Preservation is the act of caring for objects to prolong their lives; however, there is no one absolute way to go about this. Conservation stabilizes objects in their current state, whereas restoration replaces or adds parts to return objects to their former glory. Sometimes a combination of these methods is useful. Picking an appropriate process depends on many factors: what is the object made of, how it was used, and where will it be displayed. We’ll delve into the theory of preservation using examples from the Museum’s collection, including the conservation of USS Monitor artifacts and the restoration of the Cape Charles Lighthouse lens.