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An Experts Meeting Organized by the Getty Conservation Institute, March 12–4, 2018

Stéphanie Auffret and Sydney Beall Nikolaus, 2019

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In March 2018, twelve participants from differing professional backgrounds, representing several countries were invited to the Getty Conservation Institute to share their insights and expertise on the cleaning of wooden gilded surfaces, including challenges, best practices, and steps to further the field. This publication summarizes the outcomes of this discussion.

Among the topics addressed during the meeting were the complexity of wooden gilded surfaces; their sensitivity to cleaning systems and abrasion; the current state of the field, including options for education on the topic in the various countries of the participants; how to evaluate these surfaces and the effectiveness of cleaning; and ways to advance technical expertise.

The participants placed particular emphasis on preserving these surfaces globally, with a focus on cleaning. They identified stakeholders and analyzed the impact of their opinions on treatment protocols. The need for more efficient dialogue between stakeholders, curators, and conservators was highlighted. The group identified community action as a powerful way to advance conservation in certain contexts, and the importance of educating museum visitors on how these surfaces degrade.

The group agreed that the development of training courses and reference materials that take into account international perspectives would begin to address the gap in specialized knowledge on the cleaning of wooden gilded surfaces.