Conservation and scientific services for textiles

The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) offers a wide range of services in the field of textile conservation and research.


CCI offers an interdisciplinary approach to the conservation treatment of historic textiles including:

  • painted textiles (flags and banners);
  • costumes and costume accessories (hats, shoes, etc.);
  • archaeological textiles;
  • ethnographic textiles; and
  • oversized textiles (hangings, tapestries).


Training seminars and workshops, with hands-on components, are customized to suit needs. Training may be interdisciplinary as required, and topics include:

  • care of textiles;
  • adhesives used in textile conservation;
  • dyeing for textile conservation;
  • cleaning historic textiles; and
  • construction of mannequins for historic costumes.

CCI also provides many types of internships to suit people at different stages of their careers.

Advisory and on-site consulting services

CCI provides advisory and on-site consulting services, which include:

  • preventive conservation;
  • museum planning;
  • transportation of works of art;
  • storage and display materials and environment;
  • surveys of collections and facilities;
  • on-site infrared spectroscopic analysis; and
  • emergency preparedness planning.

Analysis and testing

CCI provides analysis and testing, which includes:

  • lightfastness testing using artificial light;
  • fibre analysis and identification;
  • pH analysis of textiles;
  • identification and analysis of components of textile artifacts (adhesives, consolidants, paints, etc.);
  • analysis of natural dyes;
  • determination of silk degradation;
  • determination of cellulose degradation; and
  • colour measurements and monitoring.


The research in conservation and scientific services includes the following:

  • characterization of silk degradation;
  • effects of wet cleaning on cotton and linen;
  • effects of stain removal methods on historic textiles; and
  • use of enzymes.

Specialized procedures and equipment

The specialized procedures and equipment CCI uses include the following:

  • colour measurements;
  • Atlas Launder-Ometer for dyeing;
  • Atlas Weather-Ometer for artificial light ageing;
  • environmental chambers for artificial heat and humidity ageing;
  • oversized low suction table for washing large textiles;
  • ultrasonic mister;
  • freeze-drying for emergency situations; and
  • parylene coating for consolidation of fragile textiles.
Officer’s dress coat, 1812.
Before treatment / After treatment Colours of the 2 nd Canadian Pioneer Battalion.
CCI staff use polarizing microscopes for fibre identification.
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