20

THURSDAY

In my five years of working in galleries, one thing was demonstrated to me over and over: People don’t know how to take care of their art. I saw mildewed prints, faded watercolors, and warped canvases almost every day. Invariably, the owners of these abused artworks claimed ignorance, telling me they didn’t know they couldn’t hang their pieces in the bathroom, in direct sunlight, or over the fireplace. I’m fairly certain I never saw anything that had once been valuable, but—who knows?—one of those twisted, unsigned landscapes just might have been something special. Before you unveil your ill-treated God-knows-who-it-might-be on the Antiques Roadshow, embarrassing yourself on national television—and in front of those nice experts waiting to tell you you’re rich—take it (and, if you like, one other piece) to today’s Conservation: Care of Your Collections clinic, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the National Museum of African Art’s Level 2 administrative office reception desk, 950 Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Leonard Roberge)