Heritage Conservation Centre

Physical Damage

Artefacts are most prone to physical damage when they are not handled, displayed or stored properly. The resultant physical damage may not be beyond repair but necessary conservation or restoration expertise is often costly and difficult to find.


You should:

  • Secure artefacts on display by using padding, wedges or shims to support uneven bases.
  • Avoid using power tools near artefacts as excessive vibrations may cause artefacts to tip over or weaken vulnerable areas.
  • Use both hands to hold and carry the artefact from its sturdiest part, usually supported from underneath.
  • Ensure that ample help is available when a heavy artefact needs to be moved. Never slide the heavy artefact across the ground as it may get abraded or chipped. Use a trolley when necessary.
  • Adequately pack an artefact with acid free tissue and bubble wrap when it needs to be transported from one location to another.
  • Avoid passing an artefact over to another person directly. Always put the artefact down on a stable surface before allowing another person to pick it up.
  • Have good quality mounting and sturdy framing for your treasured painting as this will help to protect the artwork during handling.
  • Attach light-weight backing boards to the back of paintings for additional protection.
  • Resist the temptation to attempt do-it-yourself restoration. This can often result in further damage to the artefact.