Student & Emerging Conservator Conference 2015 - Studio Visits

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Conference map showing locations of studio tours

I. Filmoteka Narodowa (The National Film Archive)
Puławska 61
The National Film Archive houses one of Europe’s biggest collections of films, video tapes and associated archived material. It manages and implements the collection care and archiving of these materials and also promotes knowledge about and awareness of Polish cinematography. The National Film Archive’s collection includes objects that pose particular challenges for conservators. These are different types of film stock (including nitro-glycerine stock) as well as various types of documents on the films, their creators and the history of cinema. The National Film Archive gathers books, posters, magazines, programmes, scenarios, stills, music scores, press cuttings and other archival materials. Here, professional conservators are responsible for preventive conservation of the film collection, its documentation and current restoration works. The varied (and often problematic) aspects of taking care of films and the associated methods of conservation were presented to the participants.

II. Biblioteka Narodowa (The National Library of Poland) Department of Conservation of Library Collections, Department of Mass Conservation and Conservation Laboratory
aleja Niepodległości 213
The National Library is home to the most precious artifacts of historical Polish literary production, as well as to contemporary publications. The collection documents the cultural heritage of the Polish nation. Apart from objects such as unique prints, manuscripts, photographs and books, the Library also houses audio- and audio-visual recordings, data storage media and microfilms. The task of this public institution is the collecting, storing and archiving these artifacts. The Conservation Studio (Department of Conservation of Library Collections, Department of Mass Conservation and Conservational Laboratory) take comprehensive care of the various collections at the National Library, dealing with large-scale preventive and preservative conservation as well as restoration of works of art.

III.Państwowe Muzeum Etnograficzne (The National Museum of Ethnography)

Kredytowa 1
The National Museum of Ethnography in Warsaw gathers objects that illustrate the diversity and richness of cultures around the world, allowing the general public to see, understand and share in the world’s cultures. The Inventory Department manages the methods, techniques and means of listing the collection. The Conservation Department consists of several specialised workshops: conservation of painting and wooden polychrome sculpture, wood, ceramics and folklore, paper and metals. Conservation work is undertaken according to pre-arranged plans; conservation reports are prepared, periodic monitoring of the objects in storage and on display is carried out, and conservation reports on new and loaned items from the collection are also carried out. Tour participants had the chance to learn about ritual objects and the specific problems of their conservation, an issue closely linked to a number of issues connected with cultural heritage.

IV. Muzeum Wojska Polskiego (Polish Army Museum)
Aleje Jerozolimskie 3
The core of the collection at the Museum of the Polish Army consists, broadly, of military items – from various types of small arms weaponry and firearms to military and cavalry uniforms, equipment from different ages and epochs. The Museum also houses numerous examples of modern military equipment. Moreover, it gathers other items that have accompanied the army on the battlefield and beyond it, such as banners, musical instruments, orders and commendations. The collections also contain prints, letters, watercolours and paintings that tell the story of the Polish military. At the Museum conservators undertake comprehensive care of this very varied collection of artifacts. Their tasks include also successive restoration of items that are of particular importance for Poland’s national history. Participants had a chance to see conservation studios for paintings, textiles, papers and leather, metal objects and wooden objects.

V. Muzeum Narodowe (The National Museum in Warsaw)
Aleje Jerozolimskie 3
The National Museum in Warsaw has operated for over 150 years and houses a collection of over 830,000 objects. The collections include artifacts that illustrate the story of European heritage and world cultures from antiquity, through the Middle Ages and into contemporary times. The background to this story is the development of art in Poland in the context of broader European cultural development. At the Museum specialised conservators take care of artifacts that come from a broad variety of crafts and arts. During their visit participants were able to see:
Va. The Paintings Conservation Studio and a short tour of the Paintings Galleries of the Museum.
Vb.The Sculpture and Painting on Wood Conservation Studio.

VI. Muzeum Warszawy (Museum of Warsaw)
Dzielna 7 (Studio of Antique Furniture Conservation)
The Studio of Antique Furniture Conservation continuously restores pieces of furniture (mostly antique) from the very rich collection of Museum of Warsaw. In addition to furniture, work is also undertaken on other wooden objects, often combined with materials, like metals (steel, cast iron, copper, brass), leather, textiles and paper.
Besides the main conservation room, the Studio’s facilities also include a carpentry workshop with woodworking machines, a storage room for materials and a dedicated photographic studio. Along with its main conservation activity, the Studio is also involved in the preparation of temporary exhibitions and also co-operates with a number of leading European museums and conservation studios involved in the field of wooden object conservation.

VII. Łazienki królewskie (The Royal Baths Palace Museum)
Agrykoli 1
a) Pałac na Wyspie (The Palace on the Island)
b) Stara Oranżeria (The Old Orangery)
c) Pałac Myślewicki (The Myślewicki Palace)

King Stanisław II Augustus, during his 30-year reign, collected paintings, sculptures, prints and numismatic items from European and Polish artists. These works of art, together with the architecture of Royal Baths Palace itself, form a perfect composition that, with time, would become, in accordance with the King’s idea (1792), the first public modern museum. Today, one of the main tasks of the Museum is the preservation of the various objects found in the collection and the Palace, antique buildings along with the surrounding gardens. Recently much conservation work, accompanied by research activity, has been are being undertaken here. The results of this Revitalisation Programme include hundreds of restored artifacts from the Royal Collections – paintings, prints, sculptures, furniture and craftworks. In the case of the Palace’s architecture, restoration has been applies to both the overalls construction of the building as well as its interiors. During their visit participants were able to become acquainted with some of the conservation problems encountered recently, not only at the Palace itself but also at the nearby Isle and the nearby Myślewicki Palace, Old Orangery and the Royal Theatre. The Digitisation Studio will also present the high-tech documentation techniques used in recent conservation projects.

VIII. 6. 6. Zachęta – Narodowa Galeria Sztuki (Zachęta – the National Gallery)
Plac Małachowskiego 3
Zachęta is the oldest gallery of contemporary and current art in Warsaw, and it has been located in the same building in the centre of the city for over a century. The Gallery’s mission is the popularising of modern art collections and individual artist exhibitions are organised, including thematic ones, to present to viewers the most current movements and themes in Polish and foreign art.
At this moment the collection contains more than 3600 items, including more than 700 paintings, almost 80 videos, 100 sculptures and installations as well as a number of artworks on paper (prints, drawings and photographs). The Department of Collections and Inventories takes care of works of art that belong to Zachęta and also all the other pieces exhibited in the gallery’s space for temporary exhibitions. The Department lists, catalogues and digitises these objects and works on acquiring new objects.

IX. Zamek Królewski (The Royal Castle)
plac Zamkowy 4
The Royal Castle was the historic seat of what was, in the past, the stately home of Kings of Poland and of the Parliament of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Today it is a museum and a centre of education, culture and art. Conference participants will be presented with modern digitalisation techniques (such as creating digital copies and spreading knowledge about collected items in public domain). Two conservation studios were open for this visit: firstly, in the Painting Conservation Studio, conservators presented conservation and restoration of two Rembrandt paintings, “Scholar at his writing-desk” and “Girl in a picture frame”. Secondly, in the Textile Conservation Studio, participants had a chance to hear the story of the reconstruction of the eagles in the upholstery (backrest) of the royal throne and the problems of conserving the “Sophonisba” tapestry (French, end of XVII century). Conference participants were presented with modern digitisation techniques (such as creating digital copies and the spreading of knowledge about the items in the collection to the public domain).

X. Muzeum Rzeźby im. Xawerego Dunikowskiego w Królikarni (The Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture at the Królikarnia Palace - part of the National Museum of Warsaw)
ul. Puławska 113a
The palace (“Królikarnia”) is named for its former role as a rabbit warren for King Augustus II the Strong (1670– 1733). Królikarnia was built for the King's Theatre Entrepreneur and Chamberlain (Charles Thomatis, Count de Valéry) by Royal architect Domenico Merlini on the picturesque Vistula escarpment. The palace was built between 1782 and 1786. It was modelled on the famous renaissance Villa Rotonda outside Vicenza, designed by Andrea Palladio. On his estate, the count established a brewery, a brickyard, an inn, a mill, a barn and a garden with a vineyard. In the surrounding of trees and shrubberies bushes the National Museum in Warsaw has displayed a selection of pieces from its rich collection.
The participants had an opportunity to see the Studio of Conservation of Antique Art and Stone Sculpture and became acquainted with possible problems of conservation and restoration of stone sculpture from different periods of history.

XI. Biblioteka Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego (University of Warsaw Library)
Dobra 56/66
The University of Warsaw Library was founded in 1816. The library is situated in the Old Town, by the river Vistula. The library building includes a botanical garden, located on the roof. The Library has a fully equipped paper conservation studio, staffed by qualified paper conservators, who look after all aspects of the physical care of the collections. The conservators are also responsible for the special collections and for the physical care of other collections belonging to the University. The conservators work on a wide range of material such as manuscripts, books, prints, drawings, seals, maps, photographs and other artifacts.

XII. Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne (State Archaeological Museum)
Długa 52
The State Archaeological Museum is a scientific-research centre with almost 100 years of history. Its task is to gather, study and preserve of archaeological collections that document the prehistory of Poland. The aim of all conservation work is to preserve an object from further deterioration and take out from ancient artifacts any information that could help in the documentation and understanding of the civilisation that created them. At the State Archaeological Museum the Conservation departments comprises three studios: the Ceramic Conservation Studio deals with conservation and reconstruction of archaeological ceramics, mostly pottery; the Multiple Materials Conservation Studio conserves metal artifacts that incorporate other materials; the Research and Documentation Studio documents conservation works undertaken in the Department and also works with other organic and non-organic materials, such as amber, glass, bone, textiles or stone. After the presentation and the visit to the first two studios, conservators answered questions about the problems of conserving archaeological objects.

Saturday Visit

Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art , Academy of Fine Art in Warsaw
Wybrzeze Kościuszkowskie 37
The Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art at the Academy has a long history as one of the oldest degree-granting conservation and restoration programmes in Europe, being founded in 1947. The Faculty offers a six-year MA programme designed to prepare students for careers as professional conservators/restorers in museums, archives, libraries, and other cultural heritage institutions, as well as in the private sector. Study at the Academy integrates the discipline of conservation and restoration in the fields of paintings, sculpture, architecture, works on paper and in leather, photography, textiles, modern and contemporary art or archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, as well as making copies works of art. The Academy promotes an interdisciplinary approach combining art and craft skills as well as a technological and scientific approach. Our MA programme offers a professional qualification, combining both theory and practice. Our students undertake theoretical seminars, laboratory work, research and conservation projects and gain intensive experience through fieldwork and internships.. The Faculty uses twenty four well-equipped conservation studios, that focus on four specialisations:
a. easel paintings and polychrome sculptures
b. books, graphics and leather
c. sculptures and architectural elements
d. textiles.