The conservation and scientific research of ancient Asian art takes a large team of experts from many fields. In order to bring thousands of treasures from the East to the galleries of the Smithsonian in downtown Washington, D.C., several critical and careful steps toward ensuring the objects’ continued longevity must be taken.

Combining art, science, experience, and courage — imagine brushing water onto a 16th century painting and remounting it without damaging it — restoration experts at museums around the globe extend the lives of countless objects from different cultures throughout history. From The Smithsonian in 2011, get a behind the scenes peek at The Art and Science of Conservation at the Freer Gallery of Art.

Next: Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle Restoration at MSI Chicago, Preparing Pilcher’s Hawk to fly again, and Building a True-to-Life Butterfly for a Habitat Diorama. Plus, A Vault of Color: Protecting the World’s Rarest Pigments.

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