Conservation & care
Increasing changes to the museum landscape also have fundamental repercussions for the conservation, documentation, and storage of the museum’s heterogeneous holdings, which comprise some 280,000 objects in all. All relevant work in this area is carried out in close cooperation between conservators, museologists, and storeroom managers.
A key factor in their work is the provision of optimal storage conditions for the objects within the storerooms and ensuring that they can be precisely located, as one of the principle aims of increasing digitalization is to make the object data and the objects themselves accessible to visitors from all over the world. In accordance with the principles of preventative conservation, a record is made of all artefacts in their current condition. They are documented and properly stored using materials that do not become deleterious through ageing, so that the objects can be preserved for as long as possible.
A further conservation aspect to preparing exhibitions lies in the development of ideal presentation and transportation conditions for our own objects and loans, working together with curators, architects, and technicians.
The museum’s holdings comprise a diverse array of popular prints, numbering around 94,000 objects in all, including pictorial broadsheets (hand-coloured lithographs, copperplates, etchings), devotional images, books, poster-sized educational prints from schools, posters and three-dimensional objects such as paper theatres. Our conservator is also responsible for the preservation of the extensive photographic collection, which contains 40,000 photos and 500 albums, as well as the postcard collection which ist not catalogued and encompasses around half-a-million items. Many of these works consist of complex printed, specially treated papers and fixtures using other materials, which display various signs of wear through their original use.
The collection comprising some 100,000 objects, ranging from items of furniture, such as cupboards and chests, workshop and shop furnishings provide an insight into the living habits and everyday culture of Europeans, primarily in the 19th century. The collection also includes various tools, agricultural and domestic, as well as clocks, frames and utensils used in the production and treatment of textiles. A core focus of conservation work in this area is carried out on inlayed and painted furniture, panel paintings, wood panelling and sculptures, as well as metals that are found in objects formed by a combination of wood and metal.
Ceramic objects undergoing conservation treatments include both the 7,000 objects in the ceramic collection and our comprehensive collection of some 3,000 porcelain and glass objects, the oldest of which date from the 17th century. Our conservator is also responsible for the care and conservation of several so-called object groups including over 1,000 items in all, which are made of natural and synthetic materials, such as wax, amber, natural and artificial stone, horn and bone. Many of the artefacts consist of a combination of materials that requires a special conservational-scientific expertise and an interdisciplinary approach to their treatment.
The museum’s collection of textiles consists of some 35,000 objects. It includes articles of clothing, fabric-based interior decorations, carpets and rugs, textile samples and beadwork, as well as objects made of synthetic fibres from the late 19th century to the present day. These newer materials present a particular challenge, as many aspects of their ageing processes are still new to us and have not been fully explored. As most of the objects in question stem from everyday culture, the preservation, documentation and appropriate display of the signs of their former use play a vital role. In addition, combinations of such different materials as textiles, metals, paper, glass, leather and synthetic fibres demand interdisciplinary conservation treatments from specialists from across the Staatliche Museen.
All objects held at the museum are given professional care by our team of museologists and storeroom managers. Each and every object is catalogued using a museum documentation programme. Digital photographing and optimal storage based on the nature of the material underpin the object’s preservation. In-house museologists also act as museum registrars. The processing of loans, both to and from other institutions, is carried out in cooperation with administration staff and the conservator responsible. Offering assistance to visitors and handling research inquiries from national and international scholars is part of the museologists’ job, as is help in the preparation of exhibitions.
Lansstraße 8 / Arnimallee 25
Im Winkel 8
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 266426801/-02
Fax: +49 (0)30 / 266426804
Director: Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Tietmeyer
Deputy Director: Drs. Léontine Meijer-van Mensch
Café and restaurant 'eßkultur' at the Museen Dahlem
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 8301433
Bookshop Walther König
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 83203581