Department Chair

Andrew D. Nicholls, Ph.D., Professor of History

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

History, M.A.


History and Social Studies Education Department


Cynthia A. Conides, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Museum Studies

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First Reader

Cynthia A. Conides, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Museum Studies

Second Reader

Nancy Weekly, M.A., Head of Collections & Charles Cary Rumsey Curator at Burchfield Penney Art Center


This thesis examines the need for preventive conservation in museums. Preventive conservation is an effort aimed at reducing damage and deterioration to collections by improving the environment. Out of the 4.8 billion objects in the museum collections in the United States, many of the objects are in need of some attention. They are at high risk of being lost forever, leaving future generations without such collection to learn from and enjoy. This thesis studies five institutions in the Western New York area. It examines how their preventive conservation practices hold up to standards put forth by museum experts. There are four stages in the research model and they are as follows: (1) identifying threats to collections, (2) substantiating the risk, (3) identifying cost-efficient means of measuring the risk, and (4) developing methods to reduce or eliminate risk. Once a museum has implemented these four stages, the next step is rather simple: monitor and control the principal agents of destruction. By knowing which of these areas are in the most need of the greatest assistance, conservators can make recommendations to help institutions take better care of their collections.

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