The cover photo for the Converse with a Conservator event shows Gwen Manthey inpainting John Haberle's Torn in Transit.
Paintings Conservator Gwen Manthey inpainting John Haberle's Torn in Transit (ca. 1890-1895) Credit: Laura Hoffman

Converse with a Conservator: Paintings Care

Like many of those who’ve spent the best part of the last 10 months in their homes, I’ve invested in some new wall decor. Like a typical millennial, mine mostly hangs unframed, suspended by teetering nails and sticky tape. But once I level up to the point of having framed investment pieces on my wall, I’ll be ready, because the Smithsonian American Art Museum is teaching me (and all of you) how to care for the art in our homes—and how that care compares to the preservation of paintings in the museum’s collection. Paintings conservator Gwen Matney will take viewers of the Zoom talk through the care and keeping of your artwork, including best practices for storage and hands-on care. Don’t worry; you won’t need the same tools as the SAAM, since the talk promises to keep an eye on “what is readily accessible for the everyday maker and collector.” The most enticing part of the talk, though, is the promise of, well, being able to converse with a conservator: Viewers get to hear how a museum professional keeps artwork in tip-top shape despite the stresses of age, light, and temperature, especially when a piece is on display. The talk begins at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 6. Registration is available at Free.