The holdings in the museum’s collection are varied and diverse. Their level of preservation varies greatly. The care of damaged items is a serious task that can be handled only by an expert.
In the 1970s, especially significant manuscripts were taken for restoration to the Restoration Laboratory of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. in – as it was named back then – Leningrad. Only in 1978 did the museum employ a full-time employee to work on paper restoration. The new employee had spent a year of in-service training with I. Rudzīte, at that time a restorer at the Museum of Foreign Art. Currently, the museum employs two full-time restorers for restoring manuscripts, documents and other paper items, as well as one part-time restorer of easel paintings.
The restorers of manuscripts, documents and other paper items restore various kinds of artefacts – manuscripts; posters; letters; wallpaper; black-and-white printed material and material printed in colour; manuscripts featuring different kinds of inks, including India ink, as well as stamps and pencil marks; and photographs and photo albums. The painting restorer carries out preservation and restoration work for easel paintings in a variety of mediums (oil, distemper, acrylic and gouache) and a variety of materials (canvas, wood, cardboard and paper).
The museum’s restorers, working jointly with the collections’ curators, inspect the holdings of the collections and perform maintenance work, as well as selecting the holdings that require restoration. The restorers are also involved in assessing whether the holdings of the museum that have been selected by the collections’ curators or requested for deposition require work to preserve or restore them.