Handle and carry out routine cleaning of cultural heritage

Business Sectors (Suites): Cultural Heritage
Developed by: Creative & Cultural Skills
Approved on: 30 Mar 2022


​This standard is about handling and carrying out routine cleaning of cultural heritage. Cultural heritage can refer to objects that are on display or in storage or to historic buildings, structures, sites or settings or their components. It can also include historic interiors such as wallpaper, painted surfaces, fireplaces and so on.

It includes packing or applying protection, and unpacking, or removing it, selecting and testing cleaning methods, carrying out routine cleaning, labelling objects or components and recording actions preparing locations ready for objects or components, and installing them.

This standard is for anyone who is responsible for the routine cleaning of cultural heritage.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. ​consult previous records to identify the routine cleaning needs of cultural heritage
  2. ensure appropriate packing, protection and security of objects whilst they are being moved
  3. select methods and materials appropriate to the object and the work to be carried out
  4. test cleaning methods for effectiveness before implementing them
  5. handle cultural heritage in line with handling procedures and without compromising its integrity
  6. carry out routine cleaning of cultural heritage in line with care procedures and health and safety requirements
  7. ensure the suitability of the environment for cultural heritage during handling and cleaning
  8. prepare locations to accommodate cultural heritage in line with care policies
  9. unpack and install cultural heritage in new locations, checking them for signs of damage and deterioration
  10. label cultural heritage for curatorial purposes using appropriate methods and materials
  11. make accurate and clear records of actions in line with organisation procedures, considering implications for future care

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. ​health and safety legislation relevant to cleaning cultural heritage
  2. your organisation's policies, practice and standards
  3. the relevant conservation principles and factors likely to cause damage or deterioration
  4. appropriate conservation judgement and ethics
  5. appropriate environmental conditions for the cultural heritage in your care
  6. standard range of methods and materials for cleaning, handling, packing, labelling, protection and security
  7. risks to collections and, how to recognise signs of damage and deterioration and preventative measures to mitigate damage
  8. when an object needs support and how it can be provided
  9. the limitations of standard practice and when further advice is needed
  10. the materials required to protect the item
  11. organisational record keeping systems and how to access and use them including the main differences between digital and manual systems and possible problems with them


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2026





Originating Organisation

Creative and Cultural Skills

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Archaeology and Archaeological Sciences, Artistic and Literary Occupations, Conservation Associate Professionals, Crafts, Creative Arts and Design, Leisure and Travel Service Occupations

SOC Code



care; clean; cultural heritage; conservation; cleaning; artefact; heritage building; heritage structure; heritage site;