The Conservation Lab

Protecting and preserving the collection.

Art + Objects

Glenbow has one of the only museum/gallery based conservation labs in western Canada. Our facilities are equipped to protect and preserve paper, objects, paintings and sculptures. 

Conservators must understand both the history and chemical make-up of an item in order to maintain it, as much as possible, in its current condition. This sometimes includes not interfering with wear and “historic dirt.” The work of a conservator includes preventative conservation, documentation, treatment, and, if necessary, restoration.

Glenbow’s conservators are responsible for regularly examining and caring for items in the collection (which includes more than 33,000 artworks and approximately 175,000 objects), as well as objects or artworks that visit Glenbow as part of traveling exhibitions. They ensure that objects are stable and safe enough to be displayed for public or used for research purposes.

Paper conservation

Includes, but is not limited to, watercolours, prints, drawings, photographs, and books.

Object conservation 

Covers a vast array of substances, from leather to plastic and everything in between.

Painting and sculpture conservation

Manages artworks in media such as oil or acrylic paint on canvas, wood, and other materials, as well as substances like bronze, stone, and anything that is considered “mixed media.”

Preventive Conservation

Preventative conservation includes building maintenance, environmental monitoring, and pest management. It deals with deciding on the long term needs of objects, including controlling light levels, humidity, temperature, creating special storage mounts, and using proper materials. By placing objects in an environment as ideal as possible, you can slow the aging process, making the objects last longer. If an object is damaged or disfigured a conservator can treat the artifact. Sometimes it could be as simple as dusting, or it could involve intensive chemical treatments. 

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