Our portfolio

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.

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.

Treatment profiles

  • 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.

    Read the full article

    Blaeu map crating

    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?

    Read the full article

    Rembrandt in lab

    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.

    Read the full article

    Book of Remembrance

    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).

    Read the full article

    Ramsay analysis

    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.

    Read the full article

    Warman Arts Centre Chairman Gabriel NodeaWarmun Art Centre Chairman Gabriel Nodea working on a restoration outside the Warmun Art Centre. Picture: University of Melbourne.

  • LIVING HERITAGE GRANTS PROGRAM: 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.

    Victoria State Government logo

    Project Update 1: October 2021    

    Project Update 2: November 2021

    Project Update 3: December 2021

    Project Update 4: March 2022        

    Project Update 5: May 2022            

    Project Update 6: June 2022          

    Loong Conservation Project Grimwade conservators, students and Bendigo Chinese Association volunteers cleaning Loong onsite in the Golden Dragon Museum in December 2021. Picture: Supplied.

  • LIVING HERITAGE GRANTS PROGRAM: 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.

    Victoria State Government logo

    Project Update 1: February 2022

    Project Update 2: March 2022      

    Project Update 3: May 2022          

    BMI collection review

    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.

Before and after treatment

  • Painting repair

    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.

    Painting BTPainting AT

  • Stain reduction

    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.

    Before treatmentAfter treatment

  • Surface repair

    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.

    Globe BTGlobe after treatment

  • Paint removal

    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.

    Honour board BTHonour Board AT

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 ptripp@unimelb.edu.au.

    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.

    Visit the exhibition

Conservation training

  • 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.

    Shoe rehousingWashing

    Blotting Pinning

    Repairs Shoes

    2021 AMAGA Awards banner

  • Work Integrated Learning opportunities

    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.

    Dr Reyhane Mirabootalebi 2022

    Grimwade conservator Dr Reyhane Mirabootalebi demonstrating a conservation treatment process to students onsite in the Golden Dragon Museum in March 2022. Picture: Paul Burston.

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