The Conservation Department is an independent research unit whose work benefits both the collections and exhibitions of the National Gallery. It provides crucial services by researching materials and techniques used in artworks and by developing conservation methods. Its field of responsibility also includes conservation industry communications and training. The department has three conservation studios with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for conservation, restoration and research. The main studio is located in the Ateneum building, the other two in the Kiasma and Sinebrychoff buildings. Each studio specialises in a particular area of conservation that reflects the museum unit’s own collections.
The Ateneum Conservation Studio is responsible for the care of collections of paintings and sculpture that represent the very pinnacle of Finnish art. It also looks after a small modernist collection consisting of artworks by international artists. The studio is responsible for the care and preservation of the in-house collection and individual artworks. It also monitors the installation of works in exhibitions as well as the conditions of storage and transport of artworks. Through its extensive outward loan and deposit policy, the studio also serves other Finnish art museums.
The Kiasma Conservation Studio is responsible for the care of collections and exhibitions of contemporary art. Recent increases in public interest in art conservation, of contemporary art in particular, has emphasised the studio’s role as a contemporary art specialist organisation.
The Sinebrychoff Conservation Studio specialises in old European visual art. The broad range of materials required for the preventive conservation of objects in the Sinebrychoff Interior Museum collections and the problems associated with the material and structural research of old paintings place special demands on conservation work carried out at the studio.
Paper conservators collaborate with all Finnish National Gallery museums. They are responsible for the documentation and conservation of sketchbook, print and drawing collections as well as watercolours and gouache and pastel paintings.
The main responsibility of the Materials Research Laboratory is to carry out research on painting materials in cooperation with conservators and art historians.
The Framing Studio focuses mainly on the conservation of frames of works in the Ateneum and Sinebrychoff art museums and on producing new stylistically appropriate frames. One major aspect of the Framing Studio’s work is to design and produce exhibition frames together with conservators and curators.