‘NanoStar’, a benchtop X-ray diffraction instrument that can obtain structural information from the collagen in parchment

The conservation research programme is carried out within the framework of The National Archives' research strategy and contributes to the overall aim of sustainable stewardship of the collection.

Research strategy (PDF, 0.05Mb)

Our primary aim is to deliver practical outcomes that will lead to a better understanding of how to preserve the UK's archival heritage, within the context of a national research agenda. These outcomes feed into collection care policies.

We aim to challenge accepted conservation practices by examining the evidence base. Wherever possible, our conservators and conservation technicians undertake research collaboratively with preservation specialists and conservation scientists to decide on the most appropriate conservation treatments.

You can download our Conservation research strategy below:

Conservation research strategy (PDF, 0.04Mb)

Managing material change

Our research programme helps us predict the long-term stability of The National Archives' holdings by increasing understanding of:

  • the materials used to create records 
  • degradation processes 
  • the steps required to mitigate deterioration 
  • the relationship of materials to the environment in which they are stored and handled

Current research projects

Find out more in the pages on the left about our current research projects to address the degradation process and ensure appropriate environmental conditions for materials.

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