Welcome to the conservation department at the Royal Armouries Museum

The Royal Armouries collection comprises approximately 75,000 objects, covering a complete range of arms, armour and related material, including guns, swords, armour, artillery, and polearms. The maintenance and preservation of these objects is a critical role within the museum. Dr Lauren McGhee, Conservator for the museum,  tells us a little more about some recent changes to the conservation laboratory in Leeds, and the important work carried out there. Preserving our collection The preservation of the collection is one of theRead more

A Kalashnikov from Vietnam

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this month’s blog, Jonathan Ferguson, Interim Keeper of Firearms & Artillery, uncovers an interesting history behind this AK-47.  The Avtomat Kalashnikova or AK (strictly speaking, ‘AK-47’ was just a prototype) and its variants are found today in every active conflict zone. It is arguably the most important firearm in the world, taking the place of the Mauser bolt-action rifle. It is certainly theRead more

Behind the scenes at the Leeds museum

Museum Maintenance Week 16 – 22 January Throughout Maintenance Week, our Museum Maintainers will be doing what they normally do behind closed doors in front of our visitors at the Leeds museum. Looking after the national collection of arms and armour is a big job and an even bigger responsibility. Many of our objects are extremely important in the history of arms and armour, and though they might not look it, many of them are quite fragile too. We haveRead more

The German 25 cm trench mortar

In 2004 a former member of the Royal Armouries staff collected this German 25 cm trench mortar from a Farm in Norfolk, where for a number of years it had been exposed to the elements and was in need of some tender loving care. On site at Royal Armouries Fort Nelson in Portsmouth, the trench mortar remained in the Artillery Hall, where it continued to suffer from the adverse conditions until Mick Cooper (Fort Nelson Technician)  began the lengthy conservation process lastRead more

Hall of Steel Cleaning

Written by Andrew Brown, Head of Estates and Facilities at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. After a number of years the Hall of Steel desperately needed a spring clean. This in itself posed a challenge due to the height and access difficulties to the Hall, in addition to closing down the area and restricting visitor access. An external cleaning company Cleanbright Ltd were commissioned to undertake the internal high level areas and our own Facilities staff tackled the outer staircase, allRead more

How are objects transported between museums?

Behind the scenes as the Royal Armouries at the Tower prepare for Christmas, by keeper of Tower Armouries Bridget Clifford. ‘Tis the season when Santa’s little elves are packing as if their lives depended on it – and museum curators are not immune from the bug.  In the Royal Armouries case, the jewel that is the ‘Battle of Agincourt‘ exhibition will close on 31st January 2016 and the unique assemblage of objects, archive material and books will depart back toRead more