Washington D. C. Art Restoration Page

 Washington D.C. is home to countless museums and private art collections. It also hosts waves of tourists that come to see the city's artwork each year. In other words, the nation's capital is also one of the country's leading art destinations.

Behind the scenes of this thriving environment, conservators work to keep the city's art at their best. At B.R. Howard & Associates, we do so through a four-part process: assessment, treatment, maintenance, and training. These steps can be performed on single pieces, extensive collections, and anything in between.



Like a doctor examining a patient before giving a diagnosis, artwork restorers first assess pieces or collections to determine what condition items are in. Commonly known as a condition assessment, this involves one or more conservators. 

In this step, conservators look for pre-existing damage, flaking paint, and other problems such as mold. They also gather background information on each piece, such as the materials used and if any of the materials have been replaced. To document the condition of the piece or collection, conservators use photographs, lists, and other documentation as well as a rating system. The assessment also identifies treatment priorities, that is, how urgent it is to complete certain treatment tasks, and documents overall recommendations for treatment. All of the information from the assessment is consolidated into a report, which the client receives.


Once the assessment is complete, a plan can be developed. Treatment plans vary highly from piece to piece, depending on each piece's needs. For instance, sculptures may need new coatings, repairs to boost structural integrity, replacement of heavily damaged or lost areas, cleaning, and soot and mold removal. Paintings, too, may require cleaning and mold and soot removal. Other procedures for paintings include canvas and frame repairs as well as in-painting, which reconstructs damaged areas. Artifacts, such as military objects or culturally significant items, undergo procedures such as cleaning, the installation of replacement parts, in-painting, and re-humidification in the case of textiles. While taking any of these steps, conservators to go great lengths to retain as much of each piece's original material as possible.


Treatment sets up the piece or collection for the next step, which is the implementation of an ongoing maintenance plan. Different pieces require different plans to remain in top condition; for instance, watercolor paintings must be stored away from sunlight, lest they suffer fading. Specific elements of a maintenance plan may include storage and display instructions, cleaning schedules, and coating replacements. The goal of ongoing maintenance is to prevent pieces from backsliding into their pre-treatment condition.


The training we implement teaches the staff or volunteers that help take care of a collection how to properly maintain it. While conservators have a higher level of expertise and will produce the best restoration and maintenance results, trained staff members or volunteers can still perform basic maintenance duties. For example, if your staff includes someone with knowledge in the areas of art history or curation, they are a prime candidate to receive one-on-one training from a conservator. Volunteers, too, can benefit from training from a conservator, and they can pick up some basic skills, like techniques for cleaning sculptures.

Restore Your Art

The process described above is vital to keeping pieces of artwork at their best so that viewers can enjoy them for years to come. If you are in need of art restoration services in New York, B.R. Howard's team is well trained and eager to help. We have a range of specialists that can handle a wide variety of projects for private clients and larger organizations alike. To begin scheduling a project, use our contact form to request a quote, send us an email at office@brhoward.com, or call 888-264-2959. Your collection will thank you.