Antiquities Conservation

Conservators at the Getty Villa Museum are responsible for the preservation, treatment, and technical research of all material types in the antiquities collection. The department’s work also involves preventive care of its collection, encompassing climate control, environmental monitoring and mount making, and oversight of exhibition installations and outgoing loans. Getty conservators conduct in-depth technological studies and material research of objects—from within the collection and on special loan—to gain insight into their specific history, including methods of manufacture, use, deterioration and/or alterations and to determine how these affect their treatment, preservation, and display. The department plays a leading international role in the development, manufacture, and evaluation of approaches and fixtures for the protection of delicate and monumental objects on display in the event of earthquakes, known as seismic damage mitigation. Committed to conservation training, the department hosts interns through the Getty internship program, and supports the UCLA/Getty Interdepartmental Program in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage.

The department regularly collaborates with national and international institutions and pursues global partnerships, most recently with Jordan. These collaborations aim at improving the understanding and state of preservation of an object or a group of objects, often contributing to exhibitions, and assist in local conservation training. Information gained through the department’s various activities is regularly shared through lectures, seminars, symposia, and publications.

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PUBLICATIONS

Cover of a publication featuring a necklace with gems

Looking at Jewelry: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques

Containing more than eighty color illustrations, this guide will be invaluable to all those wishing to increase their understanding and enjoyment of the art of jewelry.

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VIDEOS

In the summer of 2007, four bronze lamps were discovered in a rock-cut pit near the walls of ancient Vani. In collaboration with the Georgian National Museum, two of these lamps were conserved at the Getty Villa.

Watch more Antiquities Conservation videos

NEWS & STORIES

Four terracotta figures of women holding their arms up, under UV light

Ancient Sculptures of Mourning Women

In 2019, bringing these figures out of storage gave Getty curators and conservators an exciting opportunity to study how they were made and to learn more about South Italian funerary art and practices.

Read more posts about ancient life

PROJECTS & INITIATIVES

Mummy portrait painting of a young woman

The APPEAR Project
A collaborative exploration of ancient panel-painting production that facilitates international scholarly exchange

A bronze statue of a reclining satyr in a large conservation studio

Drunken Satyr Conservation
The study, analysis, and treatment of a rare first-century Roman bronze buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, recovered after millennia of burial and restored in the 18th century

Hands holding up a digital scanner to a small bronze statue of a man

Conservation and Mountmaking: 3-D Scanning
Conservation departments at the Getty Museum use 3-D technologies to aid in mountmaking, research, and restoration

Digital animation still of marble statue feet standing on a mount divided into separate planes

Conservation and Mountmaking: Seismic Mountmaking
Research and design of methods to protect artworks in areas with active earthquakes

GOOGLE ARTS & CULTURE

Panel painting of the mummy Herakleides
Mummy of Herakleides, A.D. 120–140, Romano-Egyptian. Human and bird remains; linen, pigment, beeswax and wood., 69 × 17 5/16 × 13 in. Getty Museum, 91.AP.6

Investigating Herakleides: A Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt
This mummy of a young man reflects the diverse cultural influences and extensive international trade connections in Egypt under the Roman Empire through its iconography, materials, and burial techniques.

Faces of Roman Egypt
A group of remarkably lifelike mummy portraits from the first through third centuries AD bring us face to face with the people who lived in Egypt under the Roman Empire.

Muses in the Lab: Conserving a Roman Sarcophagus
Follow our conservation team into the lab as they prepare a fragmentary Roman sarcophagus featuring three Muses and the deceased for the Getty Villa Museum’s galleries.

RESOURCES

Bibliography

Publications by Antiquities Conservation Staff
Download Bibliography (PDF, 384 KB)

CAMEO Materials Database

The materials database from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's Conservation and Art Materials Encyclopedia Online contains chemical, physical, visual, and analytical information on over 10,000 historic and contemporary materials.

American Institute for Conservation

The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) is the national membership association for conservators and allied professionals who preserve art and cultural heritage. Together with the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation, they promote the preservation and protection of cultural heritage and serve as a resource on conservation for the general public.

CAST:ING

The CAST:ING project is a framework to advance the understanding of bronze sculpture through contributions from an international team composed of 52 conservators, scientists, curators, art historians, historians, archaeologists, metallurgists, and craftspeople.

2022 MOUNTMAKING FORUM

Graphic for the virtual International Mountmakers Forum in November 2022.

The International Mountmakers Forum supports the mountmaking community and is committed to fostering communication, promoting best practices, and disseminating current information regarding materials tools, techniques, and solutions for object storage and display. Check the IMF website for the latest updates on conferences and workshops.

CURRENTFUTURE EXHIBITIONS

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CONSERVATION STAFF

Susanne Gänsicke

Sr. Conservator/Head of Antiquities Conservation

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Jessica Arista

Associate Conservator

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Richard Hards

Senior Mountmaker

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Erik Risser

Conservator

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Timothy Skornia

Senior Mountmaker

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Elizabeth E. Soriano

Mountmaker

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Marie Svoboda

Conservator

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Susanne Gänsicke

Senior Conservator/Head of Antiquities Conservation

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Jessica Arista

Assosciate Conservator

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Richard Hards

Senior Mountmaker

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Erik Risser

Conservator

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Timothy Skornia

Senior Mountmaker

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Elizabeth E. Soriano

Mountmaker

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Marie Svoboda

Conservator

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OPPORTUNITIES