The Lunder Conservation Center

At the newly re-opened Smithsonian Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, visitors experience the Lunder Conservation Center, offering a behind-the-scenes view of how art is conserved. A floor-to-ceiling glass wall allows visitors to watch conservation treatments taking place, and educational programs provide explanations of various treatment tools and techniques. Gallery observers have frequently overheard visitors remark on how incredible and informative the conservation center is. When the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery—the museums that make up the center—conducted focus groups to gauge the interests of the public, a visit to a conservation laboratory was the highest-rated attraction. The center’s new Web site features videos about conservation in general and photographs and videos of objects being treated by museum conservators.