Textile conservation

The various duties within textile conservation are determined by the widely diverse collections – from uniforms, clothing, and accessories to large format objects like tapestries and flags, as well as equipment and technical objects from the industrial sector. 

The conservation of a textile, a particularly fragile object, generally requires a great deal of time. Clothing is an example of the fact that it is not merely a single dimension that determines the conservation and further measures of a restoration, but equally the "interior", "exterior" and "in between" as a complex three-dimensional framework.

Costumes can be put together out of a great number of individual parts. Questions can arise such as: How did the garment originally fit? What about the figure of the wearer? In individual cases the underlying structure of the fabric could have deteriorated to such a degree that stability can only be achieved inserting supporting materials.

Gentle protective measures therefore play an important role in the presentation of all textiles. Particular attention must therefore be given to the presentation techniques developed in the restoration workshop for objects that require a great deal of time and technical effort for their highly complicated installation.

All organic materials are sources of food for a variety of pests, which have to be isolated from the objects, be it in storage areas or in exhibitions. Particular attention to “Integrated Pest Management” in the textile collection must be taken into account. Earlier pest control measures and the pollutants found in the textile objects in this context can be dangerous to health. This area of conservation requires research into the harmful chemical substances used in previous treatments on the textiles and in dealing with their removal.