Conservation, which encompasses the treatment, preservation, and technical study of works of art, is integral to the mission of the Fine Arts Museums. With specialized training in chemistry, art history, and studio art, conservators work closely with the Museums’ curators to better understand the objects in their collections and to advise on the condition of proposed acquisitions and loans. Their discoveries are shared with the public through exhibitions, educational programs, and web-based media. In addition to studying and treating of works of art, conservators actively collaborate across departments to address museum-wide issues such as exhibition design, lighting, climate control, storage, disaster preparedness, and integrated pest management. Conservators also are committed to the education of emerging conservators through internship and fellowship programs.

First established in the early 1970s, conservation at the Museums now comprises four specialized departments—objects, paintings, paper, and textiles—each devoted to the care of the permanent collection. The Paper Conservation Lab is located at the Legion of Honor, while the Objects and Textiles labs and Paintings Conservation Studio are at the de Young.

Learn more about conservation through the American Institute for Conservation: