Conservation

Conservation is a field of study dedicated to preserving cultural heritage for future generations. Our conservators play a vital role in caring for our more than 60,000 objects from turbo jets to leather jackets. As trained professionals, they use their specialized knowledge and skills in the arts, science, and other fields of study to stabilize artifacts and, if needed, reintegrate the appearance of deteriorated objects. Our conservators also monitor and help maintain the most stable environment for our artifacts, provide guidelines for objects on display and on loan, and assist with large artifact restoration projects. They strive to honor the history and integrity of technological achievements and perform scientific research to understand the composition of cultural materials, and to evaluate the success of treatments.

  • Conserving Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

    Lisa Young, objects conservator at the Museum, works on Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit in the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory.

  • Treating an Apollo Artifact

    Jacqueline Riddle, a Museum conservation intern, removes an Apollo medical instrumentation harness from a polystyrene board with a scalpel during treatment.

  • Interns at the National Air and Space Museum
    Interns Michael Perekrestov and John Holman perform conservation work on Charles Lindbergh's sled taken on his polar expedition at the Paul E. Garber Restoration and Storage Facility, summer 2010.
  • Flak-Bait in Conservation

    Conservator Sharon Norquest works on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait" in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar.

  • Armstrong's Spacesuit Prepped for CT

    Staff prepare Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit for a CT scan. 

  • Collections Staff
    In the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, Lauren Horelick, Lisa Young, and Stephanie Spence (left to right) clean a fuel tank from the airship Norge, which made the first crossing of the Arctic Ocean in 1926. 
  • Conservator at the National Air and Space Museum

    Chief Conservator Malcolm Collum mixes a special adhesive in the conservation lab at the Paul E. Garber Facility. When dealing with different materials and forms of decay, conservators need to work with a variety of chemicals to make specialized repairs.

  • Conservation at the National Air and Space Museum Garber Facility

    Conservator Malcolm Collum discusses fabric samples for the German night fighter, Heinkel 219 with preservation specialist David Wilson.

  • Restoration
    Specialists working under the Collections Care and Preservation Fund grant conduct conservation assessment surveys on small objects from the Museum's collection at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland, Maryland.