Works on Paper Conversation Assessment
In 2003, the de Saisset Museum was awarded $45,045 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to conduct a detailed conservation survey of the Museum's collection of nearly 6,000 works on paper. One of the Museum's strongest collections, the works on paper collection represents half of the objects the Museum holds. The de Saisset's collection of works on paper includes objects from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Romantic periods, modern and contemporary prints, and 20th century photography.
The Museum had a long-standing need to assess the physical condition of these works. While the Museum's storage environment is excellent for the stabilization of existing collections, thanks to the completion of a major storage vault renovation in 2005, the exact conditions of the works on paper were only partially known, as most had never been evaluated by a conservator. Evidence of conservation issues had been observed, noted, and recorded for many of these works by Museum staff, but it had been difficult to determine which problems to address with the available resources.
As a result of IMLS grant support, the Museum was able to hire an expert conservator to identify the extent of any damage and to provide recommendations on priorities and treatment. We also documented each work with digital photography, updated and improved database records on each work, and improved housing conditions (such as removing acidic mats and replacing interleaving) wherever possible. With detailed condition reports and treatment proposals in hand, the Museum is moving forward with improving general physical conditions and seeking funding for treatment of works on paper that are significant to the permanent collection.
Works on paper and photography is among the strongest areas of the de Saisset's collection with nearly 6,000 objects.