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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Checking in with our summer intern

by Conservation

7/22/2020

objects conservation , lacquered box , hidden objects , conservation , behind the scenes , conservation internship

The objects conservation lab is happy to welcome summer intern Nicole Schmidt, a graduate student from the Garman Art Conservation Department at SUNY Buffalo State in her third year of training. She has been working on objects from the Decorative Arts and Design collection as well as the East Asian Art collection, including this 19th century Japanese red lacquer stacking box. It was in need of some attention, having not had any conservation treatment since entering our collection in 1930.

During its examination and photography, the box was separated into its four components, revealing a metal bracelet resting in the bottom compartment. Before the box could be cleaned it needed to be stabilized due to the large losses of lacquer, ground, and wood. Once the box was stabilized, our intern carefully cleaned the box with an aqueous solution and began filling the losses. Nicole will continue on with carving the fills to match the designs and tone the fills to blend in. Her goal is to create an aesthetically cohesive repair while differentiating the fills for future conservators.