By combining historical and scientific research with the detailed examination of art works, conservators can often discover new information about the date, provenance, and the history of an art object.
Projects may focus on an individual object, using instrumental analysis and advanced imaging techniques to assess condition, authenticity, and craftsmanship. Such examinations help formulate decisions on how and when an art object should be repaired or restored. Larger surveys and research projects are also undertaken to determine art trends over time and geographic distribution of art techniques.
Interdisciplinary collaboration is essential in conservation research. Conservation staff at the Asian Art Museum work closely with curators, scientists, and outside experts to advance the understanding of artworks, and to learn more about the cultures that produced these unique treasures. Conservators often study archaeology, art history, archives, and traditional craftsmanship to better understand a work of art. The projects described below demonstrate the broad scope of subjects and methods that may be involved.