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Objects Conservation

Located at the de Young, the Penny and James Coulter Objects Conservation Center provides for the preservation, conservation, and scientific study of all three-dimensional works of art in the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which comprise more than three-quarters of the collections on permanent display in the galleries and sculpture gardens. Working with such varied collections, the conservators must have a strong understanding of a wide range of artists’ materials and techniques. They also explore the cultural and historical context of each object in order to develop treatments that are both culturally sensitive and honest to the object’s past.

Related Content

  • Check out articles about past projects, from cleaning The Thinker, to piecing together stained glass.

  • Explore our digital interactive to take a deeper look at the different ways feathered objects in the collection are viewed through the lens of conservation.


  • “A technical analysis of overglaze enamels on Funcke-attributed Meissen Ceramics,” by Colleen O’Shea, in A Princely Pursuit: The Malcolm D. Gutter Collection of Early Meissen Porcelain, Maria L. Santangelo. San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2018. pp. 227–231.
  • “On and Below the Surface: a Conservator’s View of African Sculpture,” by Lesley Bone, in Embodiments: Masterworks of African Figurative Sculpture, ed. Christina Hellmich and Manuel Jordan. New York: Delmonico Books and Prestel, 2015.
  • “Conservation of the Boiserie,” by Lesley Bone, in The Salon Dore from the Hotel de la Tremoille, ed. Martin Chapman. San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 2014. pp. 77–95.