Museum Conservation Center

About the Museum Conservation Center

The Senator John Heinz History Center’s Museum Conservation Center, a nine-floor LEED Certified Green Building, houses the History Center’s collection of more than 32,000 artifacts. The 55,000-square-foot storage space features Smithsonian-quality lighting, temperature, humidity, pest control, and security.

Conservation vs. Restoration

What is conservation?

Conservation is the process of preserving an object, stabilizing it, and improving its appearance for future generations. Conservation also helps to preserve the historic value of an object and often increases its market value. Conservation may be the right choice for your object if you’re concerned about preserving an heirloom for generations to come, maintaining the monetary value of your object, or retaining the patina – or appearance of age or history – of your object.

What is restoration?

Unlike conservation, restoration is the process of returning an object to its original state or condition, rather than preserving it as it is. Restoration may be the right choice for your object if you would like to use your object regularly, or would like it to appear to be like new.

Conservation Services

The Museum Conservation Center provides patrons with access to the same quality assessment and conservation treatments as museums provide for their own collections. History Center staff will discuss your needs, and evaluate the goals for the care and conservation of your objects, and refer to you a highly trained professional conservator who will provide a proposal for treatment.

Conservation Materials

The Museum Conservation Center offers a variety of archival-quality storage materials for sale and provides instruction on how to protect your heirlooms for future generations.

More Information

For more information on the Museum Conservation Center or to discuss conservation services or materials, please contact Lauren Meals at 412-454-6450 or

Other Services


If you’re interested to learn the monetary value of your object, the History Center’s extremely popular TV show Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures is a great place to start. The 30-minute special program, now in its ninth season on KDKA, highlights collectibles, heirlooms, and other prized possessions that History Center members and visitors bring for appraisals at a one-day event at the museum each summer. Bring your object and take part in the fun! The date for the next Hidden Treasures appraisal day is typically announced in early May each year.

For information about the Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures event, please contact Caroline Fitzgerald at or 412-454-6373.

In addition, the History Center staff can refer you to appraisal experts to assist you. Please contact the museum directly at 412-454-6000 for assistance.


If you’re interested in donating your object to the History Center, you can learn more about the process on the Collections page.