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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 accommodate the collection’s largest textile works, including a partial set of monumental 500-year-old European tapestries, the largest of which measures about 15 by 27 feet, as well as the smallest works, including fragments from ancient Coptic textiles.

The Textile Conservation Center is just shy of 3,000 square feet and comprises a dry room with overhead 20 foot long hoist and pantograph for photography, a wet room with slanted floor and overhead exhaust units, and a dye room housing a large capacity reverse osmosis water purification system. Five large exam tables and two tapestry frames—all on wheels—make the space as flexible as possible.

Related Content

  • Check out articles about past projects, from bathing wall hangings to defying gravity.
  • Explore our digital interactive to take a deeper look at the different ways feathered objects in the collection are viewed through the lens of conservation.


  • “In-painting for old tapestry repairs: a non-traditional approach to restoring tapestry legibility,” by Anne Getts and Sarah Gates, in NATCC Preprints: 12th Annual Conference, Ottawa/Gatineau, Canada (2019), pp. 119–133.
  • “Identification of Indigo and its Degradation Products on a Silk Textile Fragment Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrophotometry,” by Jennifer Poulin, in Journal of the Canadian Association for Conservation 32 (2007) pp. 48–56.   
  • “Costumes on the move,” by Sarah Gates and Anne Getts, in NATCC Preprints: 10th Annual Conference, New York, NY (2015), pp. 326–330.
  • “Tour in a cart,” by Sarah Gates and Anne Getts in WAAC Newsletter 37(1) (2015), p. 15.
  • “A volunteer tradition: a brief overview of the role of volunteers in the textile conservation lab of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1970–2008,” by Sarah Gates and Beth Szuhay, in Textile conservation: advances in practice, eds. Frances Lennard and Patricia Ewer, Butterworth-Heinemann Series in Conservation and Museology (2010), pp. 25–30.
  • “New lab space, new de Young,” by Sarah Gates and Beth Szuhay, in TSG postprints: American Institute for Conservation 37th Annual Meeting, Los Angeles (2010), pp. 33–42.
  • “Long-term support enables a conservation triumph," by Sarah Gates in Fine Arts (Winter/Spring 2009), pp. 20–21.
  • “The Triumph of Prudence and the Triumph of Fortitude," by Sarah Gates and Melissa Leventon, in Fine Arts (Spring/Summer 2001), pp. 8–11.
  • “One hundred Anatolian flatweaves: conservation for exhibition, travel, and storage,” by Sarah Gates, in Textile Museum Journal 29–30 (1990–1991) pp. 65–76.