Protecting and Preserving the Collection
The Department of Conservation is responsible for the preservation of The Museum of Modern Art’s collection. The department was established in 1958 in response to a fire at the Museum and was initially devoted to painting conservation. Since then, the department has grown to include staff and facilities dedicated to preserving works on paper, sculpture and objects, photography, and time-based media. The department also houses a scientific research section devoted to both study of the collection and development of new materials for conservation. Films are stored and conserved at the Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center.
The Conservation department also advises on environmental controls and needs, special exhibitions, and travel, packing, and installation requirements. These activities form an overall preventative program, which seeks to maintain the collection for future generations. Conservators and scientists in the department are actively involved in scholarly research related to exhibitions and collections at the Museum.
Highlights of some of the work being done by MoMA’s conservation team.
MoMA’s Jackson Pollock Conservation Project focuses on masterworks by Pollock.
- Where Is One? MoMA’s Jackson Pollock Conservation Project
- One joins Echo
- Documentation and Treatment
- An Ounce of Prevention…
- Looking Closely at One: Number 31, 1950
- Characterizing the Paint Surface Part 1
- One: Number 31, 1950–Characterizing the Paint Surface Part 2
- Insight into the Artist’s Process
- Video Update on One: Number 31, 1950
Learn about Conservation
Selected multimedia resources about the MoMA collection
- Conservation of Jackson Pollock’s One: Number 31, 1950. 1950
English, Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano, Português, 日本語, 中文
- Conservation of Vasily Kandinsky’s Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 2
English, Deutsch, Español, Português, 日本語, 한국어, 中文
- Conservation of Henri Matisse’s Dance (I)
English, Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano, Português, 日本語, 한국어, 中文
- Object:Photo. Modern Photographs 1909–1949: The Thomas Walther Collection
- Les Demoiselles d’Avignon: Conserving a Modern Masterpiece
- Cézanne Pissarro: Seeing through Paint
- Unveiling Monet
- Jackson Pollock: “No Chaos, Damn It,” An Interview with Jim Coddington, Chief Conservator
- Matters in Media Art
- Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting
- Picasso Guitars: 1912–1914
- What Is a Print?
Terms and Techniques
An extensive list of conservation terms can be found on the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website CAMEO (Conservation and Art Materials Encyclopedia Online).
The conservation of MoMA’s collection is done by multiple departments which often collaborate on mixed-media projects. Find out more about each of these expertise areas.