Antique Furniture Museums

By John Tope

Museums follow one or a combination of several philosophies depending on the condition of the antique:

Museums sometimes have a different point of view than collectors or owners of family heirlooms when it comes to the conservation and restoration of antique furniture.

1).  Leave it alone and do nothing.  It is the way it is, for all its’ imperfections and deteriorations.

The problem with this philosophy is that the object will likely continue to deteriorate.  Museums in these instances strive to create a perfect stabilized environment for preventing such deterioration.  They can be environmentally controlled encasements.  This can be very costly and sometimes impractical.  It is especially impractical when these objects are in your home subject to all forms of environmental hazards.  Regardless of any philosophy, stabilizing the environment should always be a part of any preservation plan.

2).  Conservation is taking minimally invasive steps to prevent further deterioration.  These include dusting, cleaning, treatments, climate control, proper lighting and other environmental controls to prevent things as pests, mold and fungus.  

3).  Restoration is make necessary and restorative repairs.  These include repairs to the structure, non-structural parts, repairs to the coating or finish which is necessary to continue protecting the wood.  Applying protectants to the existing finish is to help prevent the negative effects of environmental factors.