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Collection Conservation

Introduction | Essay | Paintings | Paper | Preventive | Textiles | AICCM conference papers 2008

For information relating to fire and water damage to art please refer to AICCM website
(Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material)


Arthur Streeton 'Above us the great grave sky' 1890, oil on canvas, Collection of the National Gallery of Australia Arthur Streeton 'Above us the great grave sky' 1890, oil on canvas, Collection of the National Gallery of Australia

The Conservation Department employs 20 staff, including professionally qualified conservators and technicians who are responsible for the conservation and restoration of works in the collection. The Department is divided into five sections: Paintings, Objects, Textiles, Paper and Preventive Conservation.

The Department is concerned with the treatment, display and storage of works in the collection. In addition, works of art in national and international exhibitions are prepared for travel. The conservator's job is to stabilise the object's condition and slow down the natural deterioration processes. This is done through a variety of treatments of varying complexity, and through preventive conservation measures. The conservation approach to each object will vary depending on factors such as its physical nature, its cultural significance and artistic intent. All treatments and scientific investigations are documented; all materials used in conservation treatments are tested for long-term stability and reversibility in the future.

Conservation sections




Conservation of art
Conservation treatments to works of art require highly skilled training.
Frequently asked questions
Read frequently asked questions about conservation. This site will be developed more fully in the future and we would welcome your feedback.
Treasure a Textile
The National Gallery of Australia holds one of the finest Asian textile collections in the world. Conserving textiles for display and to stabilise their condition is a time consuming and specialised task.
Abracadabra: the magic in conservation

Links to other related sources

AICCM Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material
Cool Conservation online
CAN Collections Australia Network, perviously AMOL
Ian Potter Foundation
Library of Congress
National Library of Australia
State Library of Victoria
University of Melbourne Masters Conservation Course

for any questions or comments about conservation at the National Gallery of Australia please contact