Preservation and Conservation

As a result of the national programme (Project number HLK04-13 – Preservation and conservation of graphic art, paintings, coins and original antiques), the preservation conditions of unique artefacts in Estonia has improved and we have created a basis for the conservation of so-far unrestored collections.

The repository with microclimate air conditioning guarantees the suitable preservation conditions for graphic art: stable climate and special metal drawers.

Since 2006, the Museum has renovated ventilated and lighted rooms with the necessary equipment for paper conservation.

The graphic art collection will be conserved-restored and organised according to the monitoring of its current state and a previously worked out preservation plan. The old acidic casings have been replaced by contemporary lasting materials of archival quality.

The aim is to store valuable and often used graphic prints in conservation mat boards. This way the graphic prints are better protected when handled and put on display.

 

Conservation of picture frames

The University of Tartu Art Museum’s collections include a wide variety of picture frames of different origin, style and purpose, from simple modern frames to intricate ornamental and gilded icon frames. Most of the collection is from the 19–20th centuries. The eclecticism of the picture frame collection is what makes it interesting for restorers: you have to be familiar with different materials (mainly wood and metal) and their physiochemical properties.

Like most other Estonian and European museums, the University of Tartu Art Museum has, in time, removed many picture frames from their original paintings.

 

Conservation of plaster cast sculptures

The University of Tartu Art Museum’s sculpture collection consists of mostly plaster cast copies of Greco-Roman original sculptures purchased by the Museum in the 19th century. A small part of the collection consists of 20th century sculptures and a few original antiques.

Nowadays, the Museum has excellent preservation conditions. Unfortunately this was not so in the 20th century and earlier.

The main problem with the sculptures is that they absorb dirt and they have been painted over the years, which has changed their original appearance. Larger statues also suffer from rusty frames, which cause cracks, chinks and rust marks on the surface of the sculptures.