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Working with Conservation for Cultural Institutions and Government Agencies

How to Work with NEDCC to Obtain a Treatment Proposal

In order to obtain a conservation treatment proposal, please bring or send your object to NEDCC so that it can be examined by a professional conservator in NEDCC’s conservation laboratory. Please be prepared to leave your object with us. A written proposal and cost estimate is typically sent within two to three weeks. Proposals cannot be developed without an examination.

Transporting Objects to NEDCC

Hand-carrying your object to NEDCC is preferable as it allows you to discuss your object with a conservator. However, shipping services are available. Please see information about Packing and Shipping

NEDCC offers courier services on a negotiated basis for clients in the northeast corridor of the US. Learn More about NEDCC’s Courier Services.

Examination Fees

Proposals are generally provided free of charge for cultural institutions and nonprofits. However, large complicated collections sometimes require a charge for the proposal, and on-site assessments may incur consulting fees as well as compensation for travel expenses.  After prior agreement, a charge may also be incurred for assessments of large collections brought to NEDCC due to the lengthy examination time. Please note: for some large collections of similar objects, a representative sample may be sufficient to produce a reliable proposal and cost estimate.

Assessments for Grant Applications

NEDCC frequently works with cultural institutions to provide proposals and cost estimates to support grant applications. Sometimes prospective clients request that we provide these proposals without seeing the objects, and this request generally cannot be accommodated. Without a physical examination (digital images are not adequate) we cannot produce an accurate assessment, and granting agencies normally do not look favorably on such unreliable assessments. If you are planning to apply for a grant, please be sure to take note of the grant application deadline and allow plenty of time for examination and assessment of the objects to be treated.

Appraisal and Authentication

NEDCC does not authenticate, appraise, date, or attribute historic and artistic works. If you wish to consider the market value of your object when deciding to invest in its conservation, please consult a professional appraiser.  To find an appraiser, please visit the websites of either the Appraisers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

Treatment Proposals

A member of NEDCC’s professional conservation staff, in consultation with the client, will develop a treatment proposal. A written step-by-step treatment proposal and cost estimate is provided for each item or, in some cases, each group of similar objects. The treatment that we propose is intended to stabilize and preserve your object.

Recommended Treatment

A treatment proposal will include a description of your object and a recommended treatment. The proposed treatment offers what NEDCC considers to be the best approach for treating your object, and all the treatment steps are necessary for its care.

Alternative Treatment and Options

Occasionally an option or alternative treatment is offered in a proposal. Optional steps are listed separately and carry an additional cost.  Examples are stain reduction and retouching, which are not necessary for the preservation of the object but may be performed at the discretion of the client.  An alternative proposal may include different or fewer treatment steps than the recommended treatment and is provided when a different approach is possible.


Written and photographic documentation records the condition of an object before and after treatment and is required by the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), to which NEDCC subscribes. Documentation cannot be omitted from the project.

Approving a proposal

A signed approval of treatment is required before we can begin work on your object. Once the approval is received the project is placed on the schedule. 

Treatment Schedules

We generally conserve objects in the order in which proposals are authorized. Depending on the amount of approved work in-house, and the size of the project, this can range from a few months to a year. Please note that coordinating additional work with other departments such as Imaging Services may increase the time required to complete a project.

Under certain circumstances we can fast-track a project for an institution in order to meet exhibition, publication, or fiscal deadlines.


All objects must be insured under NEDCC’s insurance policy unless proof of alternate insurance or a waiver of subrogation is provided. Five hundred dollars ($500) of insurance is provided for each project at no cost.  Additional insurance can be purchased at a cost of $1 per $1,000 of declared value for each month an object is at NEDCC. NEDCC is not responsible for the accuracy of the value declared by the client. Please call NEDCC to address specific insurance questions and limitations of coverage.

Communication Regarding Your Treatment

An email will be sent to inform you that treatment of your material is about to begin. Please feel free to call at any time for an update. If any problems or surprises are encountered during treatment you will be notified immediately.

Retrieving Your Object While Waiting for Treatment

Our queue of approved work is sometimes lengthy. If you are uncomfortable leaving your object and choose to retrieve it during the waiting period, the authorization and deposit can reserve a place in the queue. However, retrieval is generally not recommended. Some objects are too fragile to be subjected to additional travel without stabilization, and changes to an object’s condition may result in necessary changes to treatment proposals and cost estimates.


In order to protect your property and your privacy we require written authorization to release information or objects to your representative. We can only submit treatment proposals, treatment documentation (photographs and written reports), and the objects themselves to you or to your authorized agent. 


About receipt and return of your materials or packing and shipping 

Email Jonathan Goodrich
(978) 470-1010, ext. 215

About bound volume conservation treatment and scheduling

Email Bexx Caswell-Olson
Director of Book Conservation
(978) 470-1010, ext. 234

About paper and photograph conservation treatment and scheduling

Email Michael Lee
Director of Paper and Photograph Conservation
(978) 470-1010 ext. 228