Conservation

Conservation

The Conservation Department is responsible for the physical care of the glass collections and of glass-related objects, and advises on exhibition and storage conditions for the glass collection and objects loaned from the Museum for exhibition.

The museum’s collection includes nearly 50,000 objects, and ranges from the very earliest 2nd millennium B.C. glasses to contemporary objects, which means we have a wide variety of glass to look after. Conservation involves proper handling, storage, cleaning, repair, and restoration. The repair of broken objects is one of the most difficult conservation tasks and requires careful documentation, skill, patience, and the understanding of modern synthetic adhesives.  Restoration goes beyond the repair or re-assembly of broken fragments, and entails the ethical and aesthetic replacement of missing pieces, primarily for publication or museum display, but sometimes for structural support for very fragmentary objects. Our mission is to leave the collection in better condition than we found it; it is extremely important that anything we do can be easily undone, so as to maintain the integrity of the objects and their future preservation.

The Conservation Department also advises on the safest methods of displaying, mounting, lighting, storing, and handling glass objects, including all new acquisitions and loans.

Ongoing research includes: methods and materials used in the conservation of glass, particularly the use of adhesives and resins for the restoration of losses; the Blaschka glass models, including their materials and construction techniques as well as how to preserve and conserve them; the deterioration and preservation of glass, especially of the phenomenon of crizzling or atmospheric deterioration of glass; the conservation of modern and contemporary glass, including artists interviews.

Learn more about conservators and conservation work at the The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).

Learn more about supporting the Museum's conservation efforts.

Do you have a question for our conservators? Contact us at Ask a Glass Object Question, and select "Conservation" in the drop-down menu.

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