Conservation

The conservation and care of works of art is fundamental to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s mission to provide its community and region with high quality exhibitions, programs, education and outreach. The FAMSF conservation department was founded in 1972 to support the preservation, study, and treatment of objects, paintings, paper, and textiles. The conservation department continues to be devoted to the needs of the wide-ranging collections, educational programs, and exhibitions.

The diverse responsibilities of the Museums’ conservators include the examination, documentation, preservation, treatment, and research of artworks in the FAMSF collection. Conservators advise curators on the condition of proposed acquisitions and collections that will be exhibited. They inspect the condition of incoming and outgoing loans to the museum including those in exhibitions. Conservators keep a close eye on the climate within the galleries and storage to control environmental conditions, pest issues, and earthquake safety measures.

Objects, paintings, and textiles conservation each have separate laboratories at the de Young, which reopened in its new Herzog & de Meuron-designed building in 2005. Paper conservation is located at the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park and has a laboratory designed during the 1995 seismic retrofitting of the building.

Learn more about conservation through the American Institute for Conservation

Conservation Photos from Flickr

Flickr photos from the album Behind the Scenes by FAMSF

Objects Conservator Lesley Bone reviewing the condition of objects in storageConservation Assistant Arielle Hambrecht retrieving an object from storage.Each object has a storage and handling tray with its number, making it safe and easy to retrieve objects from storage.Labeling an object with its unique accession number and barcode number.Dusting an object.Objects ConservationObjects ConservationMicroscopic examination in Objects ConservationObjects ConservationImage processing in Objects ConservationPaintings ConservationPaintings ConservationFrames Conservation, part of Paintings ConservationAnalytical space at the de Young with X-Ray equipmentX-Ray of an objectPaper ConservationPaper Conservator Debra Evans inspects a bouquet during Bouquets to Art 2009The panel of scholars at the Mini-Symposium on Scientific Testing of Art and Textiles, February 11, 2010Objects Conservator Lesley Bone leading the Q&A session at the Mini-Symposium on Scientific Testing of Art and Textiles, February 11, 2010FAMSF Objects Conservator Lesley Bone and LACMA Conservation Center Director Mark Gilberg talking with FAMSF Director John Buchanan at the luncheon following the Mini-Symposium on Scientific Testing of Art and Textiles, February 11, 2010Lab Equipment:  The hoist in action, with Head Conservator Sarah Gates and staff conservator Beth Szuhay.  The low wheeled tables were designed in the 1970's by Pat Reeves of LA County Museum of Art.  Labeled bins full of supplies are in the background.Textiles ConservationTextiles ConservationTextiles ConservationThis is a large Baeder rack in the dry room that is used to hold rolled materials and fabrics used for  preservation and conservation treatments   It was re-configured from a wall unit to a floor unit.  To the left is a custom, wheeled rack holding light fast wool yarns used in conservation treatments.Textiles ConservationThe entry to the Textiles Study room is just one door away from the Textile Conservation Lab.  Its proximity makes it simple for conservators to do research.
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