The Objects and Sculpture Department determines the best course of treatment to maintain the cultural and historical significance of the object and ensure its long-term preservation.


The Object and Sculpture conservators have a broad knowledge of materials and fabrication techniques. This department treats ethnographic and fine art objects made from materials including, but not limited to: stone, ivory, wood, ceramic, glass, and metal.

Due to the wide range of materials used, the treatments employed by the objects conservators range in complexity from simple surface cleanings to the reconstruction of shattered ceramics.

Past treatments include the restoration of models of historic battleships,  fabrication of missing handles on a Qianlong dynasty vase, and recreating the missing marquetry of a Boulle clock.     

The Object and Sculpture conservators often collaborate with The Center’s Framing and Display Department to construct specially-made mounts and UV-filtering vitrines to house and display pieces. 

Treatment Gallery

Footsteps. art deco figural sculpture c. 1928. Demetre H. Chiparus(1886-1947). Ivory Bronze, and Marble. Age-related Loss.

Zulu Pot. Ceramic. Impact damage.

Boy with Flute. Gilt Brass. Impact Damage.

Multi-colored bird figure.  Glazed Ceramic.  Impact Damage.

Boulle work clock c. 19th Century.  Wood, Brass, and Tortoise Shell.  Age-Related Damage.

Mask Figure on a base.  Paolo Soleri. Stone.  Impact Damage.

stories related to objects and sculpture conservation:

Clementine Hunter: “Pecan Pickin’”


We recently had the privilege of treating one of Hunter’s pieces here at The Center. The work, titled “Pecan Pickin,’” is a small piece of plantation pottery with painted scenes of field laborers harvesting pecans. The figures are large, one is as tall as the tree he stands next to, and all are in profile. The colors are bright, and the brushstrokes are thick. Since Hunter typically painted on flat surfaces, this piece is particularly unique.

Don't Do It Yourself: Cautionary Tales of At-Home Art Treatments


There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean. And while spotless living spaces make a house a home, many of us unfortunately have to use harsh chemicals and solvents to achieve that goal. The application of products found under the kitchen sink can lead to chemical reactions on the surface of art objects that can prove to be quite serious, resulting in detrimental losses that are usually so much greater than the reward of a home cleaning approach. When it comes to caring for your art and antiques while freshening up around the house, we strongly advise our readers to adhere to the “DDIY” rule—Don’t Do it Yourself—and leave the job to professional art conservators.

Conserving the knight


The armor came with a few leather pieces, which mainly served the purpose of joining different parts of the armor together, such as the escarcela to the peto, or the thigh and the breastplate, respectively. These leather pieces were extremely dry and cracked. The leather joining the hombrera and the espaldar, or shoulder and back plate, were rotted, not functioning properly, and were possibly not even original to the armor. The leather straps on the legs, however, appeared to be in good condition.