Read our COVID-19 safety guidelines. Note: access to the museum may be impacted 9/30–10/2 due to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.


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:


Conservation Departments

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... View More

Paintings Conservation

Located at the de Young, the Sardegna Paintings Conservation Center is devoted to the preservation, study and treatment of the nearly two thousand paintings in the European and American Art Departments and their frames. From the reduction of a yellowed varnish from a 17th-century Italian painting... View More

Paper Conservation

Located at the Legion of Honor, the paper conservation laboratory handles the preservation and conservation needs of close to 100,000 prints, drawings, photographs and books in the Museums’ collection. Caring for such varied works of art presents unique challenges and requires varied treatments.... View More

Textile Conservation

Located at the de Young, the George and Marie Hecksher Textile Conservation Center provides for the preservation, conservation and scientific study of the Museums’ permanent textile collection, which currently numbers more than 14,000 pieces. The center itself has been specifically designed to... View More