooms are cleaned on a rotational pattern, by trained members of staff.


8. Emergency planning

8.1 Disaster plan

Gwynedd Archives Service maintains and updates a comprehensive disaster plan that is carried out by selected members of the disaster planning team.

8.2 Disaster planning training

Training is carried out by staff of Gwynedd Archives Service on implementation of the disaster plan annually.

8.3 Actively preventing disasters. 

Risk assessments are annually carried out to prevent disasters.

Gwynedd Archives Service has a subscription with Harwell Document Restoration Service.


9. Loans and Exhibitions

9.1 External

Items can be loaned to external organizations and bodies providing that the correct procedures are followed

9.1.1 Procedures

  • Full and detailed condition report is to be carried out before and after
  • Loan agreement

9.1.2 Packaging, Handling, Display supports and environmental monitoring.

All of the above must comply with;

BS 4971:2017 Conservation and care of archival and library collections.

BS EN 16648:2015 Conservation of cultural heritage – Transport methods.

BS EN 15946:2011 Conservation of cultural heritage – Packing principles for transport.

9.1.3 Support

Advice on the above can be provided

9.1.4 Insurance

Host organization or body to provide relevant documentation.

9.1.5 Reproduction for publicity

Assessed on individual case

9.2 Internal

All exhibitions held on premises comply with

BS 4971:2017 Conservation and care of archival and library collections.


10. Access

10.1 Surrogate items

Surrogate items are provided where the original is at risk of over use or are not fit for production

10.2 Handling

Advice is given to the reader on handling any document and various archival supports are used.


11. Roles and responsibilities

The activities stated in this policy are carried out by relevant appointed staff, the annual Preservation and Conservation Plan and the Conservator’s annual work plan underpin this policy.