The Art and Science of Conservation: Behind the Scenes at the Freer Gallery of Art

The Art and Science of Conservation: Behind the Scenes at the Freer Gallery of Art

What’s possibly the most calming yet nerve-racking job in the world? Come behind the scenes of the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art to find out!

The conservation and scientific research of ancient Asian art takes a large team of experts from many fields. In order to bring thousands of treasures from the East to the galleries of the Smithsonian in downtown Washington, D.C., several critical and careful steps toward ensuring the objects’ continued longevity must be taken.

Learn more about the hard work taking place to keep these works alive and on display at

Glass Conservation

The Museum’s glass conservators care for a collection of more than 45,000 objects spanning 35 centuries. In addition to addressing issues such as crizzling (glass deterioration), they restore damaged pieces. One example is the Tiffany lamp shown here. It came to the Museum in many pieces of various sizes—from tiny chips to large fragments. It took several months to restore the lamp. See more about the conservation of glass at the museum at:

This video features Steve Koob, conservator for The Corning Museum of Glass.
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15 thoughts on “The Art and Science of Conservation: Behind the Scenes at the Freer Gallery of Art”

  1. Can you tell me the safest and the most effective way to clean stains and press vintage banknotes and the stuff used for doing so please? Many thanks!

  2. Actually those brushes are Japanese and so is the lady treating the painting. Know your place little assistant and your craft too . Not everything is Chinese >

  3. I've been watching a lot of art conservation videos and this was the 1st to show art away from Europe. European art is great but it dominates what a lot of people know about art history. Would love to see conservation of more Asian pieces and African pieces as well.

  4. those arts are islamic but they are Iranian(persian) and they are made by persian people and there is clearly persian poems written on them….can't you just say it is from iran?
    also some of the ones that they say are from northen india are also some sort of persian- indian art cuz in that time india and persia were close and the empire in india in that time originally came from iran sooooo

  5. It's amazing seeing how many people bashing them for conserving the pieces of art. No they are not stolen, they are found or bought. They are conserving the pieces properly with certain techniques. Remember these people studied hard to not damage these beautiful works of art.

  6. Sackler? Same lot that produced OxyContin the killer. Hence that would be the killer family no?

  7. No there was $ from many ventures. Mainely the Freer Lumber Co. in the ADK's which provided the lumber to build the tracks into Grand Central Terminal, along w/ so much more. No stealing. Hugo started it all for 'us' in the U.S.

  8. It's a beautiful place. Also the Freer homestead in New Paltz which was built in 1694 by Hugo my first American ancestor is beautiful and so spiritual.

  9. Not going to lie. I totally had a heart attack when the woman started brushing water all over the Chinese painting. Haha!

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