Ursula Surtees Regional Conservation Laboratory

Conservation services to protect and preserve precious items

A state-of-the-art Conservation Laboratory, located on the ground floor of the Okanagan Heritage Museum.

The Conservation Laboratory was officially opened in 2001. It is named in honour of Ursula Surtees, who served as the Curator and Director under the Kelowna Museums Society for many decades and provided a lasting legacy for the continued preservation and interpretation of Okanagan heritage.

Conservation Services

The Ursula Surtees Regional Conservation Laboratory is pleased to offer a variety of conservation services to the public.

Conservation Assessment

  • A conservation assessment gives the conservator a chance to examine your heirloom – the materials, construction and condition – in depth. Assessments must be completed before a conservation treatment can begin.
  • You will receive advice and a written report detailing the condition and stability of your object along with recommendations for its preservation.

Conservation Treatment

  • Treatment or stabilization will be carried out based on the findings of the Conservation Assessment.
  • A final report will be written detailing the treatment process and advice given on care and handling.
  • Examples of common treatments include:
    • tear repairs – for paper, photographs, textiles, etc.
    • consolidating fragile surfaces
    • unrolling brittle photographs and paper objects
    • repairing broken objects
    • cleaning and polishing

Conservation Mounting/Custom-made Enclosures

  • Fragile or delicate objects can benefit from custom-made mounts or enclosures
  • We can make display or storage mounts for a wide variety of objects
  • Examples of common treatments include:
    • supports for old books – book cradle, protective jackets and enclosures
    • custom-made archival boxes

Conservation Consultation

  • Bring in your family heirlooms and receive advice on how to preserve them
  • Care and handling recommendations
  • Potential hazards to your heirlooms
  • Basic cleaning tips

Kelowna Museums Members save 10% off Conservation Service Fees.

Non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive a discount on Conservation Treatment and Conservation Mounting/Custom-made Enclosure services.

Conservation Workshops

Enjoy a hands-on workshop, and learn how to preserve your family heirlooms and photographs. Join us on social media or register for our eNewsletter for updates on upcoming workshops.


Conservation Outreach

As part of the Ursula Surtees Regional Conservation Laboratory Outreach Program, the Conservator helps regional museums throughout BC to care for their cultural heritage. The Conservator is also available to help you preserve your heirlooms!

Ursula Surtees Regional Conservation Laboratory

470 Queensway Avenue
(inside the Okanagan Heritage Museum)
Kelowna, BC
V1Y 6S7

To book an appointment or for more information please contact:
Amanda Snyder, Curatorial Manager
250-763-2417 ext. 29

What is Conservation?

The Conservator is tasked with the long-term preservation of the collection. This is achieved through preventative conservation and treatment conservation.

The objective of preventative conservation is to slow down or stop different forms of deterioration. This is done primarily by creating a stable environment through controlled temperature and relative humidity, monitoring light levels, establishing a pest management plan, creating storage and display mounts, and ensuring proper care and handling guidelines are followed.

Treatment conservation involves detailed analysis, documentation, and the stabilization of damaged or deteriorating objects. The Conservator uses various techniques to clean, repair and restore damaged artifacts. The objective of treatment conservation is typically not to make the object look new, but to stabilize it, ensuring its preservation for future generations.

All work carried out by the Conservator is done in accordance with the Canadian Association for Conservation Code of Ethics.