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How San Jose Museums Touch Up Their Artwork

BY: Editors | Jul 13, 2015
How San Jose Museums Touch Up Their Artwork

As the largest city in Silicon Valley, San Jose is constantly looking to the future. As California’s very first capital, it also has a very present past. And at San Jose museums, cultural pasts and futures collide at the hands of art preservationists, who maintain aging masterpieces through a mix of art and chemistry. Pieces housed at the San Jose Museum of Art, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, and other cultural hot spots boast decades, or even millennia, of history. But with a grounding in art history, a deep knowledge of chemistry, and a few paintbrushes of their own, art restorers and conservators skillfully maintain and protect mature artworks.

Restoration: Repairing Past Damage

Using the same tools as the original creator, and echoing the artist’s style, a restorer painstakingly repairs existing damage with artistry of their own. Restoration takes equal parts patience and artistic talent, and most restorers specialize in a particular medium such as oil painting, tapestry, or early 20th-century slapstick. Art restorers might work at a museum or a gallery, or they might be freelancers who work for private collectors. And even though restoring a damaged piece may seem to be an obvious step, art restoration is actually controversial.

Conservation: Preventing Future Decay

Restoration is one element of conservation, which is mainly about maintenance. That might mean cleaning a piece, ensuring it’s protected from excessive heat, keeping moisture at bay, or redirecting kisses from ardent fans. Conservators are tasked with the ongoing responsibility of maintaining a work’s integrity, and they’re almost always employed by a major institution.

Preserving Your Own Artwork

Restoration and conservation isn't just for establishments with their own exhibition catalogs and gift shops. Novice artists can keep their work safe with these local services: 

FramingArtscapes Young Framing's master framer has more than 20 years of experience in museum-quality framing. 

Digitization and Conversion: At Click, Scan, Share, your photos, slides, and old home movies are transferred onto digital formats and burned onto discs. 

Restoration: Kept Art Restoration's Florence-trained restorer doesn't let portraits decay into Dorian Gray nightmares and specializes in paintings, paper, and frames.