Grimwade Conservation Services is committed to delivering premier conservation treatment, informed by current and best-practice research, techniques and materials.
Restoring Joan Blaeu’s Archipelagus Orientalis, sive Asiaticus, 1663
Over 1.5 metres wide, the Blaeu map is the first large-scale map of New Holland, and one of only four complete copies known to exist. It is the earliest large-scale map of Abel Tasman's discoveries, and is regarded as the first wall map of Australia. National Library of Australia Collection. Video: Paul Burston.
Conserving the oldest intact processional dragon in the world
The Loong Conservation Project is supported by the Victorian Government through the Living Heritage Grants Program. The Grimwade Conservation Services team and students worked in partnership with the Bendigo Chinese Association to complete conservation work. Video: Paul Burston.
Conserving rare and fragile botanical specimens
Supported by the Victorian Government through the Living Heritage Grants Program, this is the story of the conservation of Baron Ferdinand von Mueller’s Education Collections of Australia Plants comprising 220 rare and fragile botanical specimens in the Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute collection. Video: Paul Burston.
Restoring one of the world's rarest maps
Over 350 years ago, Dutch traders produced the first large-scale map of Australia, now it has been painstakingly restored.
Grimwade Conservation Services team prepare the Blaeu map for its return to the National Library of Australia. Picture: Supplied.
Faithfully conserving a Rembrandt
The Three Crosses is Rembrandt’s powerful depiction of Christ’s crucifixion – but how do you stabilise a 350-year-old print for exhibition while preserving the qualities which make it distinct?
Conservator Christine Mizzi prepares the print at Grimwade Conservation Services. Picture: Paul Burston, University of Melbourne.
Bringing a fire damaged book from the brink
A new approach to restoring parchment has saved a WW1 Book of Remembrance commemorating local fallen soldiers that was badly damaged by fire and water.
Detail of The Book of Remembrance, a handwritten memorial to the men of the 58th Battalion Australian Imperial Force (AIF), most of whom died at the WW1 Battle of Fromelle. Picture: Supplied.
Cleaning, filling and inpainting a Ramsay
In late 2019 the painting conservation team, led by Senior Paintings Conservator Cushla Hill, worked to restore a small oil painting by influential Australian artist Hugh Ramsay (1877-1906).
Senior Paintings Conservator Cushla Hill inspects the painting by Hugh Ramsay. Picture: University of Melbourne.
Conserving Australia's cultural record
The partnership between the Warmun Art Centre and the Grimwade Centre is based on the mutual understanding that together we can do much more for our two communities than working separately.
Warmun Art Centre Chairman Gabriel Nodea working on a restoration outside the Warmun Art Centre. Picture: University of Melbourne.
Conserving a processional dragon
In 2021 the Grimwade team began the journey of working with the Golden Dragon Museum and the Bendigo Chinese Association to conserve Loong, the oldest surviving processional dragon in the world.
The Loong, Chinese Dragon Conservation Project is supported by the Victorian Government through the Living Heritage Grants Program.
Grimwade conservators, students and Bendigo Chinese Association volunteers cleaning Loong onsite in the Golden Dragon Museum in December 2021. Picture: Penny Tripp.
Golden Dragon Museum wins the 2022 AMaGA Small Organisation Award for the Loong Conservation Project on 4 October 2022. Bendigo Chinese Association Chairman Doug Lougoon and Golden Dragon Museum Collection Manager Megan Hall pictured accepting the award. Picture: Simon Peter Fox Photography.
Conserving Ballarat's historical records
Working with community to conserve valuable and rare books, botanical specimens and a fragile 19th century painting in need.
The Ballaarat Mechanics Institute Conservation Project is supported by the Victorian Government through the Living Heritage Grants Program.
Image L-R: Conservator Camielle Fitzmaurice, BMI Heritage Library long-term staff member Rex Bridges, and student intern conservators Sunita Lewis, Monica Connors and Eleanor Zeitz assessing the condition of the Von Muller herbaria, November 2021. Picture: Supplied.
Conserving items from Tatura's WW2 Prisoner of War Internment Camps
Working with Tatura and District Historic Society to conserve significant items from their WW2 Prisoner of War Internment Camp Collection.
The Tatura Museum Conservation Project is supported by the Victorian Government through the Living Heritage Grants Program.
Image: Textile Conservator Larry Edwards with hanging garments at Tatura Irrigation and Wartime Camps Museum, August 2023. Picture: Supplied.
Before and after treatment
This work was in a degraded condition, with two large tears, dirt across the surface, and a degraded, darkened varnish covering the painting. The painting was cleaned and the discoloured varnish removed. The tears were repaired using a thread-by-thread mending technique. A conservation-grade varnish was applied, and the losses filled and inpainted to match the original surrounding paint layer.
In this drawing, the most obvious damage was the dark yellow stains. The paper was washed using specialist techniques and solutions to reduce the staining. Final treatment steps involved humidifying and pressing the drawing, then rehousing it in a 100% cotton rag mount board.
This large Colossus Globe was severely discoloured, due to degradation of the natural resin varnish layer. There was some cracking and losses of both the plaster globe and paper map. The loose elements were secured. The discoloured varnish was removed and the surface cleaned. Areas of loss were filled and losses were inpainted, followed by a final spray-coating of varnish.
This large Honour Roll had been splashed with off white oil paint. Removal of the white paint was undertaken using a solvent gel. This enabled removal of the white paint without affecting the underlying gold lettering. Removal of the old varnish layer was undertaken with organic solvents. Revarnishing and selective retouching in areas of loss were undertaken.
Current research projects
Conservation Workflow Project
The Conservation Workflow Project was initiated in June 2021 to explore best-practice conservation workflow management systems for large organisations with collections of cultural material.
At present, processes for managing conservation workflow in organisations are largely manual and not integrated with digital collection management systems. Nationally and internationally, there is a substantial research gap in terms of benchmarking solutions to this problem. Drawing on data from interviews with key stakeholders, conservation workflow management systems at different organisations will be reviewed. The findings will have relevance to collections at the University of Melbourne, as well as the wider conservation industry and collecting organisations.
For further information, please contact our lead project manager Penny Tripp by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project has been generously supported by the Russell and Mab Grimwade (Miegunyah) Fund.
Didar: Stories of Middle Eastern Manuscripts
Didar is a research-led exhibition which follows the journey of the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Material Conservation’s work with the University of Melbourne’s rich Middle Eastern Manuscript Collection. Through the eyes of the conservator history and science blend together to uncover incredible stories. Through their examination of leather, paper, script, ink and illuminations we gain information about the artistic practice, social motivations and the composition of materials.
Over a period of 5 months, Grimwade Conservation Services has worked with three PhD students, Arts alumni, current students, and community leaders to develop a unique student research-led exhibition. The exhibition showcases the Grimwade Centre research and conservation knowledge and demonstrates avenues for collaborative work across the Faculty of Arts and the wider University community.
The exhibition is open for the duration of 2022 and is supported by a dynamic program of public events and workshops aimed at bringing the collection to life and engaging the community.
Work Integrated Learning
Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is an umbrella term used to describe learning experiences which integrate academic theory with authentic work experience.
Our team provide a range of opportunities throughout the year for students of the Masters of Cultural Materials Conservation course to work alongside professional conservators on community projects.
More information on current and past student projects can be found here.
Grimwade conservator Dr Reyhane Mirabootalebi demonstrating a conservation treatment process to students onsite in the Golden Dragon Museum in March 2022. Picture: Paul Burston.
Professional Development Learning
The Grimwade team provide professional learning opportunities for conservators, collection custodians and community members to extend their practical experience through a range of masterclasses, immersive experiences and workshops.
More information on our professional learning experiences can be found here.
SHOWCASE: National Trust of Australia
Our team of professional textile conservators worked onsite with the National Trust of Australia's Edwardian costume collection to train over 17 student conservators and National Trust collection staff and volunteers in a range of technical skills over a period of 10 days. CostumeLAB was a joint initiative of the University of Melbourne and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). In 2021 the project was awarded a Highly Commended at the Victorian Museums and Galleries Awards for dynamic programming and the promotion of conservation.
CostumeLAB was supported by The Copland Foundation and the Vera Moore Foundation.
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