Preservation and interpretation of cultural heritage objects are strongly influenced by the approaches used in conservation interventions—essentially, by the methods and materials of treatment. Therefore, there is a continuing need for detailed investigations of conservation treatments and materials to help optimize their effectiveness and safety and to advance conservation practice.
Advances in practice are made by evaluating and improving existing treatment methods and materials; by better understanding of their impact on the composition, structure, and properties of objects; and through development of new approaches to and technologies for treatment.
One area of ongoing research at the GCI is the cleaning of modern artists' paints, both oils and acrylics, which are often highly sensitive to liquid cleaning systems, whether aqueous or based on organic solvents. Research investigations revolve around approaches to minimizing the effects of cleaning liquids on paint while optimizing cleaning efficacy, and ensuring that laboratory tests are relevant to actual cleaning situations. Other cleaning research includes a re-evaluation of the properties of organic solvents; and the removal of discolored degradation products from unprimed modern Color-field paintings. The GCI is also addressing the challenges of protecting and conserving outdoor metal sculpture, including developing and evaluating protective coatings.
Current projects include:
Last updated: September 2015