Metal conservation

With the incorporation of the former Museum für Deutsche Geschichte (MfDG), the collection of the Deutsches Historisches Museum is founded on the inventory of the old Armoury (Zeughaus) and thus is based on a military-historical collection.  However, a historical museum includes many diverse areas. Military equipment from the Middle Ages to the present, everyday objects, arts and crafts and technical objects from the industrial sector: metal is found in all of these objects.  Whether in splendorous armour, bullets, arms, coins, refrigerators or garden spades, the far-ranging variety of uses of metal quickly reveals the influence this has on the area of activities of metal restorers and the objects they have to deal with.

The exponents and their deep-rootedness in historical events have a strong influence on the decision about whether an object is to be restored and if so, what is to be undertaken. A hole in a steel helmet caused by a bullet, whereby the wearer was injured or killed, would certainly not be repaired, so that the helmet retains its historical significance.

Because of the mixture of materials in an object, the metal restorer often works together with other conservation workshops. The montages for the exhibition of an object offer a particular challenge. For example, the metal restoration department in the Deutsches Historisches Museum developed special mobile internal supports for the life-like presentation of medieval armoury “in motion” and continues to devise new display techniques.