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Factors that may cause harm to art works include rough handling, poor materials, dirt, insects, excessive moisture, mold, light, and contact with acidic materials such as wood or cardboard. Drawings, prints, photographs and other works on paper are particularly susceptible to damage by light and by acid. To learn more about how to properly care for art works, what conservation is, and how to locate a professional conservator, consult the web site of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works


All works of art require special handling to preserve them in the best possible condition. The professionals who examine and treat works of art that have suffered damage are called conservators. Conservation treatments are undertaken to return works of art to a condition as close as possible to what the artist envisioned. Treatment also helps to stabilize art works so that they will last as long as possible in good condition. Conservators also provide guidance about how to properly store, exhibit, and handle of works of art.

The training of conservators combines fine art, art history, and chemistry. Only a few schools provide professional training in conservation. Proper conservation treatment adds as little new material to an existing art work as possible. Any treatment should be reversible so that future conservators can revise the treatment. Conservators create condition reports and treatment proposals before any treatment is begun. The completed process of treatment is documented in a treatment report including photographic images of the art work before, during, and after treatment.

Conservation is very important for the preservation of art works, but it is also expensive. If you are interested in helping to fund conservation of works in the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, please contact curator@arkansasartscenter.org

The proper care of its art collections to preserve them for future generations is central to the mission of the Arkansas Arts Center. The Center has no art conservator on staff. We contract with carefully selected conservators in private practice to treat our works. The web pages given below describe recent conservation projects.

Recent Conservation

A Marieschi Makeover

The storage rooms of virtually all art museums contain works whose condition prevents them from being on display in the galleries. Changing that circumstance is the role of the art conservator. The Arkansas Arts Center has a delightful pair of small eighteenth-century paintings of Venice that a famous English art collector, Horace Walpole (son of the first Prime Minister of Great Britain and author of the first Gothic Novel), had brought home with him from Venice in 1741. An Arkansas collector ...

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