Art and Object Handling with John Bracken

Object and materials conservation

Ref: M4E11616

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Places available

About this course

This course is designed to offer participants guidance and practice in established methods for the
handling, packing, storage and display of paintings and sculpture. The first afternoon discusses
object handling work at West Dean College. The second day the course introduces the principles of
art handling followed by talks about painting conservation and transport /packing. The third day
there will be by a talks and practical demonstrations on Risk and Method statements, health and
safety and manual lifting. The fourth day deals with picture handling, hanger fitting and storage,
and display in a gallery mock-up and the fifth day will concentrate on condition checking and
installing sculpture.

The course begins at 14.00 on the Monday.

Course Description

Day 1  
12.00- 13.30- Registration 
14.00 Start of course.  Welcome Talks
14.45- 17.40- Talks by West Dean College Tutors:  Books and Paper, Metals, Ceramics and Glass, Clocks
19.00- 19.45- Dinner
Day 2     
09.00- 10.30- Basic art handling
13.00- 14.00- Lunch
14.00- 15.45- Preventative Conservation: Paintings
16.00- 17.15- Painting: Condition checking
18.00- 18.30- Science lab
19.00- 19.45- Dinner

Day 3   
09.00- Introduction to the day followed by Works on Paper
09.45- 11.00- Art Handling/Principles/Health and Safety/Manual Lifting
11.15- Manual lifting, art transport procedure, unloading and movement      
13.00- 13.45- Lunch
13.45- 16.00- Unpacking
16.00- 18.00- Picture hangers
19.00- 19.45- Dinner 

Day 4   
09.00- Picture handling and storage       
11.15- Gallery layout, display height and fitting hangers
13.00- 13.45- Lunch
13.45- Picture hanging 
16.00- 17.30- Picture packing 
17.30- 18.00- Problem solving
19.00- 19.45- Dinner 
20.00- Preventative conservation- Sculpture

Day 5   
09.00- Sculpture handling, packing and storage      
11.15- Lifting and transferring for display
13.00- 13.45- Lunch
13.45- Unusual methods 
15.45- Issue of certificates, Course ends.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9.30pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.00 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 7.00pm: Dinner (included for both residential and non-residential students for onsite courses).

Evening teaching sessions- 8 - 9pm

Last day

Classes 9.00am - 4pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

If you work in an institution, museum or gallery, please bring with you a blank example of a painting or sculpture report for discussion.  Safety boots should be worn for four days.  A torch and umbrella may be useful on the short walk to the Auditorium.


John Bracken

OMC Course Leader

John has 30 years' experience in the art world and a strong practical foundation in all aspects of the handling, installation and transit of artworks. He spent 16 years at the Tate, the last five as Operations Manager for their Collection Centre. In 2005 he left the Tate to set up Patina Art Collection Care Ltd.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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