Conservation

Conservation

The Conservation Department is responsible for the physical care of the glass collections and of glass-related objects, and advises on exhibition and storage conditions for the glass collection and objects loaned from the Museum for exhibition.

The museum’s collection includes nearly 50,000 objects, and ranges from the very earliest 2nd millennium B.C. glasses to contemporary objects, which means we have a wide variety of glass to look after. Conservation involves proper handling, storage, cleaning, repair, and restoration. The repair of broken objects is one of the most difficult conservation tasks and requires careful documentation, skill, patience, and the understanding of modern synthetic adhesives.  Restoration goes beyond the repair or re-assembly of broken fragments, and entails the ethical and aesthetic replacement of missing pieces, primarily for publication or museum display, but sometimes for structural support for very fragmentary objects. Our mission is to leave the collection in better condition than we found it; it is extremely important that anything we do can be easily undone, so as to maintain the integrity of the objects and their future preservation.

The Conservation Department also advises on the safest methods of displaying, mounting, lighting, storing, and handling glass objects, including all new acquisitions and loans.

Ongoing research includes: methods and materials used in the conservation of glass, particularly the use of adhesives and resins for the restoration of losses; the Blaschka glass models, including their materials and construction techniques as well as how to preserve and conserve them; the deterioration and preservation of glass, especially of the phenomenon of crizzling or atmospheric deterioration of glass; the conservation of modern and contemporary glass, including artists interviews.

Learn more about conservators and conservation work at the The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).

Learn more about supporting the Museum's conservation efforts.

Do you have a question for our conservators? Visit the Glass Questions for Curatorial and Collections webpage to learn how to submit a question to the Museum's conservation team.

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This blog comes to us from Rose Zhou, Sujin Jung, and Rick Li, MA Conservation Studies students at West Dean College on the south coast of England. Rose, Sujin, and Rick have been interning with The Corning Museum of Glass for the last two months, working virtually with our Conservation Department... more
Like forensic investigators, conservators collect, examine, and document evidence to help solve mysteries. This is the story of one such investigation. A group of Blaschka models in storage, some no longer attached to their original support cards. The Backstory The incredibly life-like... more
Electroscope before treatment. As a conservator at a glass museum, most of the conservation treatments I do are on glass, but sometimes we are faced with other, less expected materials. One of the more unusual treatments I’ve done recently was repairing the straws (dried plant stalks) of an... more