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Paper Conservation Lab

With ample natural light and specialized tools, furnishings, and equipment, the CMA’s paper conservation lab is ideally suited for caring for the museum’s encyclopedic holdings of works of art on paper and related materials. 

In the paper lab, conservators study, preserve, and restore a wide variety of artworks spanning historic, modern, and contemporary periods and representing myriad cultures and artistic movements. Types of artworks include all varieties of prints and photographs, drawings in all media and techniques, Western manuscripts on parchment and paper, and Islamic and Indian and Southeast Asian paintings and manuscripts on parchment, paper, and palm leaf.

To support essential museum activities, works of art on paper are routinely examined for acquisition, exhibition, loan, and research. Careful visual inspection of the art using a variety of light sources and magnification yields both fundamental and subtle information about an artwork’s facture and condition and enables the paper conservators to make informed recommendations for future handling, display, storage, and treatment. Conservators document their work with written reports and digital photography; for more in-depth study and documentation, advanced imaging and analytical techniques may also be used. 

As custodians for substantial and superb paper collections, the CMA’s conservators continually strive to build technical acumen, treatment skills, and connoisseurship. Crucial to these objectives is collaboration with CMA curators and outside experts in conservation and related fields as this nexus of specialties ensures the best interpretation and care of the artworks.

Watch #CMAConservation: Paper Lab