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COVID-19 and recommendations for heritage institutions

Given the situation surrounding COVID-19, the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) is no longer able to follow up on the requests that will be submitted until further notice. Upon resumption of regular CCI activities, we will be able to follow up on requests received. CCI would like to thank you for your understanding.

In the current context surrounding COVID-19, the Canadian Conservation Institute would like to share some recommendations for heritage institutions.


First and foremost, we encourage everyone to follow the latest advice from their regional public health authorities.

Concerning your heritage collections:

  1. If you are faced with having to shut down your institution, we refer you to CCI Note 1/3 Closing a Museum for the Winter for tips on how to do this safely and efficiently.
  2. To protect yourself in your workplace, we refer you to the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Being prepared resource, in particular the “For workplaces” section. Furthermore, we remind you that the virus does spread via contact with contaminated surfaces, which can include objects and collections. This is the warning from the World Health Organization:
    • When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects - such as desks, tables or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. (Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 [PDF format])
  3. As the virus is able to live on surfaces for several days, our best advice is to avoid contact with heritage objects for some time to reduce the likelihood of viral exposure. If handling collections cannot be avoided, wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment is required.
  4. Please note that the information circulating from various sources on how to disinfect surfaces (for example, desks, tables, telephones) can be very dangerous for some objects. To avoid damaging your collection, always consult a professional conservator before doing any kind of treatment. For this, we refer you to the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property and the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators to find conservators in your area.

In addition, all business travel has been suspended for the time being. As you know, the situation is evolving. We will continue to monitor it and provide updates to those who are affected.

The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) supports Canada's heritage community in preserving Canada's heritage collections so they can be accessed by current and future generations.

Canadian Conservation Institute
1030 Innes Road
Ottawa, Ontario  K1B 4S7

Scientific or technical advice

CCI will respond to scientific or technical advice requests within 2 working days when queries are submitted:

Note: CCI may require additional time to respond to some enquiries for scientific or technical advice, depending on the nature of the request.

Emergency advice

In the aftermath of a fire, flood, earthquake or other catastrophe, emergency advice is available to Canada's heritage community.

Professional conservation services

If you need to hire a conservator to care for your personal objects, contact the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators.


If you need to have an item appraised, contact the Canadian Chapter of the International Society of Appraisers or the Canadian Association of Personal Property Appraisers.

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