The Preservation Department at Odense City Museums deals with assignments within the fields of furniture, graphic art and culture-historical conservation. At present, it has five permanent-staff conservators, but for special assignments that lie outside its areas of expertise, further staff are occasionally appointed, e.g. whose special areas lie within painting and sculpture conservation.
The conservators seek to protect the many artefacts in the Odense City Museums collections against various kinds of decomposition. Odense City Museums has a highly varied collection of artefacts, ranging from large agricultural ploughs to Hans Christian Andersen's fine papercuts and manuscripts of his fairytales. A small section of the museum's collections are on display, while the rest is in storage. All artefacts, prior to being exhibited or stored, have been through the conservator's hands.
The work of the conservator is highly diversified. One day, he works as a 'removal man' or 'warehouse manager'. The next, his work may be a sitting-down job at a microscope - something that calls for great dexterity and concentration. Often, new conservation methods have to be developed for the wide-ranging artefacts, as there is no ultimate recipe book for conservation. In addition, the conservator works on analysis of materials and database registration as well as packing, assembling and handling objects in connection with exhibitions and as a courier. Furthermore, the Preservation Department collaborates closely with the specialist curators within archaeology, art and history, whom we advise and guide whilst also gaining professional input from them. Particularly when assembling and taking down exhibitions, much cross-department cooperation takes place.