Inside J&J Oriental Rug Gallery in Alexandria. (Photo courtesy of J&J Oriental Rug Gallery)
Questions to ask your repair professional

Some household treasures require the specialized services of a skilled conservator, a professional who is educated and trained to preserve and care for objects. The American Institute for Conservation has a “find a conservator” tool on its Web site, www.conservation-us.

According to Eryl P. Wentworth, executive director of the institute, consumers can locate professionals in many categories, including ceramics, dolls, photographs and books.

Here is a list of questions adopted from the American Institute for Conservation that can be used when evaluating a repair or restoration business. Although they were written with professional conservators in mind, they are applicable to many household repairs.

1. What is your background, and how many years of professional experience do you have?

2. Do you have experience working with my type of object or situation?

3. How long will it take you to complete the job?

4. Can you provide references? May I contact previous clients?

5. What security will you provide for my object? Who is responsible for insurance?

6. What are the risks to the object from the recommended treatment?

7. What is the charge? Do you charge for an estimate?

— Jura Koncius