FAQs

Here you will find a list of frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t covered here please get in touch. Just use the contact tab to send an enquiry and we will get back to you.


Who are we?

We are a group of professional, friendly and experienced conservators who provide the best possible service at the most affordable price. We are passionate about our job, flexible and extremely reliable. Alongside conservation treatments, we will also provide advice on how to best care for your objects.


 

What is conservation?

All artefacts deteriorate over time due to the natural breakdown of materials but this damage can also be accelerated by UV, temperature fluctuations, humidity changes and physical damage.

Restoration focuses on the improvement of aesthetic appearance, sometimes through the use of replacement materials. In comparison, conservation focuses on the long-term stability of a specimen by managing change. Conservators aim to preserve the authenticity of every artefact and specimen, by using reversible and conservation-grade materials as well as documenting all treatment processes.


 

What can we do for museum collections?

  • Condition surveys
  • Condition reports
  • Conservation strategies
  • Individual conservation treatments
  • Storage assessments, recommendations and bespoke housing
  • Conservation training – handling, packaging, collections care, Integrated Pest Management

 

What can we do for individuals?

  • Condition assessments
  • Conservation treatments
  • Bespoke storage and mounts.

 

How much do services cost?

Charges are calculated on an individual basis. Please complete the enquiry form with as much information as possible. We can then provide a free no-obligation initial estimate for conservation services and will happily discuss staged approaches to larger scale projects. Our services are thoroughly documented and include condition assessments, treatment reports and project evaluations.

We do not provide an identification or valuation service. We do not provide taxidermy preparation or mounting services.


 

Where do we work?

We are based in London but we are able to travel across the country to work with different collections and collectors.

We will bring our expertise and equipment to you, with treatments and projects completed on site where possible. If you are a public collection we can also combine our work with visitor engagement or outreach activities as we are always happy to talk about our work. Work space required will vary for each project and can be discussed in advance.


 

Is there anything we won't work on?

We abide by the ICOM Code of Ethics, ICON professional standards and CITES legal requirements, and as such will not examine or work on materials that have been:

  • illegally obtained in, or exported from its country of origin or any intermediate country in which it might have been owned legally.
  • collected, sold, or otherwise transferred in contravention of local, national, regional or international law or treaty relating to wildlife protection or natural history conservation.
  • recovered by unauthorised or unscientific fieldwork, or intentional destruction or damage of monuments, archaeological or geological sites, or of species and natural habitats.
  • acquired from an occupied territory or without respect for all laws and conventions that regulate the import, export and transfer of cultural or natural materials.

Further information on taxidermy law can be found on the Taxidermy Law and Natural England websites.


 

Why are you called The Elephant in the Room?

We came up with the idea of forming our collective while working at the Natural History Museum in London. Inspired by our treatment of various large specimens including a tiger, a stegosaurus and a bear, we considered a lot of animal-based puns. We like a pun. The Elephant in the Room, however, is more than just a pun.

Conservation has traditionally been the more hidden aspect of collections care and could be described as the elephant in the room. People may notice signs of damage to an object – evidence of pest activity, cracks appearing in the structure of a specimen, build-up of dust and surface pollution – but are unsure how to react, who to contact, or how much it will cost.

The quicker condition issues can be identified and expertise sought, the better for object longevity and collections as a whole. A well made mount or storage box, a sensitive surface clean or some remedial conservation can save a great deal of expense and help preserve your object for the future.   

Have a project for us?
We love to talk about what we do so please drop us a line via email, our contact form or our project enquiry form.

Project enquiry
ElephantFAQs