conservationist inpainting The Blue Boy portrait

Preservation and Conservation

The Huntington's library and art collections are comprised of extraordinary books, manuscripts, photographs, prints, paintings, sculpture and other objects that are treasured for their intellectual content as cultural artifacts, and works of art. Preservation at The Huntington is responsible for ensuring these collections survive, in their original formats, for the use and enjoyment of future generations. The activities focus on the skilled treatment and repair of individual items, and the long-term preservation of the collections.

Conservation Center

The Huntington addressed preservation and conservation concerns beginning in the 1920's with the construction of fire- and earthquake-proof rare book stacks and the establishment of a book bindery. In 1981, the construction of the Avery Conservation Center ushered in a new era of comprehensive preservation and conservation activity. The updated 10,000 sq. ft. laboratory built in 2004, includes a book and paper lab, wet/chemical labs, a photo documentation studio, a particulate room, and offices.

Highly trained conservators and technicians conduct physical and chemical treatments on rare books, manuscripts, works of art on paper, photographic materials, and paintings. Activities include:

  • preventive and collections level conservation
  • single item conservation treatment of collection materials
  • environmental monitoring and control
  • integrated pest management
  • emergency preparedness
  • exhibitions design and preparation

Education, Training, Outreach

Education, training, and outreach are an important part of library preservation at The Huntington. For information about internships, and to learn about the contributions of internship recipients, see conservation internships.


For guides on caring for your collections or to find a conservator in your area, please visit the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. The Huntington is unable to provide conservation treatment or appraisal services to the public.