The Frick Collection's Conservation Department is responsible for the conservation, treatment, and technical study of the objects in the Collection, as well as the preservation issues for both the Collection and the historic interiors of the Frick mansion.
|Assistant Objects Conservator Julia Day cleaning a sculpture by Jean Barbet (active 1475–d. 1514), Angel, 1475, bronze, 46 11/16 in. (118.6 cm), purchased by The Frick Collection, 1943.2.82.|
The Conservation Department performs treatment on the Collection's furniture, sculpture, and decorative art objects. The department also coordinates the treatment of paintings by The Metropolitan Museum of Art Paintings Conservation Department and manages other treatment projects by private conservators. One of the department's most important responsibilities is to ensure a safe environment for the Collection. This is done by monitoring the environmental conditions in the galleries and storage areas and by working closely with the Engineering Department to ensure that acceptable conditions of temperature, relative humidity, and light are maintained. The Conservation Department is also responsible for the safe display, storage, and movement of art throughout the museum. To that end, the department constructs exhibition furniture, fabricates exhibition mounts, oversees lighting and installation of the artwork, and fabricates crates for traveling art.
Another interesting aspect of the conservators' work is performing technical studies on the Collection to shed light on the materials and processes of production and to identify alterations. This type of research helps to expand our knowledge of the Collection and allows more accurate comparisons with similar objects. Such investigations often involve collaboration with curators, art historians, and conservation scientists within and outside the institution.
The conservator also serves as an advocate for matters related to the historic preservation of the 1913 mansion and works closely with the Operations Department in managing restoration and remodeling projects. Similarly, the department is involved with projects related to the building's interiors, including selecting and sourcing fabrics and gallery furniture in order to maintain the mansion's historic ambience.
Finally, members of the Conservation Department help to disseminate knowledge about the Collection and its care through presentations at professional forums, in publications, and at Frick-sponsored symposia, including seminars for the public as part of the Frick's educational programs. The Conservation Department also provides training opportunities for conservation students.