A museum isn’t just a big display case, it’s a workshop too. A lot of the objects in our collections are old, fragile or damaged when they first arrive. Our job is to preserve them as best we can, sometimes even improve them, so they can be exhibited, studied, interpreted and enjoyed. As you will see, this isn’t always easy. Some exhibits are simply beyond repair. Others have been mistreated or neglected. And some are so unusual or rare that knowing how to treat them is a challenge in itself. And then there’s the question of whether to repair something at all – perhaps the damage or the missing parts tell their own story, every bit as important as an object in “perfect” condition. The museum conservator’s role is to balance all these considerations and stay true to the purpose of the collection or exhibition.