‘The Art of Conservation’ on view March 10-Aug. 29 at TMA

Press Staff Writer

        Museums go to impressive lengths to keep the valuable objects in their care in superb condition, but the process is often hidden from public view.
        Visitors will have a chance to see the work themselves this spring and summer at the Toledo Museum of Art. The Art of Conservation, a new visible conservation lab in TMA’s Canaday Gallery, will allow audiences to observe the conservation of several works from the museum’s collection and to pose questions to the conservation team.
        Conservation work can include tasks such as repairing damaged textiles with thread smaller than a single human hair, recreating damaged gold surfaces and reassembling ancient ceramics.
        “TMA’s conservation department, expertly led by Suzanne Hargrove, is delighted to invite visitors to experience all facets of art conservation in action,” said Adam M. Levine, the Museum’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director and CEO. “Our conservation team will interact directly with visitors, having conversations with our audience about the diverse and exceptional works of art being conserved for future generations.”
       TMA conservators will be treating a range of TMA objects that have been affected by time, artist techniques, human use and previous repair, including iconic works from the African American quilting community of Gee’s Bend, ancient Greek ceramics, sculpture by the 20th-century American sculptor Marisol, an ancient Egyptian stele and many more.
        “This project brings the critically important tasks of detailed examination, scientific analysis and fine skill work out in the open for viewers to experience firsthand,” said Suzanne Hargrove, head of conservation. “Much of our work begins before we ever touch an object, and this will be a unique opportunity for the community to learn more about the entire process.” Hargrove will be joined by TMA’s Kress Fellow Marissa Stevenson and Mellon Fellow Emily Cummins in the visible conservation lab.
        Thanks to magnifier cameras, visitors will be able to witness detailed conservation and repair work on a large monitor installed in the gallery. The public will have the opportunity to ask questions about the current treatment projects, as well as the broader field of conservation and museum collections care. Safety protocols such as a large Plexiglas window dividing the conservators from visitors and enhanced ventilation will be in place.
        The Art of Conservation will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. -5 p.m., and 11 am.-8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Designated times to ask questions of the conservators will be from 12-2 p.m. daily.
        Visit www.toledomuseum.org for more details.


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