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The Smithsonian American Art Museum is committed to preserving American Art for future generations. Art is threatened by repeated exposure to a variety of detrimental factors including excessive light, temperature and humidity extremes, poor handling and storage practices, pests, and accidental damage.

Lunder Conservation Center

Lunder Conservation Center

The Lunder Conservation Center, which opened July 2006, is the first art conservation facility in the United States that allows visitors to the museums permanent, behind-the-scenes views of crucial preservation work. Five conservation labs are visible through floor-to-ceiling glass walls, which allow the public to see all aspects of conservation work that traditionally takes place out of view at other museums and conservation centers. The Smithsonian American Art Museum employs conservators with specialties in paintings, paper, objects (sculpture), and frames to care for its collections. The work of a conservator includes examination, treatment, and documentation of artwork as well as preventive care and research. You can watch videos of our conservators at work online.

On March 1, 2013 the Lunder Conservation Center will host the one day sympsosium Gallery Illumination: LED Lighting in Today’s Museums. This professional program will bring museum and lighting specialists together to discuss the use of LED lighting in museum collections.

Save Outdoor Sculpture!

Roy Lichtenstein, Modern Head

In conjunction with Heritage Preservation, our Save Outdoor Sculpture! (SOS!) project has catalogued over 40,000 outdoor artworks across the United States to focus attention on the care and preservation of these national treasures. Find out more about the Save Outdoor Sculpture! program.

How to Care for Your Collections

We offer simple guidelines for caring for your own art here.

In the case of a natural disaster, you can find advice through the Heritage Emergency National Task Force.

Collaborations in Conserving Time Based Art Colloquium : March 17-18, 2010