Preservation and Restoration

Our collections specialists actively work on the preservation, restoration, and long-term care of the objects in our collection. From full-scale restoration projects to applying preservation techniques and doing regular assessments, these activities form a crucial part of our stewardship of the National Collection.

The most visible of these activities include the projects currently on view in our Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. Visitors can watch as our preservation and restoration specialists prepare large aircraft and space objects for eventual display. 

Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver

Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar 
Curious about restoration? From a glassed-in mezzanine, visitors can view behind-the-scenes work previously unseen by the public.

The Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar is spacious enough to accommodate several large artifact restoration and preservation projects at one time. The facility gives our collections specialists the room and equipment required to reconstruct, repair, and preserve artifacts.

Find out more about the projects currently underway in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar. 

Conserving Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory
Conservation is a vital part of caring for the National Collection. The Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory is where our conservators devise innovative treatment plans, offer guidance on storage and exhibition conditions, and determine the best possible ways to preserve artifacts for future generations. 

Inside the Conservation Lab: See what our team of conservators and experts work on in the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory.

Inside Conservation

Lesson on Moving Artifacts

Collections Processing Unit
The Collections Processing Unit serves as the entry point for objects and archival collections. A dedicated loading dock and specially designed secure area is staffed by specialists who perform initial inspection and analysis of artifacts and perform other tasks such as cleaning; assembly and disassembly; wrapping and protecting; and preserving artifacts. 

Langley Box Wing

Collections Storage Facility
The sheer size, scope, and historic significance of our collection require a unique combination of ample space, state-of-the-art equipment, and sophisticated environmental controls. This two-level facility is equipped to store objects made from such diverse materials as metal, paper, leather, rubber, and even wolf fur used in the Arctic.

Compact shelving and special storage units allow the collections management team to maximize this space, accommodating objects that range in size from commemorative medals to large power plants when they are not in a public display space.