Conservation at PRONI
The aim of the conservation unit is to preserve the archives in their original form for as long as possible. Conservation work involves cleaning, repairing damage and sometimes, chemically treating documents to slow down deterioration.
Conservation staff treat the full range of archives held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) which includes paper and parchment manuscripts, maps and plans, prints, drawings, photographs, volumes and seals. Conservation treatments are intrusive by nature and conservators only carry out those treatments which are absolutely necessary.
The conservators also have responsibility for disaster planning and preventative preservation functions which cover all aspects of collection care.
The conservation unit works closely with all other sections in PRONI to make sure that preservation standards are maintained by all staff and visitors.
PRONI is committed to developing an understanding of the nature and needs of their collections and to develop a conservation strategy that aims to help it to achieve it's purpose of “preserving public records appertaining to Northern Ireland” (Public Records Act (NI) 1923).
The strategic aims of the conservation unit are:
- To understand the preservation needs of the collections. This involves assessing the nature of their collections and materials within them, providing the necessary environmental conditions, suitable storage and handling climates that are sustainable.
- To provide resources to meet it's preservation objectives. PRONI is committed to seeking and maintaining the necessary resources to allow it to carry out it's strategy, including the long-term growth of collections and variety of formats.
- To define and prioritize the actions and measures necessary to protect and preserve collections and items in storage and in use. PRONI will continue to embed accepted preservation practices into the day to day work of all staff at PRONI.