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Research Centers

Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies

The Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies is a world leader in fine arts conservation, research, and training. The center’s laboratories are where conservation, conservation science, and curatorial practice intersect, coming together to enrich the understanding of and care for the approximately 250,000 objects in the Harvard Art Museums’ collections.

In 1928, Fogg Museum Director Edward Forbes founded the Department of Technical Research—the first facility of its kind established in the United States. It was later renamed the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies in honor of Philip A. and Lynn Straus. The Straus Center has distinct labs specializing in the conservation of works on paper, paintings, sculpture, decorative objects, and historical and archaeological artifacts. The center also supports a comprehensive range of imaging and analytical techniques that help determine the structure and condition of works of art and identify a wide range of both inorganic and organic materials including pigments, stone, ceramics, metals, paint-binding media, and surface coatings.

The Straus Center is a premier training ground for conservators and scientists, offering them advanced-level fellowships to refine their skills through the examination, analysis, and treatment of works of art, and through the presentation and publication of their research. Additionally, conservation specialists work with students and faculty to teach courses in technical art history and support materials-based inquiry in courses across Harvard’s curriculum.