A man cleaning a large wooden cart.

With the closing of one exhibition comes the opening of another, and our helpful team of dedicated Conservation volunteers have been keeping themselves extremely busy with caring for the objects involved in the changeover at Leeds City Museum. Conservator Emma Bowron tells us more about what exactly this entails. 

The volunteers’ tasks are always varied, but this time they are helping to get objects ready to go on display at the City Museum.  As ‘In Their Footsteps’ draws to a close we have started getting ready for the next exhibition, ‘For All Seasons’.

Although this exhibition is not opening until February, we have to plan well in advance.  The Christmas and New Year period is always a busy time for Conservation at the Discovery Centre and all the help we can get is appreciated. We have a number of exhibition changeovers just before and after Christmas so this year the volunteers are helping out.


A man sits cleaning a a small sign for 'Trixie Umbrellas', which shows a young girl sitting on the ground under a propped up umbrella.

One of our Conservation volunteers cleaning a sign for ‘Trixie Umbrellas’, ready for the ‘For All Seasons’ exhibition at Leeds City Museum.


After Emma, our Conservator, has condition checked the items a plan of cleaning and getting them ready for display can be undertaken.  The volunteers help out with general cleaning and surface dirt removal – not a glamorous job, but one that takes a steady hand and lots of patience! We even make our own cotton wool swabs.

As you can see the volunteers clean anything from the small to the very large.  The beautifully cleaned hand cart can currently be seen in the City Museum Shop.


A man cleaning a large wooden cart.

Our conservation volunteer cleaning a Hand Cart from our collection.



The Conservation Volunteers come to the Discovery Centre twice a month to help out for the day.  They are supervised by our conservator and will tackle most things put in front of them – although they do like variety!

If you come for a behind the scenes tour of the Discovery Centre you can see some of the projects that the volunteers have worked on over the years. There are the ceramic display cabinets and a vast array of different type writers down one of the aisles.  When you have over 1 million objects there is always something to be done…

By Emma Bowron, Conservator, Leeds Discovery Centre.

See the ‘For All Seasons’ exhibition at Leeds City Museum from the 10 February – 28 August 2017.

Tour the Leeds Discovery Centre artefact store on Thursdays at 11 and 2pm.

Visit our volunteering page to find out more about volunteering for Leeds Museums and Galleries.