The Conservation Department at PAFA preserves the collection through preventative care and the treatment of works of art. The conservator’s primary objective is to create and maintain a safe environment for the works of art in the collection in order to preserve them for visitors, scholars, and future generations.

All conservation treatments are undertaken with the intention of respecting the artist’s original work, without attempting to alter it or improve on it. This often requires knowledge of the materials and techniques employed by the artist, their aging characteristics, and the treatment history of the object. Though often a conservator will try to make restorations invisible at a normal viewing distance, the materials introduced during restoration are intended to be distinct from those used in the original work. Materials such as varnishes and retouching media are selected for their stability and reversibility so that even after several generations have passed, they can be removed without affecting the original work of art.