Work at the Center includes treatment and preventive care, scholarly research on materials and techniques, and development of new conservation methods to address the changing needs of a growing museum.
The Center also shares the mandate of the museum to create a deeper level of understanding of Asian cultures by our visitors. Through cooperative exchanges, joint projects, and public outreach, art conservation can provide a unique window into shared traditions of art preservation, restoration and fabrication.
Established in the 1960s, the Conservation Center at the Asian Art Museum has grown from a single restorer to three full-time and additional part-time conservators as well as support staff. The museum’s move from Golden Gate Park to its new facilities at Civic Center Plaza in 2003 allowed the Center to expand into a new custom-built laboratory space, which includes a fumigation/isolation room and analytical capabilities such as x-radiography, x-ray fluorescence, and ultraviolet light microscopy.
Within the department are a number of specialist conservation disciplines, including paper and paintings, textiles, and three-dimensional objects. Although each area requires detailed knowledge of materials and historic production methods of certain art media, conservators work together and in collaboration with curators, scientists, and registrars to care for the collection as a whole.