The Furniture and Frame Conservation Laboratory, founded in 1971 and significantly expanded in 2001, is responsible for the care and preservation of furniture, frames, musical instruments and period rooms in the Museum’s collections.
Originating from around the world and dating from the sixteenth century to present day, these objects are comprised of a wide range of materials in addition to wood and exhibit many different methods of construction and decorative finish, including painted, gilded and lacquered surfaces. Contemporary furniture materials also include metals, plastics, laminates and resins, all of which present unique problems of preservation.
Some of the treatments that are commonly carried out within the lab include stabilization of structural components and veneered surfaces, as well as reapplication of elements such as loose moldings and lifting marquetry. Due to the hydroscopic nature of wood, surface coatings ranging from clear finishes to gilded layers are often in need of stabilization and frequently require consolidation. The lab also endeavors to undertake more extensive in-depth technical examinations of furniture and frames and by working with curatorial colleagues, to contribute to scholarly understanding of the techniques and methods used to fabricate these objects.