• Project Title: Preserving the Past: The Conservation of Art

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Charuhas

  • Internship Location: Conservation de Rigueur

  • Onsite Mentor: Elise Rousseau

When wandering a museum, have you ever wondered how exactly each exhibit is maintained and preserved? Chances are, you probably haven’t. Behind every art piece, teams of chemists, historians, and artists combine their efforts in art conservation, where chemistry and history are used to preserve cultural pieces from our history in a bridge between the humanities and STEM. At Art Conservation de Rigueur, teams of conservationists of all levels work with a variety of techniques ranging from historical research for background information to complex chemical processes needed to reverse damage to a piece or clean off the material, all used in order to maintain art and its cultural significance. By bringing attention to the practice of art conservation, a traditionally understaffed field, I hope to introduce others to a field that helps to preserve our past and connect science to the arts, and the difficulties in conservation. Through this investigation of the vast amounts of different methods needed, as each piece varies in its chemistry and composition, I will detail the chemical foundation and intensive research necessary in an annotated portfolio. The project follows several different art conservation projects at a private firm, serving as an introduction to the diverse processes and steps one must take in restoring various art pieces, as well as its impacts and the research that goes into it.