Collection conservation management plans

Collection Conservation Management Plans (CCMPs) provide collection significance assessments, documentation reviews and costed collection conservation and care advice.  CCMPs focus on collections, and form part of an over-arching Conservation Management Plan, covering all aspects of the museum's or other heritage organisation's function and development. 

Collections Conservation Management Plans are often required from museums and other heritage organisations that wish to upgrade their facilities and services with financial support from sources such as the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

The Studio's lead partner for CCMPs is Will Murray; we are also able to work in partnership with preventive conservation specialist Wilma Bouwmeester of Sustainable Heritage Conservation.

The Scottish Conservation Studio, working with a variety of partners, has provided CCMPs to the following clients:

  • The David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre
  • Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries, for Fife Council
  • Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott's home, for the Abbotsford Trust
  • The Highlanders Regimental Museum, Fort George
  • Tullie House Museum, Carlisle, for Cumbria Museums
  • Museum nan Eilean, Stornoway, for Western Isles Council
  • The Gordon Highlanders Regimental Museum, Aberdeen
  • Leadhills Miners Library, Leadhills, South Lanarkshire
  • The Scottish National Mining Museum, Newtongrange

Conservation of the collection in Sir Walter Scott's Abbotsford

Abbotsford, near Melrose in the Scottish Borders, is the house that Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), one of Scotland’s greatest writers, built in several stages towards the end of his life.  In the house he gathered a large library, furniture, arms, armour, relics and curiosities, many of which were connected to Scottish history.  The last of Scott’s direct descendants to inhabit Abbotsford, his great-great-great-granddaughters Patricia and Jean Maxwell-Scott, died in 2004.   They had turned the house into a successful tourist attraction after they had to rely on visitors to pay for the upkeep of the house.   

In 2007 The Abbotsford Trust was established to safeguard Abbotsford’s future.  The building and its collection needed conservation and development work.  The work on the Abbotsford collection involved its conservation and the creation of a long-term preservation plan.  The Trust secured a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the Abbotsford restoration and conservation project.   

In 2014 the Abbotsford conservation project won the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/ Europa Nostra Award.  The award rewards excellence, high standards and high-quality skills in cultural heritage conservation. 

Planning and management of the Abbotsford collection conservation

We planned and managed the conservation of the Abbotsford collection in collaboration with Sustainable Heritage Conservation.  All the objects in Abbotsford were catalogued before the conservation project.  As the project developed, Abbotsford Trust employed a project conservator for its day-to-day management. Sustainable Heritage Conservation led in the survey of the environmental conditions of the house.  To minimise future damage and deterioration of the collection the survey also recommended improvements in the care of the collection with regards to day-to-day housekeeping, pest management and control, collection storage, display and handling, disaster preparedness, fire protection and security. 

We commissioned a range of specialist conservators to supplement our own specialisms to assist with the survey of the Abbotsford collection condition.  The collection includes books, paintings, furniture, stained glass, art on paper, wall-paper, arms and armour, and textiles.  The surveys involved site visits to assess the collection and to prioritise and cost recommendations.  These allowed detailed project planning and budgeting.  They led to the conservation of some of the damaged objects before they were returned for display in the house.  LDN Architects led on the restoration and upgrading of the building and its services.  They also designed a new visitor centre, which incorporates introductory exhibition displays and visitor facilities including a café, a shop and a car park. 

13500 objects were packed and moved from Abbotsford to enable the restoration of the building.  A high-quality storage unit with secure access was hired for the duration of the project.  The store was fitted with racking and provided with environmental and pest monitoring.  The £14.5m project took seven years and was completed on time and to budget. 

Some examples of our work on the Abbotsford textiles can be seen at 'Cleaning Sir Walter Scott's garments' and 'Thinking on one's feet - packing armour in Abbotsford for temporary storage'.  The work carried out at Abbotsford on the Chinese wallpaper can be seen at 'Conserving Chinese wallpaper at Abbotsford'.

Abbotsford viewed from the walled garden.
Sarah Gerrish Conservation and specialist joiner Gary Smith packing the desk from Walter Scott’s study in a protective case for transport and temporary storage.
Packing Walter Scott's top hat for safe temporary storage.
Packing 17th century armour for safe temporary storage in Abbotsford.