The conservation workshop of paper and Books of the Museum of Byzantine Culture operated initially as space of reception and preventive conservation for the codices, the documents and the incunabula of the great exhibition “Treasures of Mount Athos”, which was held in year 1997 in the Museum. Since then the needs of studying, conserving and promoting the collection of the Museum led to the gradual completion of the infrastructure of the room and to the staffing of the workshop with specialized conservators. Since 2000 the workshop operates inside a specially arranged room, where a great variety of works occur, such as diagnosis, documentation and conservation of manuscripts and printed books and of course of works of art made of paper or parchment.
The workshop focus on the artifacts of the Museum’s collection. Yet its activity is not confined only to this task. It gives also advice to institutions. In this frame it collaborated with the Technical Chamber of Greece, the Municipal Maplibrary of the town of Kozani e.a. In special occasions it took over the conservation of artifacts, which belong to other collections and institutions. Such artifacts were the Map of Anthimos Gazis, which belongs to the Koventareios Maplibrary of the town of Kozani, the parchment codex n. 2 from the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice and an adequate number of documents and manuscripts from the Vlatadon Holy Monastery, which have been transferred to our Museum to be conserved and to be kept under suitable conditions. Moreover, during the years 2007-2008 the workshop collaborated, in a research program, with the Camberwell College of Arts of the University of the Arts London.
The promotion of the work and of the expertise, produced in the workshop, to the public, whether it consists of experts or not, is of great importance. The conservators, who work there, in their effort to accomplish the educational policy of the Museum, organize educational guided tours inside their space, while, in cooperation with the team of educational programs of the Museum, they carry out, from time to time, creative bookbinding workshops and also workshops of paper manufacture and of engraving. The operations, which take place in the workshop, are often published in specialized editions or are communicated in scientific congresses. Today the two conservators, who work in the workshop, supervise undergraduate students, at the time of their practice there, while they actively participate in all the stages of implementation of the permanent and temporary exhibitions held in the Museum. They take care for the safe exhibition of works of art by selecting suitable frames for support and suspension and by checking the exhibition conditions.