Stop 39. The Role of Conservation



Maria Fredericks, Sherman Fairchild Head of the Thaw Conservation Center
Most of the objects in the Morgan’s collection are on paper or parchment, some with delicate pigments or dyes that can change or fade with too much exposure to light. Because of this inherent fragility, most of our treasures can only be displayed for a few months at a time, under controlled lighting conditions. Frequently rotating our installations helps preserve our collections and also allows us to highlight the vast range of our holdings.

To preserve our collections for future generations, we have a team of conservators and preparators who specialize in paper, parchment, and book bindings. Located in the Morgan’s Thaw Conservation Center, they are responsible for making sure collection objects are safely housed and displayed. We also evaluate and treat objects that have deteriorated or have been damaged. We monitor the temperature, humidity, and light levels in our galleries and vault spaces, to ensure that conditions are optimal for preservation. With over half a million items under our care, and more than one thousand works shown in our galleries each year, the Morgan’s conservation staff plays a critical role in preserving and presenting the museum’s collections.