NATIONAL MANUSCRIPTS CONSERVATION TRUST

In June 2014, we awarded £20,000 to the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust towards the conservation of manuscripts and development of conservation skills in the UK.

The National Manuscripts Conservation Trust (NMCT) exists to support the conservation of manuscripts in the UK; it is the only Trust in the UK that has this as its sole focus. National and regional archives and libraries struggled to make sufficient provision for conservation of their collections from their main budgets even before the budget cuts of recent years. Many institutions now lack any conservation budget and can only undertake conservation on their collections if it is funded by grants.

The Trust’s grants have enabled the conservation of thousands of musical, literary, architectural and other vital historical documents. Collections that would otherwise have been lost or faced an uncertain future, are now available for study, research and display.

Key achievements

  • The grant was used to support the conservation of the Bodleian Library’s ‘Complaint of Mars’, by Geoffrey Chaucer. This provided a training opportunity for an early career book conservator to work alongside a senior conservator and develop new skills. This was an excellent project to increase the trainee’s experience and skills in this specialist field.
  • The trust was able to award a major grant to Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archives for the conservation of the Minton Archive. This enabled the establishment of a 1-yr contract for a newly qualified conservator. The volumes conserved were the earliest and most iconic pattern books in the collection.
  • Greater emphasis was given to training in the trust’s grant giving, providing a more significant and long-term impact than ‘simply’ enabling NMCT to support these two important projects.

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